Branches Aplenty in this Family Tree
Above: Ron Carver’s 1948 B.F. Avery Model V tractor is a wide-front machine on rubber.
The history of B.F. Avery tractors involves several different
companies, including Cleveland Tractor Co., Massey-Harris Co.,
Cooperative Mfg. Co., Minneapolis-Moline Co., B.F. Avery Power
Machinery Co. and Ford Motor Co., as well as distributors like
Montgomery Ward & Co.
In the beginning
Benjamin Franklin Avery, born in 1801, started a blacksmith shop
at Clarksville, Va., in 1825. The early corporation was called B.F.
Avery & Sons Pioneer Plow Maker and moved to Louisville, Ky.,
in 1845. The company's specialty was the manufacture of plows, and
by the late 1800s the company was the largest manufacturer of plows
in the world. During those years, the company also ventured into
manufacture of horse-drawn fertilizer spreaders and planters.
B.F. Avery & Sons Co. jumped into the tractor manufacturing
business in 1915 with their 5,000-pound Louisville Motor Plow, one
of a number of motor plows to come on to the market from 1915-1920.
Selling points for the 20-hp machine included removable plows,
which allowed the machine to perform other farm duties, and a
removable engine, which could be taken out by removing only eight
bolts. It was advertised as "The Perfect Deep Plowing Machine,"
with "Perfect Cooling" and "One Man Does It All." It is unclear why
the Louisville Motor Plow, which was 7 feet wide, 13 feet long and
5-1/2 feet high, disappeared a year later, but clearly the company
returned to a focus on farm implements.
A vision for the future
According to Luther D. Thomas in B.F. Avery, in about
1935 the designer of the Twin City tractor, Jack Junkin, was hired
to design a B.F. Avery tractor. However, when Junkin died in 1936,
other engineers finished his work.
In the late 1930s the company commissioned Cleveland Tractor Co.
of Cleveland to build and market a wheeled tractor to operate with
B.F. Avery's implements. In 1939, the Cleveland General Model GG
appeared, the only rubber-tired tractor out of CTC's 40-some
The Model GG was Cleveland Tractor Co.'s Model HG crawler with
rubber tires. When the tracked Model HG, which was made from
1939-1944, became the rubber-tired General GG, it carried a single
front wheel and was of row-crop configuration suitable to pull one
14-inch plow. The GG and the HG both used a 4-cylinder Hercules
IXA3 flathead engine of 113 cubic inches and 3-inch-by-4-inch bore
and stroke. Some sources say the GG was made from 1939-1941; others
suggest that production continued into 1942.
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