David Bradley Vintage Chainsaws

Collection of David Bradley chainsaws add to I&I Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Club’s Historic Farm Days show.

| March 2017

Carl Davis added a neat twist to the I&I Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Club’s Historic Farm Days show in Penfield, Illinois, in July 2016. The club featured J.I. Case, Graham-Bradley tractors and farm equipment sold by Sears. Carl expanded on that by displaying a collection of David Bradley chainsaws originally sold through the Sears & Roebuck catalog.

Carl started collecting David Bradley chainsaws about 17 years ago. But his David Bradley obsession really began with a David Bradley 2-wheel garden tractor that he bought in the early 1990s to add to his collection of about 27 garden tractors. “After that,” Carl says, “whenever I saw anything David Bradley, I would buy it.”

When he saw a David Bradley chainsaw on an auction north of his Ashland, Illinois, farm, he was hooked. “It was my first one,” he says. “Now I have probably 13 David Bradley chainsaws, plus some other brands. I probably have about 20. I just keep hoarding stuff.”

Carl runs a cow-calf operation on his farm, and works as a welder for Eli Bridge Co., Jacksonville, Illinois, a builder of carnival rides like Ferris wheels and Scramblers. With farming in his blood and a love of all things mechanical, Carl is well equipped to build a collection of David Bradley relics.

Starting with an innovative plow

According to information in the Sears archives, David Bradley was a young pioneer mechanic and foundry man in Chicago when he designed and built a plow that turned its own furrow. Bradley designed the plow specifically for the boggy, heavy, virgin prairie of the Midwest.

The success of that plow made David Bradley an important early manufacturer of farm equipment. At first, David Bradley manufactured a wide range of agricultural items, including wagons, rakes, binders, planters and more.