Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki
Fate merger
Successor Oliver
Founded 1897
Founder(s) Charles Walter Hart and Charles H. Parr
Headquarters Charles City, Iowa, USA
Number of locations Madison, Wisconsin
Products agriculture machinery tractor

A Hart-Parr 18-36 sn 30161 on display at GDSF in 2008

The Hart-Parr company started in 1897, in Madison, Wisconsin, USA as a Gas Engine builder. They then built a tractor in 1902, thus becoming the first tractor builder (Engine Powered).


Hart-Parr Gasoline Engine Company

Charles Walter Hart was born at Charles City, Iowa in 1872. At the age of twenty, he transferred from Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[1] It was here that he met Charles H. Parr, and the two young men quickly became friends. Together they worked on their Special Honours Thesis and from that thesis they built three working internal combustion engines right there on the campus at Madison.[2] Following their graduation from the University of Wisconsin in 1897, Hart and Parr gathered $3000 in capital and formed the Hart-Parr Gasoline Engine Company.[2] Towards the end of 1899, Charles Hart paid a visit to his parents in Charles City, Iowa. He complained to his father that development funds could not be found for his tractor project. "There's money around here that might be interested," replied the elder Hart, admitting for the first time that his son's ambition was not folly. They the found another investor in Charles D. Ellis, a local attorney, who invested $50,000 in additional capital.[3]

In 1900, as the engine business expanded, Hart and Parr decided to move their company from Madison to Charles City. Hart-Parr Company was organized on June 12, 1901 at Charles City, Iowa. Ground was broken for the new factory on July 5 that year. By the following December, the Hart-Parr Company was now ready to do business, and had an authorized capitalization of $100,000.00.

Hart-Parr Number 1 was completed in 1902. Customers did not immediately beat the proverbial path. However, Hart-Parr was able to field one salesman to run demonstrations at county fairs and other events. Hart was patient. "We can't force it," he said. "We have to let it simmer into the market."

Little by little, the Hart-Parrs began to gather defenders. Some of the first tractors delivered were gaining a reputation of usefulness that far surpassed that of the steamers.

W.H. Williams, Sales Manager in 1906, decided the words "traction engine" were vague and too long to be used in press releases, so he coined the word "Tractor" instead. For this reason, and because the Charles City plant was the first to be continuously and exclusively used for tractor production, Hart-Parr has been given the title of "Founders of the Tractor Industry".[citation (source) needed]

In 1929 they merged with other several firms to form Oliver, and the name disappeared.


  • Hart-Parr 30-60 - 1906-18 2-cylinder horizontal (petrol/paraffin) engine also referred to as (Old Reliable) 4114 built[4]
  • Hart-Parr 15-30 A & C - 1918-24 (12,225 built)
  • Hart-Parr 10-20 B & C - 1921-24 (740 built)
  • Hart-Parr 22-40 - 1923-27 (2625 built)
  • Hart-Parr 16-30 E - 1924-26 (3149 built)
  • Hart-Parr 18-36 G & H - 1926-30 (14,695 built)
  • Hart-Parr 28-50 - 1927-30 (1206 built)
  • Hart-Parr 12-24 in several versions.

UK preservation

Several examples can be seen at the major shows like the Great Dorset Steam Fair and the National Tractor Show.

A lot are not original UK imports but have been imported for preservation from place were they are a) cheaper, and b) dont suffer from the tin worm (rust).

(Please list any known examples here with photos and details if possible.)

List of Preserved Hart-Parr tractors (all models)
view  talk  edit
Make + Model No. Reg No.
(if known)
Serial No. Build-Date Engine-Type/Make Owner
(if known)
Photo Were seen/Featured in Other info
Hart-Parr 12-24 - 40259 ? ? ? Hart-Parr 12-24 sn 40259 at Little Casterton 2013 - IMG 0386.jpg At Little Casterton 2013 restored example
Hart-Parr 18-36 - 30161 ? ? ? Hart-Parr 18-36 sn 30161 at GDSF 08 - IMG 0632.jpg At GDSF 2008 restored example

Please add any tractor with known reg or serial no. with Photo if possible.
Create a page (link) for an individual tractor by linking the reg or serial number using reg number or serial number in the relevant column. Then once saved click the red link to start the new page and add info on that tractor.

See also


  1. C.H. Wendel, Oliver/Hart-Parr (Motorbooks International: Osceola, Wisc., 1994) p. 54.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robert N. Pripps and Andrew Moreland, Oliver Tractors" p. 24.
  3. Pripps, pp. 24-25.
  4. Tractor Magazine price guide

External links

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Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Oliver Corporation. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia