Townsend Tractors Timeline

Author Photo
By Steam Engine Staff

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.

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