Farming in Illinois with the Coop Model E-3 Tractor
(Part 2 of 3 Parts): The Kewaunee Company
Brian Wayne Wells
This Article remains under construction. Periodically blocks of text will appear and/or be corrected in the process of construction.
As noted earlier, the 1951 Coop Model E-3 tractor that had been purchased by our Sterling Township farmer bore the serial number #31591. (See the prior article in this this series called “Farming with the Coop Model E-3 Tractor in Illinois” contained at this website. ) Although, Sterling Township was located in Whiteside County in the state of Illinois, No. #31591 was actually purchased from the Sauk County Farmers Union Cooperative store in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Baraboo, Wisconsin, was actually, his childhood home. He had been born and raised on a farm in Troy Town in Sauk County. Wisconsin. Indeed his father and younger brother still lived on and worked the “home farm” in Troy Town.
Our Sterling Township farmer had been raised in a “Farmers Union” family and he had a strong loyalty to the National Farmers Union ideal of banning together to sell their crops to obtain the best price for their crops and banning together to purchase the products that farm families needed on the farm in order to obtain the lowest price possible for their necessary expenses. However, there were no Farmers Union stores anywhere in his area of Illinois. Indeed he had been unable to find any Farmers Union Stores anywhere in entire state of Illinois. So he continued to go out of his way to shop at the Sauk County Farmers Union store in his childhood home town of Baraboo, Wisconsin. He, usually stocked up on purchases at the store whenever he and his wife travelled back to Baraboo to visit his family. In this way he would still get his annual Farmers Union dividend for the goods that he purchased from the store in Baraboo just as he always had always done. Indeed, he anticipated that his purchase of No. #31591 in 1951 would yield a rather substantial dividend in 1952.
The Farmers Union ideal had two sides. Banning together in the Farmers Union allowed the farmers to purchase their own granaries to control the sale of their crop in order to get the best price. This was the “selling side” of the Farmers Union.
As noted in the first article in this series noted above, there was also a “buying side” of the Farmers Union. Farmers hoped to also ban together to keep their expenses as low as possible. This is where stores like the Farmers Union store in Baraboo, Wisconsin, sold a whole line of gasoline, grease and oil products at the lowest price possible for their farmer/members to use in their farming operations.
In order to expand the buying side of the Farmers Union operation, local Farmefrs Union cooperatives across the United States, interested in making inexpensive farm machinery available to their members came together, in 1942, to form the National Farm Machinery Cooperative.
The National Farm Machinery Cooperative or NFMC, set a goal of providing a “full line” of farm machinery for cooperative farm members all across the United States. NFMC envisioned selling a full line of farm machinery under the COOP name in the United States through a large number of local farm cooperatives.
Prior to the founding of NFMC, various ad hoc groups of cooperatives across the nation had already developed a close contractual relationship with the Famous Ohio Cultivator Company of Bellevue, Ohio, by purchasing farm machinery and selling the machinery to their members. These individual “supply” contracts with Ohio Cultivator had allowed these ad hoc groups of cooperatives to purchase the machinery in bulk at low prices and to pass the savings along to their member/farmers in the form of initial low retail prices and in the form of annual dividends to those members. Formation of National Farmers Cooperative had the effect of broadening and streamlining this operation. This meant even more savings that could be passed on to Farmers Union members.
However, in 1943, the NFMC had an opportunity to actually purchase the whole of the Ohio Cultivator Company. This purchase promised even more streamlining and savings in the sales of farm machinery to NFMC member/customers.
Although Ohio Cultivator had begun its life as a manufacturer of the first successful horse drawn row crop cultivator in which the farmer could actually ride the cultivator rather than walk along behind the cultivator. This riding cultivator immediately became the best seller and made Ohio Cultivator a leading manufacturer of farm machinery. The
Cultivator Company used the profits to expand the number farm implements that they offered to the farming public. However in this time of tractor power farming, Ohio Cultivator was not a “full line” manufacturer of farm machinery. To be a “full line” retailer of farm machinery, a NFMC needed to have a farm tractor available for sale under the COOP name. The acquisition of Ohio Cultivator did not solve this problem. (Although about a decade and a half prior, the aquisition of Ohio Cultivator might have solved the problem by bringing a tractor to NFMC. In 1929, Ohio Cultivator had some sort of relationship with the General Tractor Company of Cleveland, Ohio. While this relationship lasted Ohio Cultivator was a “full line” provider of farm equipment including a farm tractor. Alas, however, General Tractor went out of business and disappeared from the farm machinery market.
