American industrial machinery manufacturer
|Industry||Industrial machinery, grain-milling machinery, power plant equipment, mining equipment, agricultural machinery, heavy equipment (construction)|
|Founded||West Allis, Wisconsin ()|
|Successor||AGCO, Allis-Chalmers Energy|
|Headquarters||U.S. based, global exports|
|Products||Generators, engine-generators, tractors, threshers, combines, farm implements, bulldozers, milling machinery, others|
Allis-Chalmers was a U.S. manufacturer of machinery for various industries. Its business lines included agricultural equipment, construction equipment, power generation and power transmission equipment, and machinery for use in industrial settings such as factories, flour mills, sawmills, textile mills, steel mills, refineries, mines, and ore mills.
The first Allis-Chalmers Company was formed in as an amalgamation of the Edward P. Allis Company (steam engines and mill equipment), Fraser & Chalmers (mining and ore milling equipment), the Gates Iron Works (rock and cement milling equipment), and the industrial business line of the Dickson Manufacturing Company (engines and compressors). It was reorganized in as the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company. During the next 70 years its industrial machinery filled countless mills, mines, and factories around the world, and its brand gained fame among consumers mostly from its farm equipment business's orange tractors and silver combine harvesters.
In the s and s, a series of divestitures transformed the firm and eventually dissolved it. Its successors today are Allis-Chalmers Energy and AGCO.
Author-photographer Randy Leffingwell () aptly summarized the firm's origins and character. He observed that it "grew by acquiring and consolidating the innovations" of various smaller firms and building upon them; and he continued that "Metal work and machinery were the common background. Financial successes and failures brought them together."
Former marketing executive Walter M. Buescher () said that Allis-Chalmers "was a conglomerate before the word was coined." Whether or not it is literally true that Allis-Chalmers predated the sense of "conglomerate" meaning a widely diversified parent corporation, Buescher's point is valid: Allis-Chalmers, despite its common theme of machinery, was an amalgamation of disparate business lines, each with a unique marketplace, beginning in an era when consolidations within industries were fashionable but those across industries were not yet common.
s to 
Edward P. Allis was an entrepreneur who in  bought a bankrupt firm at a sheriff's auction, the Reliance Works of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which had been owned by James Decker and Charles Seville. Decker & Seville were millwrights who made equipment for flour milling. Under Allis's management, the firm was reinvigorated and "began producing steam engines and other mill equipment just at the time that many sawmills and flour mills were converting to steam power." Although the financial panic of "caught Edward Allis overextended" and forced him into bankruptcy, "his own reputation saved him and reorganization came quickly," forming the Edward P. Allis Company. Leffingwell said, "He set out to hire known experts: George Hinkley, who perfected the band saw; William Gray, who revolutionized the flour-milling process through roller milling; and Edwin Reynolds, who ran the Corliss Steam Engine works." Allis died in , but under his sons (Charles Allis and William Allis) and the other principals, the firm continued to prosper, and by it had grown to become one of America's largest steam engine builders.
Thomas Chalmers was a Scottish immigrant to America who came to the U.S. about By he was at Chicago, Illinois and had found work with P.W. Gates, whose foundry and blacksmithing shops produced plows, wagons, and flour-milling equipment. The Gates firm "built the first steam-operated sawmill in the country at a time when Chicago was the leading producer of milled lumber in the country." In , Thomas Chalmers founded the Fraser & Chalmers firm to manufacture mining machinery, boilers, and pumps. By steam engines were part of the product line and by , the firm had become one of the world's largest manufacturers of mining equipment. Thomas Chalmers's son, William James Chalmers, was president of the company from circa to Meanwhile, the Gates Iron Works, with Chalmers family involvement, had become a manufacturer of crushers, pulverizers, and other rock and cement milling equipment.
