Farm Collector

Increase Your Agriculture IQ #2: The Waterloo Boy Tractor

Reader Contribution by Press Release

Immediate News Release:
Heartland Acres Agribition Center
2600 Swan Lake Blvd.
Independence, Iowa 50644
319 332-0123

Increase your Agriculture IQ #2 Waterloo Boy 

Steven Pals, University of Northern Iowa public history major, stands beside his favorite tractor at Heartland Acres – a 1923 Waterloo Boy.  

Heartland Acres Agribiton Center and intern Steven Pals from the University of Northern Iowa present the second installment in the”Increase your Ag IQ” series. 

Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company was co-founded in 1892 by John Froelich, George Miller and other Waterloo businessmen. Froelich gained success by creating his own gasoline tractor in 1892 by combining exhisting components from Van Duzen  and Robinson tractor companies.  Initial production included four models which had little success.  The company did, however continue to produce small stationary engines.  Froelich sold the company in1895 to John Miller.  Miller renamed the company Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company and in 1912 bought the Waterloo Foundry and combined both businesses.

By 1913 the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company had produced its first Waterloo Boy.  The Waterloo Boy was a one-man tractor with a horizontal two-cylinder engine that burned kerosene.  The tractor weighed approximately 9,000 pounds.  The name “Waterloo Boy” originated as a parody on the “water boy” who was responsible for bringing water to cool the older style steam engines. The Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company produced two popular models, the Model R in 1914 and the Model N in late 1916.  The Model R was a single speed that sold for about $985.  The Model N was a two speed that sold for $1,150.

During this same time, Deere & Company sought to increase their tractor production and found the most efficient method was to purchase an existing company.  Deere saw the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company as a perfect location for this endeavor.  In 1918 Deere & Company purchased the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company for $2.35 million (or $49 million today).  Deere continued to produce the Waterloo Boy Model N series until 1924 when it was replaced by the John Deere Model D.

Heartland Acres currently displays a Waterloo Boy on loan from Kenny and Art Kass from Dunkerton, Iowa.

For more information about Heartland Acres please visit us at or call (319) 332.0123.
Heartland Acres Agribiton Center is a 501 (c) (3) non- profit organization.

  • Published on Mar 12, 2012
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