Living the MM Life: Minneapolis-Moline Tractors

Minneapolis-Moline tractors and equipment are at the heart of an Iowa man's lifelong hobby.

| March 2016

  • Three of Loren’s five Universal D tractors, each likely built in 1920.
    Photo courtesy Loren Book
  • A fine original neon dealership sign at Loren’s museum. “Visitors tell me they could spend all day in my museum,” Loren says. “Much of the memorabilia includes items they’ve never seen before.”
    Photo courtesy Loren Book
  • Loren and his Minneapolis-Moline Jet Star pulling an MM 760 baler.
    Photo courtesy Loren Book
  • Loren put his Universal D through its paces during plowing demonstrations in Humboldt, S.D., in 2013.
    Photo courtesy Loren Book
  • This handsome UB Special is the first Minneapolis-Moline tractor Loren restored. He and his wife, Ruth, have displayed it in many places over the years, including on their farm near Nevada, Iowa. All photos courtesy Loren Book.
    Photo courtesy Loren Book
  • 1. These three tractors represent the three companies that combined to form Minneapolis-Moline Co. in 1929. From left: a 1928 Minneapolis 17-30 B, a 1920 Twin City 12-20 and a 1920 Moline Universal D.
    Photo by Loren Book
  • Illustration from an original MM sales brochure: “The weight is so well-balanced on the two big wheels that the rest of the tractor can be supported by one hand.”
    Photo courtesy Loren Book
  • The former Book Implement Co., Nevada, Iowa.
    Photo courtesy Loren Book

The histories of Moline Plow Co. and Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Co. are interwoven with Loren Book’s own family history. His father, Donald L. Book, operated Book Implement in Nevada, Iowa, from 1949 through 1962.

“Dad’s business was located on old Highway 30,” Loren says. “After being in business for a year, he built a new building where he sold Minneapolis-Moline, Ferguson, Kewaunee and Valley equipment and featured a feed dealership. I spent a lot of time at the store sweeping, helping with assembly and joining employees for coffee breaks at the local restaurant.”

Donald used Minneapolis-Moline equipment on the family farm, spawning a fondness in Loren’s heart for the Minneapolis-Moline models R, Z, U and UB. Loren also recalls his father’s use of many Minneapolis-Moline implements.

“The first Minneapolis-Moline items I collected were things of Dad’s I found on the farm,” Loren says. “He had two 4- by 5-foot Scotch Brite Book Implement signs that were never used at the dealership. I also found Minneapolis-Moline memorabilia he had tucked away.”



Off to a Special start

On the heels of preserving those initial MM items, Loren decided to restore his father’s UB Special, which had been housed in a farm shed for at least 20 years. The MM UB was only manufactured in 1955. In Minneapolis-Moline Farm Tractors, Chester Peterson and Rod Beemer wrote that, “The ‘Special’ designation reflected a design change in the grille and radiator to allow for the option of power steering. At this time the Model B tractors also introduced interchangeable front-wheel equipment designed with a key lock configuration that allowed any of the front axles, U, E or N, to be mounted to these tractors.”

The MM Specials were fitted with a 283C-4 engine, giving customers a choice of using tractor fuel, gasoline or LP gas. Running on tractor fuel, the Special was said to be capable of generating 37 hp at the drawbar; with gasoline, 48 hp; and on LP gas, 44.