Vintage Farm Ads: Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co.

Here is an example of the kind of farm ads Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co. was an running in the first decades of the 20th century.

| March 2005

  • Farm ads from the early 20th century: Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co. ran this two page spread in the December 1927 issue of "The American Thresherman."
    Photo: Farm Collector Magazine Staff
  • That same line of threshing machines as it might have appeared the day they were photographed.
    Farm Collector Magazine Staff

Tractors and threshers as far as the eye can see. And every one of them manufactured by The Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co., Hopkins, Minn.

Unlike many of the "upstart" tractor companies that appeared in the late teens and early 20s, The Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co. already had a long history of manufacturing agricultural equipment and running farm ads in The American Thresherman and other trade publications to promote them.

Minneapolis Threshing's roots trace back to 1874 and the Fond du Lac Threshing Machine Co., Fond du Lac, Wis. The driving force behind the company was John S. McDonald, who moved to Minneapolis and founded the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co. in 1887. In addition to a line of threshers, the company also sold Huber steam traction engines, and introduced its own line of traction engines in the early 1890s.

According to C.H. Wendel's Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors, as early as 1897, McDonald, recognizing the opportunity in the nascent gasoline tractor business, suggested his company adopt the tractor designed by Otto Gas Engine Works of Philadelphia, Pa. McDonald's suggestion stalled, and two years later he was forced out of his company.

Another 12 years passed before Minneapolis Threshing introduced a gasoline tractor under its brand, selling a 20 HP machine manufactured by Universal Tractor Co., Stillwater, Minn. In late 1912 Minneapolis introduced the first of its own line of tractors, the 4-cylinder 40-80. This was followed by a host of smaller tractors, including the 17-30, easily the company's most successful offering.

Introduced in 1922, the 17-30 featured a cross-mounted 4-cylinder engine and unit frame, an approach made famous by Case when it introduced its little 9-18 in 1916.