Avery steam engine shows
Union soldier Robert H. Avery of Galesburg, Ill., survived confinement in the infamous Confederate military prison at Andersonville, Ga., where 13,000 of his fellow prisoners died. One of the ways he kept his wits about him was by sketching a corn planter of his own design.
The detailed sketch of this planter eventually became the basis of the Avery Co. of Peoria, Ill, and half a century later, the firm was calling itself 'The Largest Tractor Company in the World,' employing 2,600 men and producing eight different tractors, as well as motor cultivators, trucks, combines and other farm machinery.
Robert Avery was released from Andersonville at the end of the Civil War, and he and his brother, Cyrus M. Avery, soon organized the R.H. and CM. Avery Co., in Galesburg. By 1874, they had perfected Robert's corn planter and were fully involved in the business of manufacturing that machine, and by 1878, according to a booklet in the Peoria, Ill., public library titled The Avery Farm Machinery Company, 'Their product had gained a high reputation among the farmers and was an acknowledged success.'
An Avery Six-Cylinder Model 'C' Tractor and 'Yellow-Baby' Thresher Makes an Ideal Small Threshing Outfit.
Avery Tractor Sizes
The Avery Co. manufactured a dozen different sizes of tractors in only 15 years' time. Here's the rundown:
Also: Model C Motor cultivator Nursery tractor Track Runner 15-25 Ro-Trak
By 1882, the Averys had moved their growing business to Peoria to take advantage of better shipping opportunities. They built a three-story plant and produced corn planters, check rowers, stalk cutters, cultivators and hand tools.
In 1891, they added steam traction engines and grain threshers to their product line, a combination that would make up the bulk of their business for the next three decades. As Jack Norbeck writes in his Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines, 'The Avery was a single cylinder, straight flue steam traction engine. Avery boilers were reinforced for carrying high pressures.'
Among others, Avery made 18-, 30-, 40-, 50- and 65-hp steam engines, under various company names. They also manufactured Corn King and Corn Queen cultivators, wagons, horse stalk cutters, separators and the Avery steel-mounted water tank.
Branch offices were established in Omaha, Neb.; Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Mo.; Indianapolis; Minneapolis, and St. Louis, and Avery products were sold all over the world.
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