J. I. CASE COMPANY

Engine

At bottom, the engine had been struck on the Michigan Central, now the Penn Central. No one was hurt. It was then restored and put back to work. Note the cattle guards between the tracks. Courtesy of Louis Forrest, R. R. 1, Staples, Ontario, Canada NOP 2J

Louis Forrest

Content Tools

Forest Grove Trailer Park, Ontario, New York 14519.

(Story written by Mr. Dan Parks of Iowa State University and we thank the newsletter folks of The Pioneer Engine Bugle for letting us use it.)

(continued from March-April issue)

Next, Charles S. Brantingham became general manager and partner. They then purchased the Geiser Manufacturing Company, Reeves and Company and the Gas Traction Company. Later they bought the Osborne line from International Harvester.

In 1914, Ralph Emerson died. Following his death, the company kept getting in worse financial shape until in 1928, when Leon R. Clausen, the new Case president, purchased Emerson-Brantingham.

In 1928, the name was changed to the J. I. Case Company, with plants and offices in Racine, Dixon and Rock-ford.

Also in 1928, letters were substituted in place of the horsepower ratings: the 12-20 became the A, the 18-32 became the K and the 22-45, the T.

In 1929, the L (26-40), C, CO, CI and LI were introduced. Also the CC was introduced, which was the first cultivating tractor built by Case.

In 1932, the Case one man motor lift combine was introduced. This combine could be equipped with engine or pto drive. It was 23 feet 6 inches long, 21 feet 7 inches wide and 12 feet 7 inches high. The header was 10 feet wide and would swing around lengthwise for transport. It only had a 22 inch cylinder which is rather small beside today's combines, but was quite respectable in its day. The selling point of this combine was that the fuel for it, and the tractor, could be purchased for the price of the twine it took on a binder. The company also introduced a successful two-row corn picker in this year.

In 1933, Case ranked third in production and sales of farm tractors.

The L and C tractors had many desirable options on them. If a person wished to spend the money, he could purchase as special equipment: pto, hood sides, muffler, high air intake, motometer, summer canopy, whistle, electrical lights and a winter cab. The CC had as standard equipment, a mechanical power lift. This power lift was driven by motor power transferred through an enclosed worm and gear. They developed 2 and 4 row corn and cotton cultivators, 2-row potato cultivators, 10-row truck crop seeders and cultivators, 6-row beet planters and cultivators, 4-row corn and cotton planters, 3-row middle busters, 2-row listers and 7 mowers to be used with the motor lift.

In 1936, a straight-in-line six foot combine was introduced. Also in 1936, the RC Case was built. It was a tricycle row crop tractor which could be equipped with a single front wheel when desirable. This tractor used a 17 hp Waukesha 4 cylinder engine. The rear tread was adjustable from 44 to 80 inches.

In 1937, Case, under Clausen's direction purchased the Rock Island Plow Company. The Rock Island Plow Company was founded by R. N. Tate and Charles Buford in 1855. They made plows at first. When purchased, they built plows, disk harrows, planters, cultivators, listers, hay tools, spreaders and tractors.

The Rock Island Plow Company built the Rock Island Heider tractor, from 1910 until purchased. Previous to 1910, the Heider had been built by the Heider Company of Sarrol, Iowa.

Also in 1937, a large factory was purchased in Burlington, Iowa to manufacture combines.

In 1939, Case introduced its D series tractors and with it came Flambeau Red paint on the Case tractors and machinery. This tractor was a 3-plow machine. It featured Eagle eye vision. They built a DC-3 (row crop), DC-4 (high clearance), DO (orchard), and DV (vineyard).

In 1940, the models V, VI, VO, VC, S, SC, SO and LA were introduced. The V series featured a 4-cylinder Continental engine and was an 18 hp tractor. The S series was a 2-plow tractor. The LA was a 4-5 plow heavy standard tractor.

In 1942, the VA, VA1, VAO, VAC, VA1W-3 and VA1W-4 were introduced. This was an improvement over the V series. It employed the use of a Case engine. I owned a VA1W-3. This tractor was built during WW Two to pull airplanes at the U. S. air bases. It had a wheelbase of 54'. Overall length was 105', width was 44' and a height of 51'. It had a ground clearance of 6'. It went 13 mph and weighed 425 lbs. each. It had 6.00 x 9' front tires and 7.50 x 16' rear tires. There was no pto or hydraulic available for the machine.

Case celebrated its centennial in 1942 with a pageant in Union Grove, Wisconsin. They had a historical display in the July 4th parade. Also eight combines in three styles were being offered for sale in this year.

In 1947, Case bought three more factories. These were in Stockton, California; Bettendorf, Iowa and Annis-ton, Alabama. The one in Bettendorf is used to manufacture large combines, corn harvesting equipment and hay balers. The other two plants are used to manufacture items for local needs.

In 1953, Case introduced the 500 Diesel tractor. It was acclaimed to be the best diesel on the market. In 1953, the last threshing machine was produced by the Case Company. They also built and sold a pilot run of a Case corn harvester. This machine picked and shelled the corn. It also chopped the stalks and could put this in a wagon.

