Moline Plow Co.

Moline Plow Company gained immediate success in the tractor business with the “Moline Univeral”. By buying out Universal Tractor Company of Columbus, Ohio Moline reaped the benefits of the previous experiments and introduced America to one of the first row-crop tractors. Within a few months of buying out of Universal Tractor Company, Moline was in the tractor business in a big way. The first units were of two-cylinder design, using an engine built by Reliable Engine Company. By early 1917, Moline was set to begin building its own engines. Plows, cultivators, mowing machines, and grain binders were some of the implements available for instant attachment to the tractor, and with slight modifications, almost any farm implement could be adapted to the Universal tractor. In 1918, The design was changed to a four-cylinder engine with an electric starter and lights.

Manufacture Logo


Moline Plow Company had roots going back as early as 1852 with the partnership of Henry W. Candee and Robert K. Swan. In that year they purchased a fanning mill factory, and within a short time, hay rakes, chain pumps, and other goods were available. Moline, Illinois was an ideal location for Candee, Swan & Company, the name adopted in 1865. About 1865, the partners saw the prosperity associated with the manufacture of steel plows. As a result, Andrew Friberg, an experienced plow maker, joined the firm as a partner. Increased output of plows and other implements led to a need for more capital, and this problem was solved by taking George W. Stephens as a partner. As destiny would have it, the Stephens family was to be dominant in the company management for nearly fifty years. Two other partners came into the firm as the business grew, and on April 6, 1870, the six partners met and formed the Moline Plow Company. The partnership assets were transferred to the new corporation. By 1884, the “Flying Dutchman” trademark became the standard-bearer for the Moline line. It remained so until 1917 when it was removed from the advertising because of the pro-German connotation. This was undesirable in a time of war when anti-German sentiments were very strong. The “Flying Dutchman” trademark returned to the Moline line in 1928. Shortly after its organization, Moline Plow Company augmented its line with non-conflicting equipment. Finding this to have inherent disadvantages, Moline Plow Company began a series of acquisitions, beginning with the purchase of Acme Steel Company, Chicago, Illinois in 1904. This purchase enabled the company to make its own plowshares. The next major acquisition was the Mandt Wagon Company in 1906. Torre G. Mandt had started a one-man wheelwright shop known as the Stoughton Wagon Compan in 1865. It was reorganized and incorporated as the T. G. Mandt Vehicle Company in 1895. Mandt wagons and vehicles were well-known, and this acquisition was very beneficial to Moline Plow Company. Another 1906 acquisition was the purchase of the Henney Buggy Company. The acquisition of Monitor Drill Company, St. Louis Park, Minnesota took place in 1909, and the McDonald Bros Scale Company of Newcastle, Indiana was purchased in 1911. Haying and harvesting machinery became a reality for Moline Plow Company with its 1913 purchase of Adriance, Platt & Company, a veteran in the harvesting business The continuing trend to power farming led the Moline Plow Company directors to look into the motor plow business. As a result, a design was completed in 1913, and International Harvester Company was contracted to build five experimental models. By November of that year, the tests were proving unsatisfactory, and further work was abandoned. However, interest continued in tractors, and in November of 1915, Moline Plow bought out Universal Tractor Company. One of the last Moline Plow Company acquisitions was the purchase of the Independent Harvester Company in 1919 and the last purchase before the merger was the Root & Vandervoort Engineering Company in 1921. The nationwide post-war recession nearly forced Moline Plow Company into bankruptcy, and the manufacture of tractors and many other implements was halted in 1923. In March 1929, negotiations for a merger began with Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Company, The merger was approved, and Moline Plow Company ceased operations on May 16, 1929.


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# Produced

B (Universal)


C (10-12) (Moline Universal)


D (9-18) (Moline Universal)


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