If you think outsourcing materials and supplies is something new, take a moment to consider the early American tractor industry. True, many of the pioneering manufacturers poured the molds for every piece of their equipment, casting and machining everything from the power unit to the final drive. But an equal - if not greater - number of early tractor manufacturers sourced parts for their machinery from vendors eager to supply a growing industry.
Foote Bros. Gear & Machine Co., Chicago, Ill., was one of those vendors. A once humble concern with roots in the machining industry going back to 1859, Foote was a leader in gear and transmission technology by the time this advertisement appeared in the February 1920 issue of Tractor and Gas Engine Review.
Foote actively pursued the growing market for gas-powered tractors, and by 1920 the company offered five different transmissions - all of them featuring closed, dust-proof construction - to suit the needs of various-sized tractors.
Foote's lightest transmission, the Model B, was a 2-speed unit suitable for 3-plow tractors. Next up was the heavier-duty Model C, rated for 4- to 6-plow tractors, and available with an optional third gear. For manufacturers of larger tractors, a heavy-duty Model D was available, featuring two forward gears and one reverse, and featuring a set of "quick change gears" that could be reversed to give lower gearing. This was followed by the Model D-U, rated for engines of 30 to 40 hp and featuring the same reversible gearing, and a planetary final drive. The Model D-U could be supplied complete with cushion springs, steering gear, and engine and front axle supporting frame.
Last on Foote's roster of tractor transmissions was the Model F-U, essentially identical to the Model D-U but built for smaller, 20 to 30 hp engines.
Although Foote transmissions were used by many manufacturers, Foote didn't always get credit for its innovative work. Illinois Tractor Co., for instance, billed the transmission in its 1917 Super-Drive as "The Illinois Enclosed Transmission," with nary a hint the unit was actually a Foote Model D-U.
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