Farm Collector

‘Old Abe’ Case Eagle Lithograph, Circa 1900

Dating to about 1900, this lithograph on tin promotes J.I. Case Threshing Machine Co., Racine, Wisconsin. Case adopted the now well-known “Old Abe” Case eagle on top of the globe as its trademark in 1865. This sign was produced by Norton Bros., Chicago. Very few farm machinery advertising signs were made on tin; those that survive are fragile, as the image tends to flake from the tin surface.

Named in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, “Old Abe” was the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Regiment in the Civil War. The eagle survived 39 Civil War battles. After the war he was given a permanent home in the Wisconsin State Capitol Building in Madison. A popular attraction, he was taken to the Centennial Exposition in 1876 at Philadelphia. He died in 1881 after inhaling smoke in a fire at the capitol building.

Jerome Increase Case began building threshers in 1842 in Rochester, Wis. Two years later he moved to Racine, Wisconsin, where he operated the business as Racine Threshing Machine Works. In 1863, working with three partners, he organized the firm of J.I. Case & Co. In 1869, the first Case portable steam engine was produced, followed in 1878 by the first Case traction engine. In 1880, the partnership was dissolved and J.I. Case Threshing Machine Co. was incorporated. By 1886, Case was the world’s largest manufacturer of steam engines. In 1928, the company’s name was changed to J.I. Case Co.

Tenneco purchased J.I. Case in 1967 but continued to market products under the Case name. The “Old Abe” trademark was retired in 1969. In 1984, Case and International Harvester merged to form Case IH. In 1999, Case IH merged with New Holland Ag to form a new parent company, CNH Global; the majority owner is Fiat Industrial. At present, CNH Global continues to manufacture tractors branded Case IH. 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 Schnakenberg 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:

  • Published on Jun 21, 2013
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