Dont Stop Farming

The first gas powered tractor in the US was invented by John Froelich

Froelich’s steam-powered thresher left much to be desired. The machine was cumbersome and difficult to transport. Its basic use was costly, and it was also considerably dangerous—just one spark from the thresher boiler could set fire to a prairie on a windy day.


In 1890, Froelich embarked upon a new design. He and a blacksmith worked side-by-side to mount a one cylinder gasoline engine onto the thresher steam engine’s running gear. Froelich was pleased to find that this rudimentary tractor could be drive safely at roughly 3 mph. Froelich and his crew brought the new machine on their annual harvest tour with successful results. The first tractor required only 26 gallons of gas and threshed over 1000 bushels of grain a day without any safety issues.
Froelich expanded to create the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Campany in 1849 with four prototype tractors. Froelich later branched out on his own, while Waterloo continues to produce tractor designs in the early 1900s. Waterloo Tractor Works is now owned by John Deere.

Early Froelich Tractor

Thank goodness for the invention of the tractor. Froelich brought a new working concept into agricultural America. He streamlined tedious processes to save farmers precious time and money spent on unnecessary manual labor.


Froelich was born in Iowa in 1849. Froelich was more than familiar with the American agricultural industry at the turn of the 19th century; he operated a mobile threshing service and grain elevator. He charged farmers a fee to thresh their crops at harvest time with the help of his crew and a steam-powered thresher machine.

Within the first few decades, tractor use was slow to catch on. Yet once farmers realized the benefits that could be had in tractor-driven farming, popularity soared. There was no need for cumbersome manual labor when a simple machine like a tractor could do the job for you.
From 1910-1970, tractor production drastically increased from 1000 tractors to nearly 5 million.

Falling prices contributed to tractor to tractor growth. Early tractors cost as much as $785 in 1920. Just two years later in 1922, a tractor could be purchased for only $395. The price dropped by nearly half in just two years, making tractors an affordable piece of agricultural machinery for almost every farmer.

Current List:

Advance Thresher Co. Steam Engines- Advance-Rumely Company of La Porte, Indiana- Agro- Alldays Onions- Allis Chalmers- Electric Wheel's Allwork 14-28- AMES MANUFACTURING Co.- Atlas Co.- C. AULTMAN- Austin- Avance- Avery- Bailor Plow Manufacturing Co.- Baker Sons Equipment Company- Bates- Bauche- Bean Spray Pump Co.- Bell- Belleville- Beltrail- Benz- Best- The Big Four- Birdsall- Birth of the Tractor- British Wallis- Bryan- Buffalo Pitts- Bull- COD- Caldwell Vale- Case- Caterpillar- Chase- Citroen- Clayton- Cletrac- Coleman- Cooper Cameron- Crawley- Crowell- Dakota- David- Deutz- D June- Doyen- Eagle- Emerson Brantingham- Fageol- Fairbanks- Farmall- Ferguson- Fiat- Filtz- Fitch- Ford- Fordson- Fowler- Frick- Gaar Scott- Garner- Geiser- General Ordnance- Glasgow- Goodison- Gray- Hanomag- Harrison- Hart Parr- Holt- Hooven- Hornsby- Huber- Illinois- International Harvester- Ivel- JI Case- Jelbart- John Deere- Johnson- Komnick- Lanz- Leader- Lindeman- Marshall- Predecessor Massey Manufacturing- Massey Harris- Massey Harris- Matteson- MAVAG- McCormick- McDonald- Minneapolis Moline- Mistral- Monarch- Morton- Munktells- National- Nichols- Nilson- Oekonom- Oliver- Parrett- Peter Brotherhood- Pioneer- Poehl- Prague- Prison- Reeves- Renault- Republic- Rock Island- Ronaldson- Rumely- Rushton- Russell- Ruston- Samson- Sandusky- Yuba- Sandwich- Saunderson- Sawyer Massey- Scemia- Schneider- Skoda- Steam Traction- Stinson- Stock Manufacturing Co- Taskers- Tourand- Twin City Tractors- Upton- Union- Vickers- Wood- Wikov- Waterloo- Waterloo Boy- Weeks- Wyles- Townsend- Chapron- Fey- Mistral-