The Lundell 2020 Self-Propelling Tractor

Sam Moore gives us some background on the Lundell Mfg. Co. and the little-known Lundell 2020 tractor.

| August 2015

Lundell tractor attachments

The 2020 surrounded by some of its attachments.

Illustration courtesy Lundell Mfg. Co.

In the course of the 25 years I’ve been involved in the old iron hobby, I thought I’d heard of every brand of tractor ever made in this country and plenty of foreign ones, as well. But not so!

While leafing through a long forgotten box of Implement & Tractor magazines from the 1960s and ’70s, I stumbled upon a full-page ad for the Lundell 2020 self-propelling tractor in the February 1967 issue. This was a new one on me, so I set about researching this tractor and manufacturer.

Starting in the garage

Lundell Mfg. Co. was founded in 1945 by Vernon Lundell in Meriden, Iowa. About 26 years old at the time, Vernon had nothing but an eighth grade education, $141 in cash and a lot of ideas, one of which was for a wagon hoist to make it easier for farmers to unload wagons without shoveling.

Vernon built a number of the hoists in a two-car garage on his parents’ farm. The hoists proved popular with local farmers, and the income from their sale gave him the capital to finance an expansion of his manufacturing facilities (he added on to the garage and included a nearby chicken coop) and begin making a field forage harvester. In three or four years, the factory had again been expanded and Lundell wagon hoists and two models of forage harvesters were selling well.

In 1951 forage harvester production was moved to a small plant in nearby Cherokee, Iowa, a city of about 7,700 people, as opposed to the 164 who lived in Meriden in 1950, and where labor and other services were more readily available.

Expansion followed expansion and more products came from the drawing board of Vernon Lundell. An article in a 1970 issue of the Des Moines Register notes that by then, the Lundell plant had a manufacturing area of 200,000 square feet and employed between 100 and 200 full-time employees.