Another Scottish immigrant family, the Dickson family, came to Canada and the U.S. in the s. By , they had organized a small machine shop and foundry (Dickson & Company) in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In Thomas Dickson became its president, and in the firm incorporated as the Dickson Manufacturing Company. By they were building boilers, steam engines, locomotives, internal combustion engines, blowers, and air compressors.
By the principals of the Edward P. Allis, Fraser & Chalmers, and Gates firms had decided to merge their companies. Edwin Reynolds believed Allis could control the industrial engine business. In May the Allis-Chalmers Company was formed. It acquired Dickson's industrial engine business. Dickson's locomotive business was rolled into the new locomotive consolidation, the American Locomotive Company (ALCO).
The managing director of the new company was Charles Allis, his brother William was chairman of the board, and William J. Chalmers was deputy managing director. Shortly after the merger was completed, a new factory was built in an area west of Milwaukee that was then known as North Greenfield. In , with this new factory, the locale was renamed West Allis, Wisconsin.
With the combining of the constituent firms, Allis-Chalmers offered a wide array of pyrometallurgic equipment, such as blast furnaces and converters for roasting, smelting, and refining;ore milling equipment, various kinds of crushers and pulverizers, including stamp mills, roller mills, ball mills, conical mills, rod mills, and jigging mills; cyanidation mills and other concentration mills; hoisting engines; cars, including skip cars, slag cars, and general mine cars; briquetting plants; and the pumps, tanks, boilers, compressors, hydraulic accumulators, pipes, valves, sieves, and conveyors needed within these products. Like other firms that build capital equipment for industrial corporations, it also supplied consulting, erecting, and training services, such as helping a mining company to design a plant, to build its buildings and set up its machinery, and to teach the employees how to use and maintain it.
In , Allis-Chalmers acquired the Bullock Electric Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, which added steam turbines to Allis-Chalmers's powerplant equipment business line.
By , the Allis-Chalmers Company was in financial trouble, so it was reorganized. It was renamed the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, and Otto Falk, a former Brigadier General of the Wisconsin National Guard, was appointed to turn it around. Falk pushed for new products and new or expanded markets. Falk saw great growth potential in the mechanization of agriculture, which at the time was blossoming all over America. Allis-Chalmers's first farm tractors, the , the Model , and the Model , were developed and marketed between and , and the farm implement line was expanded.
As had also been true of the – period, the Roaring Twenties were a favorable time for consolidation and even conglomeration throughout the business world. It was also a time of strongly continuing mechanization on North American farms. At Allis-Chalmers, the s brought yet more tractors, such as the , the , the , and the United tractor/Model U.
Famed inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla spent the period working in Milwaukee for Allis-Chalmers.
In Falk hired Harry Merritt, who would be a senior executive in Allis-Chalmers's tractor business for many years. Merritt had worked in the sales and marketing of various brands of farm and construction equipment, most recently Holt, when Falk hired him away. Buescher, who worked under Merritt, credited Merritt with turning around Allis-Chalmers's ailing farm equipment business and transforming it into the main profit center for the parent corporation. He said, "Some say that General Falk pulled Harry Merritt into Milwaukee to liquidate the ailing tractor division. Others say that he was brought in to breathe new life into the moribund and unprofitable operation. Even if the first appraisal is correct, the second proved to be the way it turned out. […] After Merritt's arrival, the profit picture changed. The farm equipment business proved to be a financial lifesaver for the corporation. […] From next to nothing in , Merritt saw the percentage of farm equipment business go to just short of sixty percent of corporate sales."
Also in , Allis-Chalmers acquired Nordyke Marmon & Company of Indianapolis, Indiana, a maker of flour-milling equipment. In , it acquired the Pittsburgh Transformer Company, a maker of electrical transformers.
