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History of Farm Tractors - Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company

Hopkins, Minnesota (1887-1929)


Farm Tractor

Farm Tractor

F.A. Pazandak Photograph Collection
The Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company (MTM Co.) was founded in Hopkins, Minnesota, by John S. McDonald as an outgrowth of the former Fond du Lac Threshing Machine Company. Initially, in 1887, the new company only manufactured threshing machines, but later it expanded into the manufacture of steam traction engines.

Minneapolis 35-70 Farm Tractor

After only a few years on the market, "Minneapolis" steam engines and threshing machines had established a highly regarded name for themselves among farmers in the grain-growing regions of the United States and Canada. By 1911, however, steam traction engines had begun to lose favor among progressive farmers, and so the MTM Co. decided to enter the vastly expanding tractor business. Therefore, Walter I. McVicker was hired to design a tractor which became, after some refinement, the successful Minneapolis "35-70."

In the late teens, MTM Co. followed the industry trend by expanding into the small tractor market with their newly designed "15-30" tractor. Refined, and identically styled larger horsepower tractors were later added to fill out the tractor line, replacing the older models. These newly designed tractors all featured the large bore, long stroke engine design that was to become a trademark of all Minneapolis-Moline tractors built after the merger in 1929.

Joining the Merger Negotiations

Much like the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Comapny, was a short line manufacturer, the MTM Co. realized that it could not remain competitive as an independent company. In 1928, officials of the MTM Co. heard about the ongoing merger negotiations between Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Co. and Moline Implement Company, and made it known to both parties that they wished to be included.

This proposition was ultimately accepted by the other companies, because besides possessing a respected name in farm equipment, the MTM Co. brought a quality combine and corn sheller into the fold. 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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