The original Depue tractor was rated as a 20-30. A selective
sliding gear transmission provided speeds from 1 1/2 to
5 MPH. The final drive to the four wheels was accomplished
with bevel gears. Timken roller bearings were used
throughout the transmission and drive train. A half
cab and roomy platform enabled the operator to move
about somewhat and be protected from the sun and
weather to a small degree. The 20-30 was built in 1918 and
1919. It weighed 7,900 pounds.
Depue modified their tractor somewhat in 1920. The
original Buda 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch motor was replaced by a
larger Buda 4 1/2 x 6 inch engine. Surprisingly, the larger
engine and other modifications did not prompt a price increase
— the price remained at $2,500. The 1920-1924
models were rated at 20 drawbar and 32 brake horsepower.
One of the most noticeable changes was the removal of
the half cab. Also, the solid cast iron wheels were replaced
with built-up steel wheels, bringing the weight down to
6,500 pounds — a reduction of 1,400 pounds from the
C. A. Depue, the inventor of the Depue tractor, had
been connected with the motor vehicle industry since
1906. In 1915 he began experimenting on a heavy duty dependable tractor. Seeing the advantages of a four
wheel drive machine, all efforts were aimed in this
direction. After two years of experiments, a prototype model was built at Kenosha, Wisconsin, and was then subjected to thorough and extreme tests. The results
were so encouraging that it was decided to organize a
company to build and market the tractor. The organizers were: C. A. Depue; a brother, H. F. Depue; and F. E. Carrington, a prominent land owner in Woodbury County, Iowa. The organizers decided to locate the plant at Clinton, Iowa under the name of Depue Brothers Manufacturing Company. In 1918, a prospectus was prepared by Frederick Draham Investment Securities at Minneapolis for the purpose of selling stock in the new company. Before very long, the entire stock offering was sold, and the Depue tractor became a reality. It was marketed up to 1924.
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