The Champion of Harvesting Machinery

This vintage ad featuring a bullfight promoted Champion Machine Co.’s line of harvesting machinery.

| July 2015

  • Champion Machine Co.
    This chromolithograph advertising sign, dating to about 1880, promotes Champion’s line of harvesting machinery.
    Image courtesy David Schnakenberg

  • Champion Machine Co.

To identify itself as champion today, a product would likely ally itself with the Super Bowl or NBA. More than a century ago, before either existed, Champion Machine Co., Springfield, Ohio, chose the sport of bullfighting to carry out its theme.

This chromolithograph advertising sign, dating to about 1880, promotes Champion’s line of harvesting machinery, including grain binders and mowers. The equipment is showcased against an unusual backdrop portraying a bullfight in all its exotic splendor. At the bottom of the sign, insets showcase Champion’s solid steel hinge joints, ball connections, and main frame and gearing.

The Champion Machine Co. was originally organized as Champion Mower & Reaper Co. in 1856 and later became one of the five organizations in Springfield known as the Champion Harvester System. The company became part of International Harvester Co. in 1903. FC

Grateful acknowledgement is given to David Schnakenberg, who contributed this image from his collection of pre-1910 chromolithographs of farm machinery advertising. For more information, contact him at 10108 Tamarack Dr., Vienna, VA 22182; (703) 938-8606;; view the Schnakenberg Collection.

To submit a vintage advertisement for publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by email:


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