Before the birth of NFMC, various groups of cooperatives across the United Stat
All over the state of Illinois, small companies had sprung up that were manufacturing new and improved farm implements and machinery. One of these small companies was located just south of our Sterling Township farmer’s home in Whiteside County, Illinois. This was Kewanee Machinery and Conveyor Company located in Henry County which bordered Whiteside County on the south. Henry County contained the small manufacturing city of Kewanee, Illinois. This was where the Kewanee Company was based and from which the Company derived its name. (Thanks to the July 28, 1986 article in the “Around Town” column of the Kewanee Courier-Star newspaper written by David Clarke and the files at the Kewanee Historical Society, we have a good outline of the history of the Kewanee Machinery and Conveyor Company.)
The Kewanee Company had actually begun its existence as the Kewanee Corn Hanger Company–after its first successful product–the seed corn drying hanger. In the years prior to the production of hybrid seed corn, farmers used to walk through their corn fields, looking for the best ears of corn that could be saved to be used for seed corn in the next spring. By saving only the best ears the farmer was attempting to use the process of artificial selection to improve his corn crop. Wire and string were used to tie these special ears of seed corn together and hang them up inside the granary out of the winter elements and suspended away from the reach of rodents. In 1911, George Hurff and Benjamin Franklin (called B. F.) Baker submitted an application to the U.S. Patent Office for a corn hanger which could be used to dry these selected ears of seed corn.
In the next year, 1912, Wallace Glidden, Hurff’s son-in-law incorporated a company which would market the corn hangers to the farming public. This company was called the Kewaunee Corn Hanger Company and was based at 121 Loomis Street in Kewanee. The Kewanee Company was a family business. Wallace Glidden had been employed at the Kewanee Boiler Company, where he had met Benjamin Franklin Baker (popularly known as B.F. Baker), who was the boss of the company. It was B. F. Baker that provided most of the financing for the new business. Wallace Glidden’s own younger brother Raymond Boyd Glidden, become the manager of the Kewaunee Corn Hanger Company. In 1916, the name of the company was changed to the Kewaunee Implement Company.
The corn drying hanger proved to be a great sales success. Based the success of this product, the Company was able to expand into the manufacture of other products for the small diversified farm of the Midwestern United States. However, the company expanded into the manufacture of other products for the small farm. By 1916, the Company was making chicken waterers and hog oilers
Leonard W. Glidden was the father of Wallace and Raymond Glidden. In 1900, Leonard had brought his entire family of three sons and two daughters from Olive, Ohio to Henry County, Illinois where he started a new hardware and farm implement store in the the small town of Galva, Illinois. Galva was a small town near the City of Kewaunee, Illinois. was Leonard influenced the direction of the In 1930, the name of the company was changed to the Kewaunee Machinery and Conveyor Company. Raymond worked for a longer time in his father’s store and, thus, became impressed by the future promise of farm machinery. Accordingly, when he joined his brother, Wallace, and B. F. Baker in forming and operating the Kewaunee Corn Hanger Company, he was already predisposed toward directing the future of the Kewaunee Implement Company toward manufacturing even more farm implements.
Wallace tragically died in 1921 at the young age of 41 years. Raymond took up the reins in the place of his older brother. In 1922 the Kewaunee Implement Company purchased a corporate entity from the Hart Grain Weigher Company of Peoria, Illinois. This was be a significant move made by the Company which would be important for the future of the Company. (More on the story of the elevators manufactured by the Kewaunee Implement Company is carried in a later article on this website called “Farming in Illinois with a COOP Model E-3 Tractor (Part III): The Owatonna Manufacturing Company.”)
