Copy write 2011, 2012, 2013 not for republication or sale without express written consent. All images are the property of their respective owners and are not to be reused without their express permission.
Above left: Various postcards and advertising showed the Rock Island Plow Co. as it developed. This dates from a circa 1910 catalog, but the same photo is also seen on a postcard dated 1908.
Above Right: an expansion added in 1911 shown in this photo as having just been laid.
Below: A view from 1911 from the river.
Below Rock Island Plow Co. early 1920’s
The Rock Island Plow Co.
Founded in 1855 as Buford & Tate, The Rock Island Plow Company (RIPC) was one of the many companies including Farmall, Moline and John Deere that made the Quad Cities area the hub of ag innovation and production at the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th century. Many of these early innovators worked for more then one of these local companies and their history’s are intertwined. The history of the early years of the Rock Island Plow Co. are especially entwined with John Deere, and the serious student of Deere’s life and early company will find many interesting details here I think. Many famous people from the Rock Island area were involved in the company, and many names may be familiar. When the company was sold in 1937 by the Weyerhaeuser's to J.I. Case, it closed an important chapter in the history of agriculture and the Rock Island area. Contrary to occasional commentary, there was no connection with the Rock Island Lines Railroad, although RIPC did use the “Rock Island Line” in occasional advertising.
This page is dedicated to the history and products of Buford & Tate, The Rock Island Plow Co. and Heider Tractor Co. In addition, the company also used the names Rock Island Implement Co, The Northern Implement Co in Minnesota and Southern Plow Company in Texas (although there was another company in Dallas also using the name). In it, you will find information on these companies and their products, their history and their connections including major sections on Rock Island Tractors and Heider Tractors. There is also a compilation of print articles and some useful links. Some information may be contradictory or incomplete. Unfortunately, many of the records no longer exist or are not attainable; and most of the people directly associated with the Rock Island Plow Co. even in its later years are no longer with us. I have also noticed a number of the printed articles and books contain some verifiable misinformation which can hopefully be addressed.
A special acknowledgement needs to be made to the following people who have helped make this possible:
Jeff J. Marshall - JacobHaishMfg.org
David Parfitt - Steel-Wheels.net
Randy Kvill - Reynolds-Alberta Museum
The staff and authors referenced so heavily for this project at Antique Power especially Pat Ertel and Heritage Eagle’s R.E.Hoffman
The Geneseo Working Farm Show will feature Lesser Known’s for 2014. I will be helping with this feature and would also like to attempt a sub feature of Rock Island and Heider. This is a very good working farm show, and everyone is welcome. If you are interested please contact me.
I am not going to ask for cash donations or anything, but I really could use help. The help I am looking for is information. IE; I need ads, brochures and manuals. If your not interesting in selling, I really appreciate scans or photographs. If your willing, I will happily pay postage both ways to scan a manual. While I have the common manuals, I lack some of the rarer ones. I especially need late model information. I am also looking desperately for ads and photo’s, again especially late model as it has proven harder to obtain. Credit will be given for any contributions.
Major update to Heider C 15-27 page
Major update to Heider E 18-35 page
changes to Waterloo Mfg page
Major change to model 70 winch tractor page
Minor change to Heider DU page
Worked on Heider and Rock Island tractor index pages
old updates (2013):
Added Rockwood Friction Transmissions page
Added Heider D 9-16 Parts list
Added 1914 Heider 10-20 C catalog
Added seperate Branch Houses page
Wagons and Buggies now online
Discs section now online
Manure Spreaders revisions
Additions and changes to manure spreaders
Planters, Listers and Drills now online
Cream Seperators now online
Jobbers section now online
Seperated RIP (company) and RIP (tractor)
Major update to RIP (tractor) Addition of photos and Vid to Canadian Special
Redid brochures for Motor cultivator section
Full overhaul of Photos
Full overhaul to ads
Photos now has full size images
Artifacts now has full size images
added brochure fro GS&M Beaver
homepage 2 year update
April 2014: One of the top questions I have had since starting this project is What is the Heider E and Heider 18-35. While I haven’t found a tractor yet, I have answered a lot of questions. So, major rewrites on 15-27, Heider E 18-35, Heider model 70 winch tractor, Waterloo and a few others to reflect that. Stilll working on other sections.
Due to a busy summer and a few computer issues, I haven’t updated much in the past year. I had actually started working on completely redoing the site, but lost all the work in a computer crash. I am back up and running, but sticking with the existing layout mostly. I am now able to widen the viewing area a bit more. This will be more scrolling in a few places for some people with smaller monitors, but it will let me have more versatility with layout.
Expect updates for the next few months. Notably, a few links need fixing for photos. Expect some extensive updates on the Heider A and B sections, a wrench section, and in general a lot of smaller updates. Also, as we get ready for the feature next year at Geneseo, I will be putting up some more work in progress stuff as we work on our ‘27 F and G2.