1892 Froelich Tractor LbNA # 40377
|Placed Date||May 29 2008|
|Last Update||May 29 2014|
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.