This handsome two-page spread promoting the Port Huron Longfellow engine is unusual not for what it promotes but for where it did so. George Fogle, Mason, Mich., found the ad printed in the Wolverine, the 1912 yearbook for Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University), East Lansing. The yearbook was produced by students at an agricultural college, but it contained no other ads for farm equipment and machinery, and the book’s audience — college students — would not have been a natural market for the Port Huron line.
The yearbook more typically counted bookstores and restaurants among its advertisers. Was a member of the yearbook staff somehow related to an executive of the Port Huron company? Was the ad placement a gift from an indulgent father to a fledgling ad salesman? The answer is lost to time.
The Longfellow was produced beginning in 1907. Featuring boiler tubes 9 feet long, the Longfellow was so popular that Port Hurons with short boilers are rarely seen today.
An outgrowth of the Upton Mfg. Co., Battle Creek, Port Huron produced steam engines, threshing machines, sawmills, hay presses, wagons, corn shellers and, in 1915, an unsuccessful gasoline tractor. Only a few were built, according to The Steam Tractor Encyclopedia by John F. Spalding and Dr. Robert T. Rhode. The Upton company dates to the early 1880s; it was renamed Port Huron Engine & Thresher Co. in 1890. The company was dissolved by 1928. FC
Our appreciation to George Fogle, who shared this ad with us. To submit a vintage advertisement for publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.