In the post-World War II era, a high school Agricultural Education instructor from Rochelle, Illinois, by the name of Hugh Cooper, had been working on a new kind of double disc. In 1950, this new disc was shown to the management of the Kewanee Company. The disc was a great improvement over most tillage implements of the past. The double disc was mounted on rubber-tired wheels. These wheels could be raised or lowered by a hydraulic cylinder with was to be activated by the driver on the tractor seat.. When the wheels were lowered the entire double disc would be raised entirely off the ground and the disc could be transported easily and rapidly on the rubber tires from field to field or even over the public roads. The Kewaunee Machinery and Conveyor Company purchased the design of this disc and began production of the disc in sizes from 7-foot 11 inches to 13 feet 4 inches in width.
Our Sterling Township farmer had purchased his 1951 COOP Model E-3 tractor bearing the serial number 31591 without the optional hydraulic package installed.. As noted in the earlier article in this series (“Farming with a COOP Model E-3 Tractor in Illinois [Part I]: Farmers Union,” the COOP Model E-3 tractor was really a Cockshutt farm tractor manufactured by the Cockshutt Farm Equipment Company in Bradford, Ontario, Canada.
Prior to 1946, the Cockshutt Company had confined itselt largely to the Canadian market.
However, in 1942 local cooperatives with in the United States, interested in making inexpensive farm machinery available to their members, came together to form the National Farm Machinery Cooperative. The National Farm Machinery Cooperative or NFMC, set a goal of providing a “full line” of farm machinery for cooperative farm members all across the United States. NFMC envisioned selling farm machinery under the COOP name in the United States through a large number of local farm cooperatives.
Toward this end NFMC had developed a close relationship with the Ohio Cultivator Company and in 1943, NFMC would actually purchase the Ohio Cultivator Company. Although Ohio Cultivator had begun its life as a manufacturer of the first successful horse drawn row crop cultivator in which the farmer could ride the cultivator rather than walk along behind the cultivator, by 1943, Ohio Cultivator had become the manufactuer However, to be a “full line” retailer of farm machinery, NFMC needed to have a farm tractor available for sale under the COOP name. The aquisition of Ohio Cultivator did not solve this problem. (Although about a decade and a half prior, the aquisition of Ohio Cultivator might have solved the problem by bringing a tractor to NFMC. In 1929, Ohio Cultivator had some sort of relationship with the General Tractor Company of Cleveland, Ohio. While this relationship lasted Ohio Cultivator was a “full line” provider of farm equipment including a farm tractor. Alas, however, General Tractor went out of business and disappeared from the farm machinery market.
Before the birth of NFMC, various groups of cooperatives across the United States had signed contracts at various times with the Allis-Chalmers Company of West Allis, Wisconsin , the Oliver Farm Equipment Company of Charles City, Iowa, the Huber Company and finally the Duplex Machinery Company of Battle Creek, Michigan, to provide tractors which could be sold under the COOP name. However, the last contractual relationship with Duplex for a tricycle-style row crop tractor–the COOP Model 1– had ended in 1938. The story of these earlier contracual relationships with tractor companies to aquire tractors to be sold under the COOP name. Accordingly, the local cooperatives of the United States once again found themselves without a tractor to tractor to sell to their members which bore the name COOP on the hood.
Thus, as early as 1944, NFMC began negotiating with the Cockshutt Farm Equipment Company of Brantford, Ontario, Canada to once again resolve this lack of a farm tractor for the COOP line of farm equipment. After the war ended and the wartime restrictions on the production of civilian farm machinery were lifted both in Canada and the United States a contract was signed between NFMC and Cockshutt which suddenly made the National Farm Machinery Cooperative, NFMC, the primary United States outlet for the line of Cockshutt farm machinery and the new and very modern Cockshutt Model 30 tractor. The Model 30 was scheduled to go into production at the Cockshutt Works in Brantford, Ontario. (Under the terms of this contract NFMC became the predominent retailer of but was not the only retail outlet for Cockshutt tractors in the United States. A small number of Cockshutt 30 tractors were sold under the “Farmcrest” label by the small Minneapolis, Minnesota headquartered Gambles/Skogmo chain of hardware stores. As noted in the earlier article cited above also starting in 1947.)
