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Allis-Chalmers History

Prior Page Next Page A Slow Start for Farm Equipment
1912 Otto FalkDuring a period of financial trouble, the Allis-Chalmers Company is reorganized as the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company. Otto Falk, a former General with the Wisconsin National Guard is appointed to lead the company moving forward. Falk champions the company's expansion into new markets and sees an opportunity as farmers are beginning to embrace kerosene fueled tractors and other labor-saving machines.
1914 10-18 Allis-ChalmersAllis-Chalmers enters the farm tractor business with the introduction of the 10-18.  The 10-18 features a two-cylinder opposed engine, a green and red paint scheme, and sells for $750.  In total less than 200 are sold ending in 1923 and only a few examples survive today.
1918 18-30 Allis-ChalmersFarm tractor designs are evolving rapidly and in just a few years Allis-Chalmers introduces the Model E or 18-30. This design is much more successful and keeps Allis-Chalmers in the tractor business during an otherwise unimpressive period. The Model E later receives horsepower upgrades to 20-35 and eventually 25-40. Production of the Model E ends in 1936 with over 20,000 units produced.
1919 6-12 Allis-ChalmersMany companies are building tractors designed to be used with horse-drawn implements farmers already own. The 6-12 is Allis-Chalmers' take on this concept. In seven years of production, over 1,000 are produced, but demand quickly fades as farmers see the advantages of bigger tractors and implements.
1921 15-25 Allis-ChalmersThe small and affordable Model L 15-25 is introduced with the up-and-coming farmer in mind.  Management has high hopes for the L, but there is fierce competition in this space and during it's six years of production only 1,705 are built.
1926 Harry MerrittOtto Falk brings in Harry Merritt to help breathe life into the struggling farm tractor division. Merritt has a successful track record with several brands of farm and construction equipment, most notably the Holt company. It is Merritt who in 1929 will find inspiration in a field of California poppy blossoms to start painting Allis-Chalmers tractors Persian orange.
1928 MonarchThe Monarch Tractor Company of Springfield, Illinois is acquired. This gives Allis-Chalmers a foothold in the crawler tractor business.
1929 U Allis-ChalmersThe "U" is introduced as a smaller alternative to the popular Model E.  While the "U" is never a run-away success, it does have a spot in agriculture history as the first farm tractor to be widely promoted with rubber tires. Merritt knew Harvey Firestone and enlisted his help to develop a tire specifically for farm tractor applications. In the early 1930's this is a radical idea, but tests prove the tires to superior to lugged steel wheels in every regard. The "U" remains in the line all the way to 1953 and over 20,000 units are sold.
1931 Advance RumelyThe Advance-Rumely Company of La Porte, Indiana is acquired giving Allis-Chalmers an established farm equipment dealer network with over 2,000 locations.  Rumely has struggled to modernize their highly regarded line of equipment. Remaining inventory is sold through the new Allis-Chalmers dealers, often with updated badges bearing the Allis-Chalmers name.
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