A classic scene from the American West thunders to life in this 1905 chromolithograph advertising poster for Buffalo Pitts Co. Printed by Graphic Arts Co., Buffalo, New York, this spectacular example of farm machinery advertising art depicts an American Indian brave on horseback wearing full headdress, thrusting a spear into the back of a hardcharging buffalo. At bottom are illustrations of the Niagara Junior thresher, a steam traction engine and the Niagara Second thresher.
A very similar image was used for a circa-1906 Buffalo Pitts Co. poster with illustrations of a steam plowing scene on the lower left and a threshing scene on the lower right. Perhaps just two or three examples of each poster are known to survive today.
In the early 1830s, Hiram Abail Pitts and his twin brother, John Avery Pitts, are credited with being the first to manufacture machines to separate grain from straw. They made their first such machines in Alton, Illinois, and later in Chicago, where Hiram founded Chicago Pitts Co. John left his brother and moved to Buffalo, New York, where he began the manufacture of threshing machines in 1840 and remained at the helm until his death in 1859.
The company was incorporated in 1877 under the name Pitts Agricultural Works. Production of Buffalo-Pitts steam traction engines began in 1882. The name was changed to Buffalo Pitts Co. in 1897 and the company manufactured not only threshers but also portable and traction steam engines, and steam-powered road machinery such as road rollers. In 1910 Buffalo Pitts started manufacturing the huge model 40-70 tricycle-type gas tractor. In 1914, Buffalo Pitts Co. went into receivership. Two years later, the remnants of Buffalo Pitts Co. merged with Kelly-Springfield to form the Buffalo-Springfield Roller Co. FC
Advertisements from many farm publications printed at the turn of the 20th century were more than mere methods to hawk tractors and farm equipment. To share those ads from days gone by, Farm Collector periodically reproduces some of the most spectacular ads used to promote farm manufacturing concerns.
To submit a vintage advertisement for publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.