From Cockshutt’s point of view, the deal concluded with the NFMC meant that Cockshutt would be able to break into the United States market with a corporate entity that already had an extensive retail dealership network. This was the major benefit to the Cockshutt Farm Equipment Company would recieve from the deal.
On the NFMC side of the ledger, the deal with Cockshutt fit the long range goal of the NFMC to become a “full line” farm equipment seller. As noted in an earlier article on this website–“Farming in Illinois with a COOP Model E-3 Tractor (Part I): The Farmers Union,”–the Farmers Union having greatly expanded their farmer-member’s ability to sell their own grain and corn at the best price available by increasing the network of local cooperative grain elevators in various small towns across the upper Midwest and the Great Plains of the United States, the Farmers Union now sought to build up the “buyer” side of their local cooperatives by increasing the amount of farm implements and supplies that the farmer could buy from their local cooperatives and be able to pay the lowest price for those implements and supplies. .
Toward this goal, at the end of 1943, in the middle of the Second World War, the NFMC bought the Ohio Cultivator Company of Bellevue, Ohio. By this purchase, the NFMC immediately broadened its line of farm implements in the Ohio Cultivator Company line. (A 2004 article written by Sam Moore and published in the April 2004 Farm Collector Magazine in April of 2004., provides us a short history of the Ohio Cutlivator Company. The Ohio Cultivator Company was founded by Harlow Case Stahl. Born on February 12, 1849 near, Ballville in Sandusky County Ohio. Harlow Stahl had married Annie Charlotte Mitchell on October 21, 1874. On his parents farm, Harlow grew tired of endlessly trudging along behind the simple one or two shovel horse-drawn cultivators which were common at the time. In 1878, Harlow worked together with a local backsmith in Freemont to develop a horse-drawn cultivator which had wheels which straddled a single row of corn with shovels on both sides of the row and had a seat at the rear which allowed the farmer to ride as he cultivated his corn. This new cultivator was called the “Fremont cultivator.” The Fremont cultivator was credited as being the first successfully designed riding cultivator which was successfully marketed.
The cultivator was a success from the very beginning. In the very first year, 87 Fremont cultivators were built and 81 of these were sold to local farmers. By 1882, sales had risen to 1,000 culivators in one year. In 1885, Stahl moved his cultivator factor to a larger factory located in Bellevue, Ohio. At about this the business was incorporated as the the “Ohio Cultivator Company.”
During the “good times” of the 1880s Harlow Stahl’s company made sure to pay all its bill to suppliers on time. Accordingly, they built up a good reputation with the suppliers for dependability. This reputation set the Ohio Cultivator Company in good stead when in the a period of tightening credit occurred in 1892 and 1893. The economic condition in the United States grew worse until it became a full blown economic Panic in 1893. The Panic of 1893 resulted in the bankrupcies of major companies on Wall Street. Most United States businesses were unable to get loans to carry on manufacturing. Accordingly, most of these corporations had to lay off workers or cease production altogether. However, the suppliers of raw materials trusted the Ohio Cultivator Company because of their past record of reliability in paying their bills and the Company was able to continue production of cultivators. Therefore, when the economy began to recover again in 1895 and 1896 and farmers were ready to start buying machinery again, the Ohio Cultivator Company was well-positioned with a large inventory of horse-drawn cultivators to sell to them.
This gave the Ohio Cultivator Company an advantage over competitors in the farm machinery market. Harlow Stahl exploited this advantage by expanding his line of farm machinery beyond the horse-drawn cultivator. In 1896 he purcased a factory of a company in Dayton that had been making discs. In 1899, he purchased the struggling Bellevue Plow Company. The Ohio Cultivator Company also absorbed the Ohio Hay Press Company in 1900 and the Bissell Plow Company in 1905. Another agricultural business recession struck the United States economy in 1907-1908. Nonetheless, through this recession the work force of the Ohio Cultivator Company remained steady at 300 employees.
