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The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota was known as the leader in the manufacture of agricultural implements in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Its location at the 'frontier' of agricultural expansion and its network of rail transportation available into the West made it an ideal location for the companies who served the needs of the farmer. A common photograph seen in the local press and in such publications as Farm Implement News showed entire trainloads of steam engines and separators on flatcars headed for the western dealers in preparation for the rich harvests being experienced in those times.
In 1887 a group of local investors formed an organization named The Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company and bought out the McDonald Manufacturing Company of Fondulac, Wisconsin and moved that company to Hopkins. The company continued their output of threshing machines and soon decided to begin a line of steam traction and portable engines to accompany their growing line of separators. This company continued in the steam engine business through 1924 and in 1912 brought out the first of their line of internal combustion powered farm tractors that would become the Minneapolis Moline line in 1929 and would cease to exist after take-over by the White Corporation in the 1960's.
The Western Minnesota Steam Threshers is sponsoring the largest and most complete display of a single company's line with its MTM Centennial Exposition to be featured at its 1987 Labor Day Reunion. Planning is already underway for this 1987 Exposition and the WMSTR wishes to have everyone cognizant of this event so that plans can be made for attendance. The Exposition will include steam engines, separators, and tractors made by MTM and related companies. A special area of the Rollag show grounds will be populated with these exhibits and there will be a building in this area that will be devoted to literature and memorabilia of MTM and related companies including photographic reproductions of MTM advertising art, material describing each engine displayed, an MTM belt buckle, catalogue reprints, and a newly published book on MTM and its output of steam engines. On display will be engines representative of most sizes and types made by the company (both single and double cylinder) and several examples of the threshing machines made by MTM. All of the engines able to be licensed in Minnesota will be operating as will the threshing machines.
If you have equipment made by MTM, Moline Plow, B. F. Avery, Minneapolis Steel and Machinery (Twin City), or Minneapolis Moline that you would like to display at the 1987 Exposition please contact the author of this article for more information. This is going to be THE BIG ONE as far as the MTM conglomerate is concerned and will be serving as a model for others who wish to feature some of the other fine companies at other shows. Do yourself a favor and make plans now to attend!