With roots running back to at least 1877, Avery Co., Peoria, Ill., was an established agricultural equipment manufacturer when this advertisement appeared in the September 1911 issue of The Threshermen's Review.
Avery originally set up shop to manufacture corn planters and cultivators, but by 1891 the company had moved into the growing market for steam traction engines.
Avery's earliest offerings were conventional single-cylinder machines, but in 1904 the company unveiled its first undermounted steam traction engine.
The Avery undermounted engine won the company accolades for its strength and durability, and in the course of the next decade Avery built undermounted engines ranging from 12 to 120 hp.
Like other manufacturers, Avery had its eye on the growing market for gas-powered tractors, and in about 1910 the company introduced a 25 hp machine. According to C.H. Wendel's Standard Catalog of Farm Tractors, 1890 to 1960, the machine performed so poorly at that year's tractor trials in Winnipeg, Canada, that it was withdrawn from the market.
The following year, however, Avery got it right, introducing the 20-35 shown at right. With 20 drawbar horsepower and 35 belt horsepower, the new model was well-received by the market and set Avery on its course for the next 13 years.
As Avery's gas-powered tractors flourished, its production of steam traction engines settled into a slow decline, a trend all the "old line" manufacturers of steam traction engines were experiencing.
In 1924, Avery declared bankruptcy, and although the company reorganized (at least twice) and continued operations up to World War II, its position as a leader in the tractor industry was over.
In the intervening years, however, Avery Co. was a powerful and respected figure in tractor innovation and manufacturing. Its undermounted steam traction engines are highly sought by collectors today, and its early gas-powered tractors have a strong and committed following.
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