In 1923, Stahl led his company in making an important acquisition of the D.M. Sechler Implement and Carriage from Moline, Illinois and its Black Hawk line of corn planters and grain drills. More than the implements of this company it would prove to be the name “Black Hawk” that would prove to be the most enduring asset that would help the Ohio Cultivator Company and after 1943 would the NFMC and later still would help the Cockshutt Company.
and would the proposed the offered a hydraulic kit that could be retrofitted onto the Cockshutt Model 30. Once again this hydraulic kit was offered for sale in the United States by the network of farmers cooperatives.
A new capability required for use with the new eight-foot trailing- style double Kewaunee disc that he had just purchased from his local dealership in He knew that the Cockshutt Farm Equipment Company offered a remote hydraulic system as an option for all new Model 30 tractors that were manufactured in Bradford, Ontario, Canada. The various Farmers Union affiliated cooperatives who are selling the Cockshutt Model 30 in the United States under the designation–“Coop” Model E-3, were now offering an “add-on” hydraulic system for E-3 tractors like No. 31591 which had originally been sold without hydraulics.
This add-on hydraulic system was composed of a live-hydraulic pump which was to be mounted to the oil pump at the front of the four-cylinder Buda engine, and the main hydraulic unit located under the operator’s seat. Through this two-part system, the Cockshutt Farm Equipment Company not only offered a remote hydraulic system which operated through hoses that were connected to the two “Parker-Pioneer” hydraulic connectors protruding from the rear of the main hydraulic unit under the seat of the tractor. There were two Parker-Pioneer hydraulic connectors were part of the “remote” 2-way hydraulic system. The remote system powered a hydraulic cylinder on a piece of trailing or pulled-type of farm equipment.but also t only a one of the leading farm equipment companies to he add-on hydraulic kit attempts to provide two hydraulic functions. First, the main hydraulic unit located under the operator’s seat contains a rock shaft that protruded out either side of the main hydraulic unit. The Cockshutt hydraulic add-on kit came complete with two lift arms which were attached to a round shaft that was installed on the drawbar under the power take-off shaft on the tractor. A pair of rock shaft lift arms and two adjustable lift links were included in the kit. The lift arms were also connected to the ends of the rock shaft. This provided the power for the three-point hitch.
Two adjustable lift links were connected to the rock shaft lift arms with the lift arms attached to the drawbar. The rock shaft was powered by hydraulic oil under pressure from the hydraulic pump. The rock shaft would turn and pull up the lift arms. These two lift arms formed two points of the three point hitch and were the power of the three-point system. A top link attached to the rear of the tractor above the power take off shaft formed the third point of the three-point hitch.
However, there were also two “Parker-Pioneer” hydraulic connectors protruding from the rear of the main hydraulic unit under the seat of the tractor. These Parker-Pioneer hydraulic connectors were part of the “remote” 2-way hydraulic system. The remote system powered a hydraulic cylinder on a piece of trailing or pulled-type of farm equipment.
This is the system in which our Sterling Township farmer was most interested. He did not know how he would ever use the three-point hitch, since there were few three-point hitch implements on the market in 1952. the early 1950as There he ufor passing hydraulic oil from the pump on the tractor to a remote hyd nthe gdeveloped by sw stm
all the parts that on would be needed to attach the Cockshutt three-point hitch to the tractor. .
the cast-iron axle housings located on either side of the tractor are attached to the cast-iron power train housing by six 5/8 inch bolts. The retrofit hydraulic kit sold by the Farmers Union cooperative contained special longer bolts which were to replace four of these original bolts on the top of the axle housing. These four bolts on each axle housing were used to hold the main hydraulic unit under the operator’s seat. However, because these bolts were located under the running boards on the operator’s platform, our Sterling Township farmer needed to have the thick sheet metal running boards attached to the side of the power train housing trimmed with a blow torch to allow the main hydraulic unit to be properly attached to the bolts on top of the axle housing. The main hydraulic unit was fitted with a rock shaft.
ide of the unit under the seat was attached to the tractor by four of th eight bolts which bolts on the top of the Two hoses connected the pumereservoir and with two hoses which connect front of the engine on the
sunder the under the purchased in rs like tch he had aAccordingly,
the s s Although, Cockshutt This traqctorwas a
Throughout the history of North American agriculture, farENGmers have been attemnship pting to solve their own problems. Farmers have repeatedly joined together in societies and organi