In , Allis-Chalmers acquired the Monarch Tractor Company of Springfield, Illinois, thus adding a line of crawler tractors. In , it acquired the La Crosse Plow Works of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The La Crosse Plow Works had a good-quality plow and various desirable implements, which now expanded the Allis-Chalmers implement line. Also in , Harry Merritt was in California when the bright orange California poppy blossoms inspired him to think about the use of bright colors in marketing. Brightly colored things that can be seen from far away had potential in farm equipment marketing. He soon changed the paint color of Allis-Chalmers's tractors to Persian Orange, the available paint color that he felt most closely resembled the California poppy's color. Thus began the tradition of orange Allis-Chalmers tractors. Various competitors would follow suit over the next decade, as International Harvester switched to all-red (), Minneapolis-Moline switched to Prairie Gold (late s), and Case switched to Flambeau Red (late s). John Deere already had a distinctive color scheme with its bright green and yellow.
In , Henry Ford canceled U.S. production of the Fordson tractor. This disrupted the business of many firms: farm equipment dealers who sold Fordsons and aftermarket equipment builders whose attachments were designed to mount on Fordsons (for example, the Gleaner combines of the s mounted on Fordsons, and many Fordson industrial tractors used aftermarket attachments). Many of these firms formed a conglomerate in called the United Tractor & Equipment corporation. United arranged a deal with Allis-Chalmers to build a tractor to substitute for the now-missing Fordson. Around , the United conglomerate collapsed. The reasons that various authors have given have been disagreements between its investors, the onset of the Great Depression, and the fact that Ford Motor Company Ltd of England, which was continuing the Fordson line independently of the U.S. Ford company, began exporting new Fordsons to America. The United tractor became the Allis-Chalmers Model U.
The s were a pivotal decade. Despite the Great Depression, Allis-Chalmers succeeded as demand for its machinery continued.
In , it acquired Advance-Rumely of La Porte, Indiana, mostly because Merritt wanted the company's network of 24 branch houses and about 2, dealers, which would greatly increase Allis-Chalmers's marketing and sales power in the farm equipment business. Also in , the corporation's electrical equipment business expanded via acquisition when Brown, Boveri & Cie, in a financial pinch because of the Depression, sold its U.S. electrical operations to Allis-Chalmers. After Allis-Chalmers was the licensee for U.S. sales of European products of Brown, Boveri & Cie.
In , Allis-Chalmers collaborated with Firestone to introduce pneumatic rubber tires to tractors. The innovation quickly spread industry-wide, as (to many farmers' surprise) it improved tractive force and fuel economy in the range of 10% to 20%. Within only 5 years, pneumatic rubber tires had displaced cleated steel wheels across roughly half of all tractors sold industry-wide. Cleated steel remained optional equipment into the s. Also in , Allis-Chalmers acquired the Ryan Manufacturing Company, which added various grader models to its construction equipment line.
In , Allis-Chalmers introduced its Model WC, its first-generation row-crop tractor, which would become its highest-selling tractor ever. In , its lighter and more affordable second-generation row-crop, the Model B, arrived, and also became a top seller. Its All-Crop Harvester was the market leader in pull-type (tractor-drawn) combine harvesters.
In October , Allis-Chalmers was one of fourteen major electrical manufacturing companies that went to court to change the way labor unions excluded contractors and products in the building trades through the union use of the "Men and Means Clause". The action of Allis-Chalmers and others eventually resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court decision of June 18, , that ended certain union practices that violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.
World War II caused Allis-Chalmers, like most other manufacturing companies, to become extremely busy. As happened with many firms, its civilian product lines experienced a period of being "on hold", with emphasis on parts and service to keep existing machines running, but its war materiel production was pushed to the maximum of productivity and output. In the late s through mids, Allis-Chalmers made machinery for naval ships, such as Liberty ship steam engines, steam turbines, generators, and electric motors; artillery tractors and tractors for other army use; electrical switches and controls; and other products. Allis-Chalmers was also one of many firms contracted to build equipment for the Manhattan Project. Its experience in mining and milling machinery made it a logical choice for uranium mining and processing equipment. Allis-Chalmers ranked 45th among United States corporations in the value of wartime military production contracts.
