Lauson Mfg. Co.

John Lauson Manufacturing Company entered the tractor business with a 15-25 and a 20-35, in December of 1915. The 15-30 Lauson appeared in 1920 and was available in a road model or a conventional field design. The basic difference was that the Road Tractor used heavy cast iron rear wheels for added traction. Lauson offered the “Full-Jewelled” tractors in 1919, and this designation was used again in 1920. This particular machine was a rice-field special. A 12-25 Lauson model appeared in 1921.

Manufacture Logo


Few boys of fourteen years were forced to assume a man’s tasks, but thus it was with John Lauson. his father and four other brothers had come from Germany and settled near New Holstein where they opened a repair shop. Upon his father’s death in 1882, John stepped into the business with his uncles. In 1884, at age 16, John assumed a full partnership with his uncle, George Lauson, and J. H. Optenburg in a new firm and a new shop, specializing in building boilers, tanks, smokestacks, and more. Traction engines were also repaired. For a time this firm built a complete steam traction engine, the “Uncle Sam” but only about 25 were made. John Lauson bought out Optenburg’s interest in 1891. By now steam boilers and their repair took up the major part of the business. About 1895, John’s brother Henry Lauson joined the company. henry had been working for a gas engine company in Chicago and was very interested in them. The two Lauson brothers, along with H.N. Edens, got busy and built the first Lauson engine in 1898, a rather crude 4 horsepower outfit, but they liked their success and decided to go further. In 1904, Lason came out with their “Frost King’ engines. They were immensely popular all over the United States and in many foreign countries. Just like many gas engine builders, Lauson got into the tractor business. Begining in 1915, Lauson stayed in the market for many years, facing stiff competition, but winning out with their quality products. During the last years of production, an alliance with Nichols & Shepard Company bolstered sales. Severe crop failures and the Great Depression forced the company into bankruptcy. It was liquidated on May 15, 1935. After being reorganized, engine production resumed and in 1941, Lauson Company was sold to Hart-Carter Company, Peoria Illinois, they, in turn, sold the Lauson division to Tecumseh Products Company in 1956.


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# Produced

20-35 S-12


15-30 Road Tractor




20-40 Thresherman


25-45 Thresherman


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