Iron Age Ads

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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

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

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.

Farm Collector reproduces some of the most spectacular
advertisements used to promote farm equipment and farm products in
days gone by. To submit a vintage advertisement for possible
publcation, send it to: Iron Age Ads
, Farm Collector, 1503
S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital
images by e-mail:

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