Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki
Rock Island Plow Co.
(formerly Buford & Tate)
Successor J.I. Case Co.
Founded 1855
Defunct 1935
Headquarters Rock Island, Illinois, USA
Products agriculture machinery tractor

A Heider Model C tractor at the 4th Newby Hall Vintage Gathering 2009

A rare in the UK Rock Island Model FA 18-35 at the Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show 2008

The Rock Island Plow Co. was founded in Rock Island, Illinois in the USA, in 1855 as Buford & Tate (former partner and friend of John Deere). In 1884 The company was reorginized into the Rock Island Plow Co. one of the largest implement companies of the day. Rock Island never produced steam engines or their own gas engine line, although in 1911, they started to market other company's gas engines under their own name. In 1914 Rock Island partnered with the Heider Manufacturing Co. of Carroll, Iowa, USA. After two years they bought Heider out, but continued using the name on the tractor line till the late 1920s.

Heider History

The Heider Brothers had entered into the tractor business in 1911 with their Heider Model A, which was quickly replaced by the Heider Model B. In 1914 with a new model (the Heider Model C 10-20, later upped to 12-20) nearing release, the Heiders were looking for a partner to help expand. After the 1916 buyout by Rock Island, the Heider Company returned to their original wagon business until the 1980's when the company was sold out.

The Heider tractors had a Waukesha 4-cylinder engine and a friction clutch drive arrangement that offered 7 speeds forward and reverse. A motor cultivator in 1 & 2 row models and a smaller 9-16 version were also produced. From 1927 on a new range was built under the Rock Island name based on a standard transmission design and 4-cylinder Waukesha in the 15-25 range and a 4-cylinder Buda for the larger 18-36 F series. The new models had a superficial resemblance to International Harvester tractors of the same period (see photo above). The F and FA 18-36 remained in production from 1927 until 1935, but the 15-25 range saw numerous revisions with the 1929-1932 model G-2 being the most popular tractor of the Rock Island line. Later 15-25 models retained the 15-25 rating but had substantially larger engines. In 1937 the J.I. Case Co. purchased the Rock Island Plow Co. after tractor production had effectively ceased in 1935.

Model range

  • Heider Model A
  • Heider Model B
  • Heider Model C - 12-20 hp
  • Heider Model D - 9-16 hp
  • Heider Model M1 & M2 - 5-10 hp 2 & 1 row motor cultivators
  • Rock Island Model F - 18-35 hp
  • Rock Island Model FA - 18-35 hp
  • Rock Island Model G - 15-25 hp
  • Rock Island Model G-2 - 15-25 hp
  • Rock Island Model H3 - 15-25 hp
  • Rock Island Model H4 - 15-25 hp
  • Rock Island Model H5 - 15-25 hp


A few examples exist in the USA, but they are very rare in the UK.

See also

Collector related

References / sources

External links