Immediately at the war's end, in –, Allis-Chalmers endured a crippling month labor strike. Buescher was convinced that the corporation never entirely recovered from the effects of this strike. This seems debatable given the various successes that Allis-Chalmers did have during the next 30 years, including prosperity in the farm equipment business in the s and s. But it certainly gave competitors a chance to grab market share.
After WWII some companies refused to sell equipment to Japanese farmers. Allis-Chalmers dealers did not hesitate to sell to these farmers so many farms to this day still have an Allis-Chalmers tractor in Oregon.
In , the Model WC was improved with various new features and became the Model WD, another top seller. The WD was a milestone for the company. It included fully independent power take off, which was powered by a two clutch system. It also included power adjust rear wheels, which became an industry standard. Production of this model continued into , with nearly , tractors produced.
The s were a time of great demand for more power in farm tractors, as well as greater capability from their hydraulic and electrical systems. It was also a decade of extensive dieselization, from railroad locomotives to farm tractors and construction equipment. In , Allis-Chalmers acquired the Buda Engine Company of Harvey, Illinois. Allis wanted Buda for its line of diesel engines, because its previous supplier, Detroit Diesel, was a division of General Motors, whose recent acquisition of the Euclid heavy equipment company now made it a competitor of Allis-Chalmers for construction equipment business. The Buda-Lanova models were re-christened the "Allis-Chalmers Diesel" engine line. Diesel engineers were busy during the following years updating and expanding the line.
In , the company acquired Laplant-Choate, which added various models of scrapers to its construction equipment line.
In , the WD was introduced, replacing the WD. The motor was increased to cubic inches, giving it 30 horsepower on the drawbar at the Nebraska Tests. This was almost double the horsepower of the WD. A new Allis chalmers designed Snap- Coupler hitch was used. It allowed the operator to hook up to an implement from the seat of the tractor. A Buda diesel-powered WD was introduced in This series stayed in production until the unveiling of the D-series in
In , the company acquired Gleaner Manufacturing Company, which was an important move for its combine harvester business. Allis was the market leader in pull-type (tractor-drawn) combines, with its All-Crop Harvester line. But acquiring Gleaner meant that it would now also be a leader in self-propelled machines, and it would own two of the leading brands in combines. The Gleaner line augmented (and later superseded) the All-Crop Harvester line, and for several years Gleaner's profits made up nearly all of Allis-Chalmers' profit. Gleaners continued to be manufactured at the same factory, in Independence, Missouri, after the acquisition.
In , the Allis-Chalmers D Series of tractors was introduced. It enjoyed great success over the next decade.
In , Allis-Chalmers acquired the French company Vendeuvre. Also in , it acquired Tractomotive Corporation of Deerfield, Illinois, which it had been partnering with as an auxiliary equipment supplier for at least a decade.
In Haycraft's history of the construction equipment business (), he expressed the view that Allis-Chalmers relied too heavily for too long on partnering with auxiliary equipment suppliers, and acquiring them, instead of investing in in-house product development. In his view, this strategy limited the company's success in this business, and it eventually had to spend the development dollars anyway. Buescher's comments about the Buda acquisition and the need for subsequent improvement of its designs seem to corroborate this view. However, the topic is multivariate and complex; elsewhere in his memoir, Buescher presents a viewpoint in which investing in research and product development is an expensive move that often does not pay off for the innovator and mostly benefits competitor clones.
s and s
In , the U.S. government uncovered an attempt to form a cartel in the heavy electric equipment industry. It charged 13 companies, including the largest in the industry (Westinghouse, General Electric, and Allis-Chalmers), with price fixing and bid rigging. Most feigned innocence, but Allis-Chalmers pleaded guilty. Although one motive for the forming of cartels is so that amply profitable firms can try to become obscenely profitable, it did not apply in this instance, according to Buescher; rather, his view of the attempt at a heavy-electrical cartel was that it was a desperate (and foolish) attempt to turn red ink to black ink among fierce competition.
