University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The University of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Berge, A. John (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 41, Number 2 (Feb. 1940)

Tyndal, Peg
And so began a great industry,   pp. 112-114

Page 113

February, 1940
periences to relate of the events leading up to
the making of the first tractor. It was dur-
ing their senior year at. -Wisconsin, says Mr.
Parr, that they built- a larger oil engine than
the small experimental ones 'they -had been
using in their earlier work, Students and, pro-
fessors in departments :other than engineer-
ing became interested.
--Thbebuys- had   o, special equipme nI-for -the
larger job and had to get along with what
they could find. 'They needed some large bear-
ings for, their double crank shaft and ar-
ranged to cast them   of babbit metal. This
they did by pouring the molten metal around
a shaft mounted in the east iron frame in
which the shaft was to run.
   While they were thus busily engaged, one
 of the professors, a popular lecturer ,in the
 physics department, came out with a visitor
 to show what the young men were doing. The
 professor, so it happened, was a handsome
 man, proud of his full black beard. He
 brought his visitor up close to Hart and Parr,
 explaining to- him what they were going tor do,
 and telling him to watch closely. When the
 boys poured the molten metal there was evi-
 dently a little. moisture around the shaft
 which caused the metal to sputter 'out in
 small, heavy drops.
   The startled visitors jumped back but not
 so fast but wrat several drops of melted
 bringing with them their idea for putting gas-
 oline power to work on the farm.
   The first Hart-Parr tractor, known then not
 as a tractor but a gasoline traction engine,
 was completed in 1902.    After it had been
 tested and the news got around that it might
 really work, Messrs. Hart and Parr received
 a visit from a farmer who lived some thirty
-niilesaaway.- ih-efarm-er-was- so--paedwilr
the machine he gave them an order for it -on
the spot, and asked that he might have it in
time for threshing.
THEN the time for delivery came both men
     suddenly realized that neither they nor the
 railroad had facilities for loading and trans-
 porting the machine and so they decided to
 deliver it overland on its own power.
   Paved highways were of course unheard of
 then and the dirt roads were none too good.
 The two inventors delegated an employee to
 drive the machine, and with their sales man-
 ager they followed a hundred yards in the
 rear. (j"Not because we were afraid it might
 explode," Mr. Parr hastens to add). The-first
 fifteen miles of travel proved uneventful. Then
 a shallow  stream  had to be crossed. The
 .bridge looked a little shaky, to Mr. Hart, but
 the -sales manager declared it would hold the
 tractor and offered to drive it over himself.
   All of a sudden, part of the bridge, tractor
ful beard.
AFTER      graduating from   the University,
    Hart and Parr settled in Madison and
established a small factory for the mauufac-
ture of gas engines. This factory is still stand-
Hart and. Parr rushed forward the
tractor on its side, half submergedr
oozing mud. Thesales managerw
on top with his cigar still between
  ",'Are you hurt?" they shouted.
  "No, but Ilost my hat," wastI
On. the left is the
frat Hart-Parr tra4
in Madison. Above
tor division of the 4
     Equipment Co
├Ży saw their
im the soft
-as standing
his teeth.
he reply.
r  - K
m  .

Go up to Top of Page