Townsend Tractors Timeline

Roy C. Townsend's first tractors were called Bower City tractors, and appear to be identical to Townsend tractors.


| March 2006



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Roy C. Townsend worked for Fairbanks Morse & Co. before he went off on his own in 1914. His first tractors were called Bower City tractors, and appear to be identical to Townsend tractors. Bower City tractors were manufactured starting in 1915 in 10-20 and 12-25 sizes. A later advertisement for Townsend tractors indicates five different sizes were manufactured, 10-20, 15-30, 20-40, 25-50 and 30-60, all 2-cylinder gas engines ranging from 6-1/2-by-7-inch to 9-1/2-by-12-inch bore and stroke. They weighed from 4,500 to 12,000 pounds. In 1924 a 12-20 weighing 4,000 pounds was introduced. This one no longer had the steamer look, but modern tractor lines.

Fairbanks, Morse & Co. distributed Townsend tractors, but called them "Fairmore" tractors according to The Ancestors and Descendants of Hosea Townsend of Magnolia, Wisconsin. The book continues, saying, "This company, like many others, had made a large percentage of its sales on time-payment contracts which had seemed reasonable during the 'boom' times. Unfortunately, during the depression that followed, only a small percentage of the paper the company had taken at the time of the sales was honored, causing a heavy loss in the company's capital structure." In 1931, the Great Depression forced the sale of the company to the LaCrosse Boiler Co. of LaCrosse, Wis., where 12-25, 20-40 and 30-60 HP sizes were made. This arrangement lasted perhaps a year before no more Townsend oil tractors were ever made.