Farming with a Coop E-3 Tractor in Illinois Part 3: The Owatonna Manufacturing Company

Farming in Illinois with the Coop Model E-3 Tractor

 (Part 3 of 3 Parts): The Owatonna Manufacturing Company

by

Brian Wayne Wells

This article remains under construction.  From time to time new blocks of text will appear or present blocks of text will be corrected.

Owatonna Manufacturing Company of Owatonna, Minnesota, specialized in farm equipment specifically seeders nd portable farm elevators.

 

Throughout the history of North American agriculture, farmers have been attempting to solve their own problems.  Farmers have repeatedly joined together in societies and organization.  As noted in a previous article (See the article on this blog entitled “Farming in Illinois with the Model E-3 Tractor Part 1 of 3  Parts: The Farmers Union”) some farmers banded together in organizations like the Grange and the National Farmers Union to 1.) boost the money that farmers received for their crops through  cooperative marketing of their crops and  2.) save money through cooperative purchasing of their farm equipment, fuels and other products used in raising and harvesting those crops on the farm.

Local cooperatives engaged in the cooperative marketing of farm crops were usually centered around cooperatively-owned  creameries and grain elevators located in small towns across the vast agricultural areas of the United States–the  Midwest, the Great Plains, the agricultural South and the Central and Imperial Valleys of California.  As time went by, and the local cooperatives began to expand into the cooperative purchasing of products used by farmers, the local cooperatives began to build or purchase their own lumberyards, gasoline service stations and farm implement dealerships which began to sell cooperatively purchased products to their farmer members at reduced prices.

One member of the National Farmers Union who was currently farming in Sterling Township in Whiteside County, Illinois.  He was a “true believer” in the value of the cooperatives to the small farmer and tried at all instances to purchase all his supplies from local Cooperatives.  Especially, those cooperatives that were connected with the Farmers Union.  Our Sterling Township farmer had moved to this farm in Illinois in 1945 from  his father’s farm located near Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Due to a lack of any local cooperative that sold “COOP” farm machinery and farm tractors, our Sterling Township farmer tended to buy his farm machinery at the Sauk County Farmers Union Cooperative in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

However, there was some farm machinery that was not available through the COOP line of the farm implements marketed by the National Farmers Union.  For these pieces of farm machinery, our Sterling Township farmer was required to turn to other private company suppliers.  As noted previously, he had purchased an 8-foot hydraulically controlled trailing double disc from a local dealer in Sterling, Illinois.  This disc had been manufactured by the Kewanee Manufacturing Company of Kewanee, Illinois.  Kewanee, Illinois was situated in Henry County, Illinois, which was located immediately to the south of Whiteside County.

A county map of the State of Illinois showing the location of Henry County the home county of the Kewaunee Manufacturing Company. The County immediately to the north of the highlighted Henry County is Whiteside County Illinois, the home county of our Sterling Township farmer.

 

Even though our Sterling Township farmer had been impressed by the hydraulically controlled transportable disc produced by the Kewanee Manufacturing Company, he was not so impressed by the portable farm elevator that was also produced by the Kewaunee Company.

The Kewaunee Company had been making portable farm elevators since 1922 when the company purchased a line of portable farm  elevators from the Hart Grain Weigher Company of Peoria, Illinois.  At this time, the portable elevator made by Kewaunee was a composit of wood and steel construction.  In 1926, Kewaunee introduced their “all-steel” elevator.  In anticipation of the production the new farm Kewaunee elevator the Kewaunee Company had moved out of its old facilities to a new concrete block building locate on the corner of Park and Commercial Streets in Kewaunee in 1922.  However, sales of the new portable Kewaunee farm elevator grew so rapidly that the Company was forced to move to still larger facilities in 1927.

In 1922 the Kewaunee Machinery Company inherited a portable farm elevator made of wood and steel when the Company purchased a line of portable elevator line from the Hart Grain Weigher Company.

 

During the first few years on the new farm in Sterling Township, Illinois,  our Sterling Township farmer had been forced to borrow a portable elevator from his neighbors merely to move the oat crop from the wagon to his granary and to move the ear corn from the wagons which were coming into the yard to the corn crib.  to the   to

  In 1888 the Owatonna Manufacturing Company was founded in Owatonna, Mnnesota.  Farmers soon recognized the OMC paint colors of red and lime green on the grain drills, seeders and balers.  In 1928, OMC began making portable farm elevators in 1928 after purchasing the Diedrick Company.  Indeed, for a while OMC continued the production of the Diedrich (even under the Diedrich name)

The first OMC factory in Owatonna, Minnesota, in 1888.

 

Farmers soon recognized the OMC paint colors of red and lime green on the grain drills, seeders. elevators and and balers.

 

The Owatonna Manufacturing Company of Owatonna, Minnesota, specialized in farm equipment specifically seeders and portable farm elevators.

Owattonna

In 1965, OMC  introduced their first “Mustang” skid steer.

 

In 1997 Mustang was separated from OMC and sold to the Gehl Corporation

 

OMC, itself was sold to the Manitou Americas Inc. corporation.    as being

As the mid-1950s went on, the Cockshutt faced dwindling Meanwhile,  the National Farm Machinery Cooperative started losing market share in the farm tractor and machinery market as a result Cockshutt shares return egt.  arm

 

Eventually, our Sterling township farmer traded the COOP Model E-3 tractor, bearing the serial No. 31591, in on the purchase of a newer more powerful Cockshutt tractor.  No. 31591 was sold from one owner to another when the tractor ended up in the hands of an owner than sought to made the Model E-3 into a tractor that could be used in professional antique tractor pulling contests.  Accordingly, the hydraulics which had been installed on No. 31591 by our Sterling Township farmer under the seat on the operator’s platform.  At the same time the tractor was repainted with the red and cream colors to make No. 31591 look like a post-1955 Cockshutt.

When purchased by the current author, the COOP Model E-3 tractor bearing the serial number 31591 had been largely repainted to look like a post-1955 model Cockshutt Model 30.

 

to make the tractor t pullingthe

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