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History of Farm Tractors - Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company

Minneapolis, Minnesota (1902-1929)

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Farm Tractor

Farm Tractor

F.A. Pazandak Photograph Collection
The Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company (MS&M Co.) was founded in Minneapolis by J.L. Record and Otis Briggs on April 24, 1902, to manufacture steel components for buildings, bridges, and other steel structures.

Twin City "40" Farm Tractor

The MS&M Co. engaged in the singular steel fabrication business until 1910, when the Joy-Wilson Company of Minneapolis was hired to design a tractor for them. The tractor that was designed later evolved into the famous Twin City "40" tractor, and began the company's successful venture into the tractor business. A few years later, the MS&M Co. expanded its role in the tractor business by subcontracting to build heavy tractors for other manufacturers like Case Threshing Machine Company, and Bull Tractor Company.

Lightweight Farm Tractors

By the late teens, MS&M Co. engineers realized the trend in tractor design was moving away from the massive behemoths that were their specialty, to smaller, cheaper, and more compact tractor designs. As a result, an entirely new line of lightweight tractors was engineered, supplemented by a new line of threshing machines and farm trucks. The new line of lightweight "Twin City" tractors were very well engineered, and as a testament to their quality they later served as the basis for the entire Minneapolis-Moline tractor line.

Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Company

Overall, sales of "Twin City" products increased throughout the twenties with growing consumer acceptance, but in the depressed agricultural economy of that period it was very difficult for a short line company like MS&M Co. to survive on its own. Therefore, merger negotiations began with another short line company, the Moline Implement Company of Moline, Illinois, and later included the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company of Hopkins, Minnesota. An agreement was eventually reached, and on March 30, 1929, the three short line companies were amalgamated to form the Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Company.
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