In 1955, the 400 series was introduced. In 1956, the 300 series which was a smaller tractor was introduced.

In 1957, the American Tractor Company was purchased and the line of construction crawlers and tractors was added to the Case line. The American Tractor Company started production of its GT-25 Terratrac in 1950. The Burlington plant was also used for building crawler and utility tractors.

In 1958, Case started subsidiaries in Australia, Brazil, France and England. And in 1959, the 800 and 100 self-propelled combines were introduced. They also brought out some new Construction lines.

In 1960, the 200 baler was introduced. In 1961, all construction manufacture was moved to Burlington.

In 1962, the 600 self-propelled combine was introduced. Also in this year the production was started on the 930 Comfort King. 'King of the Six Plow Tractors.' It had 81 horsepower.

In 1963, the 530 Construction King was placed in production. Also the 1010 and 700 self-propelled combines were made. In this year, Case also started production of a Launcher.

In 1964, the 900 self-propelled combine was built. Also the 1200 Traction King tractor was built. This was a 120 hp 4-wheel drive machine. Case also purchased the Colt Manufacturing Company in this year. The company was started in 1962. At that time they started building a completely hydraulic drive garden tractor. In 1963, seven and nine and one half hp tractors were placed in production. Also they moved the company to Winneconne, Wisconsin. By 1965, five models were in production. They ranged from 10 to 12 horsepower.

Until 1966, Case and Colt garden tractors were separate models, but were produced in the Colt plant. By 1966 the demand was so great for the Colt tractors that they were marketed by Case dealers also.

In 1966, a new Forage Harvester was built. Also a new 400 hay rake was built, as were the 1060, 960 and 660 self-propelled combines.

The Terre Haute plant was purchased from the Allis Chalmers in 1966. They currently built the 680 cck loader-backhoe and the W-26B, W-24, W-26LF, W-18 and W-20 articulated loaders. They employ 650 people and the grounds cover 220 acres.

In 1967, the 1030 tractor was added to the line. It is a 101.7 HP Also all of the Colt tractors were called Case. This same year the Drott Company was purchased.

The Drott Company was started in 1925 by E. A. Drott in Butternut, Wisconsin and was called Hi-Way Service Corp. The name was changed in 1945 to Drott Manufacturing Corp. In the beginning, they only built the Wausau snow plow.

In 1929, manufacture was started on hydraulic bulldozers for crawler tractors. By 1936, an all-hydraulic power-tilt was being used on these dozers.

In 1942, they built an all-hydraulic front end loader for crawlers and in 1943 they built the Go-Devil one-ton crane.

In 1948, operations were moved to Wausau and in 1954 the first Drott 4-in-I skid shovel was offered for sale.

In 1960, Drott bought Travelift and Engineering Company of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. In 1962, they obtained exclusive rights to manufacture Yumbo shovel-hoes which were quite popular in Europe.

In 1967, Drott was purchased by Tenneco and made a subsidiary of Case. Today they employ nearly 500 people.

In 1968, a new line of tool bars were added to the line. Also two new pull type windrowers, the 555 and 575 were introduced. Three new self-propelled windrowers were introduced. They were the 655, 955 and 1155. The 1660 and 1160 self-propelled combines were also added in 1968.

Case has been sold since the early 1900s in Australia. In 1958 they purchased the Gemmel Tractor Company of New South Wales. Shortly afterward, the Howard Auto Cultivator Company of Northmead was purchased. Today they manufacture construction equipment and also four wheel drive loaders. They now employ 360 people.

In 1969, the Colt Company was changed from a subsidiary of Case to the Outdoor Power Equipment Division. Also during that year, J. I. Case held its North American Dealer Congress. At this time, they showed their new corporate symbol which is the Case name now familiar on all Case machinery. By so doing they ended the 104 year old symbol of Old Abe the Eagle. They also showed their new tractors at this time. This is the Agri-King line. It includes the following models: 470, 570, 870, 970, 1070 and 1470. They also put on display the new engines, transmissions and cabs.

In 1970, two 7 hp tractors were added to the line. Also, in this year the Rockford, Illinois plant was closed. It was closed because of a significant decrease in sales, curtailment of production and the changing product mix.

The Case crawlers were moved from Burlington, Iowa to Bettendorf, Iowa. Bettendorf will build rubber-tired tractors. They also build harvesting machinery .

Products from Rockford will be transferred. Four-wheel-drive loaders will be made at Terre Haute, Indiana. The 1470 will be made in Racine. The Uni-loader and 480ck will go to Burlington. Farm implements will go from Rockford to Bettendorf.

In 1970, the 1170 was added. It is an 8 plow tractor.

In 1971, four new 10 through 14 HP tractors were added to the growing Case line.

Case is now solely owned by Tenneco Inc. This has happened gradually through stock trades. It started many years with Case stock going to W. R. Grace and Co. Now however, Tenneco owns all of Case.