1892 Froelich Tractor  LbNA # 40377

OwnerHart x6      
Placed DateMay 29 2008
LocationFroelich, IA
Found By Squatchis
Last Found May 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.