The D series continued to be successful in the s. The factory-installed turbocharger on the D19 was the first in the industry. It was soon followed by the and the XT, which was a direct competitor for the John Deere Model with 98 horsepower (factory rating).
In , Allis-Chalmers acquired Simplicity for its line of lawn and garden equipment. Also in that year, the nuclear reactor SAFARI-1, a research reactor built by Allis-Chalmers, went into operation.
In the s, the farm equipment, construction equipment, and heavy electrical industries were not as profitable for Allis-Chalmers as they had been in the s through s. Reasonable prosperity continued in the farm equipment line, but the economics of all the industries shifted toward greater uncertainty and brittler success for firms that didn't become number one or two in a field. Allis-Chalmers was often number three or four, as Deere and International Harvester led in farm machinery, Caterpillar and Case led in construction, and Westinghouse and General Electric led in heavy electric markets. In the late s, a trend of conglomeration flared, as mega-conglomerates like Ling-Temco-Vought, Gulf+Western, and White Consolidated Industries went on buying sprees. Several takeover attempts by those firms were made on Allis-Chalmers. It was during the same era and business climate that Tenneco acquired Case.
In , Allis-Chalmers built the first grate-kiln ore pellet plant at the Humboldt mine in Michigan. The company eventually built about 50 such plants.
In , Allis-Chalmers's construction equipment business was reorganized into a joint venture with Fiat SpA, which bought a 65% majority stake at the outset. The new company was called Fiat-Allis.
In May , the company closed its acre, year-old Pittsburgh North Side factory that employed close to 1, full-time and produced both distribution and instrument control transformers.
In , to compete in the recently expanding market segment of compact diesel utility tractors (such as the Kubota line and the Ford and built by Shibaura), Allis-Chalmers began importing Hinomoto tractors with Toyosha diesel engines from Japan. They were rebadged with the Allis-Chalmers brand for U.S. sales.
In , a joint venture with Siemens, Siemens-Allis, was formed, supplying electrical control equipment.
s and s
The company began to struggle in the s in a climate of rapid economic change. It was forced amid financial struggles to sell major business lines.
In , Allis-Chalmers sold Simplicity, the lawn and garden equipment division, to the division's management.
was a year of great dissolution for Allis-Chalmers—the year when it folded three of its main business lines:
- The Fiat-Allis joint venture in construction equipment, over which the firms' managements had long since had a falling-out, ended when Fiat bought out Allis's remaining minority stake. It renamed the company Fiatallis.
- The Allis-Chalmers farm equipment business line ended when Allis sold it to K-H-D (Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz, Deutz AG) of Germany, at the time the owner of Deutz-Fahr. K-H-D renamed the business as Deutz-Allis and discarded the Allis Chalmers Series tractors and Persian Orange branding in favor of spring green tractors built by White Farm Equipment with Deutz air cooled engines.
- The Siemens-Allis joint venture in electrical controls ended when Siemens bought out Allis's remaining minority stake. Siemens then blended the company into the Siemens Energy and Automation division.
In , Allis-Chalmers sold its American Air Filter filtration business (with 27 production facilities internationally and sales into plus countries) for approximately $ million to SnyderGeneral Corporation of Dallas, a leading global air quality control firm.
In , Deutz-Allis was sold to its management and became Allis-Gleaner Corporation (AGCO). Tractors began selling under the AGCO-Allis name and were again painted Persian Orange. The AGCO brand of orange tractors was produced until when AGCO announced that it was phasing out the brand.
In , what remained of the Allis-Chalmers manufacturing businesses were divested, and in January , the company officially closed its Milwaukee offices. The remaining service businesses became Allis-Chalmers Energy in Houston, Texas.
Brand reuse, to present
In August , Briggs & Stratton announced that it would sell lawn tractors under the Allis-Chalmers brand name.
