International Harvester Co. and the New Bettendorf

This advertising sign for New Bettendorf Steel Gear Wagons was issued by the International Harvester Co.

| October 2014

This chromolithograph advertising sign for New Bettendorf Steel Gear Wagons dates to about 1910; it was issued by International Harvester Co., Chicago. The image shows a beautiful team of horses easily pulling a New Bettendorf wagon with a load of feed sacks up a steep hill while in the background another team of horses refuses to pull a competitor’s wagon up the hill. Three insets show components of the wagon’s running gear.

The Bettendorf brothers, William P. and Joseph F., were sons of German immigrants. In 1893, they began building wagon running gears; in 1895 they formed Bettendorf Axle Co. and Bettendorf Metal Wheel Co. in Davenport, Iowa. They manufactured the Bettendorf All Steel Handy farm truck.

After the Bettendorfs’ factory burned to the ground in 1902, the brothers moved their operations to the small town of Gilbert, Iowa, which would rename itself Bettendorf the following year. The wheel company became French & Hecht. International Harvester Co. acquired the Bettendorf brand in about 1905 and then marketed the company’s steel wagon as the “New Bettendorf.” 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 David at 10108 Tamarack Dr., Vienna, VA 22182; (703) 938-8606;


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