Bates Machine & Tractor Co.
Bates Tractor Company announced its first tractor in 1911. For the next few years these tractors were widely sold. The Postwar depression and many other competitors made it hard on the Bates company to stay in business. Madison F. Bates was a pioneer engine builder who designed the Bates tractors. He held the honor of building the first four-cycle engine in the state of Michigan. Joliet Oil Tractor Company was building the Bates Steel Mule Model D in 1918, a year before Bates Machine & Tractor Company was formed. By 1920, Bates pepped up the Model D to a 15-22 horsepower rating. The Bates Model F, 18-25 emerged in 1921 and remained in production until 1937. From 1921 to 1928, Bates built the Model G Steel Mule, a larger version of the old Model D with a 25-35 horsepower rating. Bates’s only entry into conventional wheel tractors was the Model H, built from 1921 to 1924. Although the Model H was a promising machine, Bates pulled it off the market. Possibly the competition was easier to handle in the crawler tractor market. Bates’s first full-fledged crawler tractor was the “Industrial 25” built from 1924 to 1929. The Model 80 tractor was built from 1929-to 1937. The last Bates tractor model was the “40 Diesel.
Bates Machine and Tractor Company was organized in 1919; resulting from a merger of Joliet Oil Tractor Company and the Bates Tractor Company at Lansing, Michigan. Bates had been building tractors for several years. The Joliet people came out with a 13-30 “Bates Steel Mule” already in 1915. The 1919 merger was strong enough to stay in the market through the tough years from 1920-to 1924. By 1924, five different models were available, among them the Model F, built continuously from 1921 to 1937. In 1929, Foote Bros. Gear & Machinery Company took over the Bates operations. Few model changes resulted after Foote Bros. took over. Apparently, the depression years took their toll. In 1935, Bates Manufacturing Company ended up with the plant again, but production ended in 1937, this time for good.