- Corporate offices, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Tractor plant, West Allis, Wisconsin
- Gleaner combine plant, Independence, Missouri (site inherited from Gleaner Manufacturing Company)
- Tractor plant, La Porte, Indiana (site inherited from Advance-Rumely)
- Implement plant, La Crosse, Wisconsin (site inherited from La Crosse Plow Works)
- Tractor plant, Gadsden, Alabama
- Heavy equipment plant in Springfield, Illinois (site inherited from the Monarch Tractor Company acquisition)
- Heavy equipment plant in Deerfield, Illinois (site inherited from the Tractomotive Corporation acquisition)
- Tractor plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
- Various parts factories in Chicago
Allis-Chalmers offered a complete line of agricultural machinery, from tillage and harvesting to tractors.
Main article: List of Allis-Chalmers tractors
In , a team led by Harry Ihrig built a 15kW fuel cell tractor for Allis-Chalmers which was demonstrated across the US at state fairs. This was the first fuel-cell-powered vehicle. Potassium hydroxide served as the electrolyte. The original AC fuel cell tractor is currently on display at the Smithsonian.
The first model introduced in was called the "Roto-Baler" and the fore-runner of modern round balers, albeit with much smaller bales. The Roto-Baler was built until the s or s. Allis Chalmers also built many small square baler models.
Industrial and power house equipment
Allis Chalmers marketed a full line of Industrial and Power House equipment, including turbo generators and medium voltage switchgear. In the s through the s AC Power House and Industrial equipment was competitive with industry giants like General Electric and Westinghouse. As early as the s AC was manufacturing multi MVA hydro-electric generators and turbines, many of which remain in service today (Louisville Gas & Electric Ohio Falls units 1–8, 8MW low head turbines and Kentucky Utilities Dix Dam units 1–3, 11MVA RPM generators).
Allis Chalmers manufactured several lines of medium voltage switchgear, such as the HF and MA lines. The HF line competed with the General Electric "AM" Magneblast line of vertical-lift medium-voltage switchgear. The MA line was a competitor of the ITE "HK" line of horizontal-racking medium-voltage switchgear.
Allis-Chalmers produced a line of substation transformers, voltage regulators, and distribution transformers.
Allis Chalmers, during the period – and beyond, manufactured and marketed an extensive line of ore crushing equipment for the mining industry
In , Allis-Chalmers built "Big Allis," or Ravenswood No. 3, the biggest generator in New York. It is located in Queens, and has an output of MW. It is operational today.
Lawn and outdoor machinery
In the late s and early s AC expanded into lawn and out-door equipment.
AC made a line of 6-wheeled Amphibious ATV's called the "Terra Tiger".
Fuel cell golf carts
In , Allis-Chalmers built hydrogen fueled fuel cellgolf carts.
Allis-Chalmers Energy is a Houston-based multi-faceted oilfield services company. Allis-Chalmers provides services and equipment to oil and natural gas exploration and production companies, both domestically and internationally.
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Allis Chalmers C
|Factory:||West Allis, Wisconsin, USA|
|Original price:||$1, ( )|
|Allis Chalmers C Power|
|Drawbar (tested):|| hp |
|PTO (tested):|| hp |
|Cab:||Open operator station.|
|Transmission:||3-speed non-synchronized gear|
|Power Take-off (PTO)|
|Diameter:||8 inches |
|Width:|| inches |
|Last update:||October 30, |
|Copyright:||Copyright TractorData LLC|
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Allis Chalmers C Tractor Service Manual ()
Fits: B Tractor () | B Engine | C Tractor () | IB Tractor () | TL-6 Tractor Shovel (Tractoshovel Engine Only) | TL-B Tractor Shovel (Tractoshovel - Engine and Transmission Only). This Allis Chalmers model C Tractor Service Manual is a digitally enhanced reproduction of the original manufacturer-issued Shop Manual. This manual covers It has 60 pages of useful technical information and instruction for your Tractor. Written in the language of a mechanic, it was initially provided to the dealer's service department to provide enough detail for major repairs and complete overhauls. It illustrates how to correctly take apart your C, fix it, and reassemble it. This is a valuable guide if you are executing or planning for serious repairs or a full restoration. Even if you already own an original Service Manual that's in good shape, you will find our value-added content, such as post-publishing updates, corrections, serial number info and additional machine detail extremely useful.
