A Showcase of Rare Classic Tractors

These tractors rate very high on the desirability lists of most every serious tractor person.

| December 2015

The Tractor Factor (Voyageur Press, 2015) is a richly illustrated book that reveals what makes a tractor collectible, showcases the rarest models, gives a history of the marque, and details specific finds. Robert N. Pripps, a leading tractor historian, covers models from the United States, the UK, Germany, Holland, France, and other countries. Pripps' expertise, paired with the stunning photography of Ralph W. Sanders and Andrew Morland, makes The Tractor Factor a book no fan of these paradigm-changing machines will want to miss. The following excerpt is from Chapter 6, “Cream of the Crops.”

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Tractor Factor.

The following are tractors that would rate very high on the desirability lists of most every serious tractor person. In some cases, there were a lot of these manufactured, but time has taken a toll on their availability. For other models, fewer than 100 are out there, and very few ever become available for purchase. The hope of acquiring any one of these usually goes beyond the luck of the hunt. You might find a collector with two who is willing to sell one, or you might have to take the least desirable option: wait for an estate sale.

1918 Waterloo Boy R

The tractor that got John Deere into the tractor business took shape back in 1915 under the auspices of the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company of Waterloo, Iowa. The name “Waterloo Boy” is thought to be both a reference to the name of the town and to the welcome “water boy,” whose job it was to carry cool, refreshing water to the thirsty members of threshing crews.

The Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company had made tractors in several styles prior to 1915 when the R was settled upon. It was produced through 1919, overlapping its successor, the N, which came out in 1917. Deere and Company bought the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in 1918. Production of the N continued through 1924, overlapping its successor, the John Deere D.

There were more than 10,000 Waterloo Boy Rs made, of which some 4,000 were sent to Britain during World War I. Imported to alleviate the food shortage resulting from the German submarine threat, these were renamed “Overtime” by their importer.

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