1892 Froelich Tractor  LbNA # 40377

OwnerHart x6      
Placed DateMay 29 2008
LocationFroelich, IA
Found BySquatchis
Last UpdateMay 29 2014
Hike Distance?

In 1892 in the tiny village in Northeast Iowa, John Froelich (1849 -1933) invented the first successful gasoline-powered engine that could be driven backwards and forwards. The word “tractor” wasn’t used in those days, but that’s what it was.

At that time, steam-powered engines were used to thresh wheat. John Froelich was familiar with such equipment. In fact, every fall he took a crew of men to Langford, South Dakota to work the fields.

He was frustrated with the problems associated with steam engines; they were heavy and bulky, hard to maneuver. They were always threatening to set fire to the grain and stubble in the fields – and on a flat prairie, with a wind blowing, that was serious.

Froelich decided he could invent a better way to power the engine. The solution was gasoline. Froelich and his blacksmith Will Mann came up a vertical, one-cylinder engine mounted on the running gear of a steam traction engine – a hybrid of their own making. They designed many new parts to make it all fit together, but it finally was done.

A few weeks later Froelich and his crew started for the broad fields of South Dakota with the “tractor” and a new threshing machine. That fall they threshed 72,000 bushels of small grain. It was a success!

Here is a link about the 1892 Froelich Tractot; http://www.froelichtractor.com/thetractor.html


Find your way to the small town of Froelich, Iowa. Enter the Burlingame's General Merchandise store and just ask the clerk for the Letterbox.

Store hours; Everyday 11am-5pm

CLOSED on Wednesdays.