Allis-Chalmers was a tractor manufacturer with a history going back to , but it entered the 50s behind the leaders, International Harvester, John Deere and Massey-Harris. Throughout the 50s and 60s, they worked to keep pace in the battle for horsepower dominance and market share.
- Model "U." The "U" was A-C's answer to the Ford's Fordson tractor and was first produced in in partnership with the United Tractor Company. It was popular enough that it stayed in the A-C line until It weighed 4, pounds and produced up to 30 HP, particularly later in its production run. The "U" also had the distinction of being the first farm tractor equipped by the manufacturer with low-pressure rubber tires.
- Model "B." For many small farmers, the Model "B" was a revolution and was in production from It was the first "modern" tractor that sold for under $ with rubber tires when a set of rubber could add $ to the price. At that time A-C's popular "WC" sold for $ The "B" helped bring an end to farming with horses particularly when comparable models were produced by other manufacturers. By the 50s, the price of a "B" had risen because of inflation, more horsepower and better options. By , the published price was $1, Over the course of its production, the "B" sold around , units, compared with the more powerful "WC" that sold , units between
- Model "G." The "B" was not A-C's smallest tractor. In , a strange-looking machine dubbed the "G" was introduced with just over nine horsepower. It was unique because the four-cylinder engine was mounted in the back and a curved tubular frame allowed for implements to mounted in front of the operator. Because it allowed the operator to closely watch where the cultivator or fertilizer was going gave the "G" unmatched precision for planting, seeding, and cultivation of vegetables, seedlings and berries. About 30, units were sold between
- The "WD." When the "WC" ended production in , the "WD" succeeded it. The new model looked like its predecessor, but there were so many new features and improvements on the "WD" that the sales force had to learn a whole new set of terms for the tractor. Two-clutch power control, single hitch-point implements, traction-booster, and power-shift wheels were all new features. The two-clutch feature allowed the operator to stop the drive wheels while power continued to the PTO (power take off) operating implements like combines and balers. The power shift rear wheels allowed the "WD" to move its rear wheels away from or closer to the tractor for different row widths without jacking the tractor up off the ground. Power shift worked by engaging spiral rails on the axel and was a big hit with farmers. The "WD's" horsepower allowed it to pull three plows. Over its six years of production, the "WD" sold over , units.
- The "WD" By , John Deere and IH were coming out with tractors that had over 40 horsepower, and Allis-Chalmers had to respond. So, they introduced the "WD45" with HP on the drawbar. The increase in power took it into the four-plow class, and the tractor sold well. The new "Snap-Coupler" hitch system allowed the farmer to back up over an implement until a tongue snapped into the hitch, something the three-point hitch couldn't do for several years. The WD45 was also the first A-C tractor to offer a diesel engine and power steering. Between , Allis sold over 90, "WD45s" 83, with gas engines and 6, with diesel engines. That was half again more than the comparable John Deere Model "60" that sold 61, tractors between ' However, the WD45 was Allis-Chalmers' highest-powered tractor at 39 HP by the end of its production. In that same time, IH offered the "" with 48 HP and John Deere topped out with the Model "80" at 62 HP.
- The "CA." By , the venerable Model "B" was nearing the end of its production run, and competitors were offering more modern tractors in the 20 HP range like the John Deere "M" and the IH "Super C." So, A-C introduced the Model "CA" with 20 HP in It had the power shift wheels and two-clutch system of the "WD" and a four-speed transmission.
- The first "D" series. In , the "D14" and the "D17" introduced more power, larger diesel engines, new styling and a better ride for the operator to the A-C line. The "D14" had 30 HP and was produced until The "D17" went through four different "Series" upgrades between and '67 and produced HP. Both models featured a new position for the operator that was in front of the rear wheels. This was important because it reduced the "catapult" effect if the drivers seat is behind the rear wheels, any big bump gets multiplied and will catapult the driver high into the air. By the early 60s, there were over 50 different configurations of "D-Series" tractors available, including various engine styles, orchard models with fairings to protect the trees, high clearance models and various fuel options.
- Models "D10" & "D" In , the lower end of the lineup was filled by the "D10" and "D12" both with 24 HP. The only difference between the two models was the width that the tires were set apart. The D12 could cultivate wider rows. The models were successful and went through three series updates. By the end of production in , the tractors were producing 30 HP. But by the late 60s, customers were demanding diesel engines, and Allis-Chalmers could not produce one at this price point.
- The "D" In , the "D15" replaced the "D14" in the HP range. The tractor had a larger four-cylinder engine that produced about 18 percent more power. By this time, the industry and their customers had pretty much settled on the three-point hitch as the standard for coupling implements. So, Allis-Chalmers began manufacturing three-point as well as their on-point Snap-Coupler implements. The "D15" was the first in the line to have the three-point system.
- The "D" By , other manufacturers were offering higher horsepower than A-C with 50, 60 and even 70 HP models common. John Deere even had their experimental HP Model out. So, Allis-Chalmers responded by introducing the Model "D19" with 58 HP. They achieved the extra power by adding a turbo charger system to their diesel engine the first model with a factory-installed turbo charger as standard equipment. By the end of its run in , the tractor was producing 64 HP.
- The "D21" was the first A-C model to break the HP barrier with horses on the PTO and 93 on the drawbar. That was enough power to pull a seven-bottom plow allowing the tractor to ride on level ground instead of having to put one set of wheels in the previous furrow. It boasted a number of firsts. First A-C model with a direct-injection diesel engine. First with independent power take-off. First with hydrostatic power steering and a tilt steering wheel and instrument panel. All new power train and transmission. The "D21" was produced between and '65 when it was replaced by the "D21 Series II" with HP on the drawbar. The extra power came from a turbo charge system added to the existing engine.
- The "Hundred Series." In , Allis-Chalmers began selling what would become their new model line with the "One-Ninety." For some reason, the model numbers were always spelled out until What distinguished the line was high horsepower, new squared-off styling and refinements in operation, transmission and the implement hitch system. The Traction Booster Drawbar would transfer weight from implement to the rear wheels under increased load and would allow the tractor wheels to "dig in" and produce better traction. The "One-Ninety" was also the first A-C tractor to offer factory air conditions in
The "One-Ninety" gasoline version was produced from to '68 and produced 63 HP. The diesel version of the model continued until In , the "One-Ninety XT" tractor was introduced with gasoline, diesel and LP (liquefied petroleum gas) engines. The "XT" models produced between 72 and 80 HP depending on engine type. In , the series was rounded out with the introduction of the "One-Seventy" with 47 HP and the "One-Eighty" with around 55 HP.
- The "Two-Twenty Landhandler." By , changes in agricultural technology and best practices had called into question the premise that more horsepower was always best. Conservation tillage techniques had reduced the number of farmers using large plow units. Large combine harvesters were now self-propelled rather than pulled by a tractor. And many of the remaining farm tasks did not require a lot of power. So, Allis-Chalmers and other manufacturers emphasized efficiency the ability to pull the same implement faster rather than larger and larger implements. The Model "Two-Twenty Landhandler" had the same horsepower as the "D21 Series II" that it replaced, but it had a beefed up transmission and heavier rear end to handle heavier pulls.
By , Allis-Chalmers Persian Orange machines were well respected and the company was poised to take advantage of the booming market for machinery during the decade. But they would not survive the recession of the s.
Written by Bill Ganzel, the Ganzel Group. First published in A partial bibliography of sources is here.
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