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Monarch Tractor Company (1916-1928) | Historical Construction Equipment Association

Name: Monarch Tractor Company (1916-1928)
Variant Name: General Tractors Inc.; Monarch Tractors Inc.; Monarch Tractor Corporation

Historical Note:

The Monarch Tractor Company was founded in Watertown, Wisconsin, in 1913 and incorporated September 6, 1916 as Monarch Tractors Inc. Shortly thereafter, the Company purchased the Dornfeld-Kunert plant at the foot of First Street in Watertown. This plant was remodeled to include an enlarged foundry with a capacity of thirty-five to forty thousand pounds per day and a modern machine and erecting shop with all necessary machine tool equipment, overhead traveling crane, and other mechanical devices.

The first work undertaken by the new Company in its plant was the building of the early models of the well known Luce Cane Harvester sugar cane harvester.

Prior to the organization of the Monarch Tractor Company, its incorporators had been working for several years on the development of a crawler type of tractor modeled somewhat after the military tanks.  This work was continued in the new company and resulted finally in the completion of the Monarch Tractor as a commercial product. During World War I, Monarch employed about 200 men and turned out six completed tractors per day.  Large numbers of these tractors were shipped to France and there took part in operations in connection with the Great War.

The first two models of crawler tractors produced were the 10-6 Lightfoot and 20-12 Neverslip. In 1919 the company added a larger 30-18 "Neverslip" model to its product range, and this was soon followed in the 1920s by several other models of heavyweight crawler with enclosed engine compartments and operator cabs.

The firm was reorganized as General Tractors Inc. in 1919, then was purchased by the Foster Machine Company of Elkhart, Indiana, in 1921. The Monarch name was restored at this time. In the early 1920s, additional products included a rotary snow plow and a stump puller.

The Watertown plant was closed in 1925, and a new company, Monarch Tractor Corporation, was founded in Springfield, Illinois, that year. Allis-Chalmers Company (Collection 54) acquired Monarch in April, 1928, to gain entry into the crawler tractor industry, and operated the plant as the Monarch Tractors Division until the name was phased out circa 1930 and the plant became the Springfield Works of Allis-Chalmers.

This company is not to be confused with the Monarch Tractor Company, a British manufacturer of compact garden tractors.

Sources: http://www.watertownhistory.org/Articles/Monarch.htm; http://www.steel-wheels.net/monarch.html; Allis-Chalmers Construction Machinery & Industrial Equipment, by Norman Swinford.
Note Author: Thomas Berry

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