The Leader Traction Engine

article image

The concept of a machine or device being “user friendly” is not a new one. The ad at right, published in 1902, proclaims the Leader as “The simplest and most powerful traction engine now on the market.” More than 100 years ago, manufacturers understood the merits of appealing to an operator. Marion Mfg. Co., manufacturer of the Leader line, was known for its user-friendly design. For the convenience of the engineer, everything was in easy reach, and every function that could be simplified (like filling water tanks, for instance) was.

User-friendly, however, did not necessarily translate into profits. Just prior to 1910, Marion Mfg. Co. and its Leader left the threshing business. In the end, during a highly competitive period for manufacturers of threshing machines, sophisticated design and quality engineering alone were not enough to save the day. 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 equipment and products.

To submit a vintage advertisement for possible 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:

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment