MID MICHIGAN OLD GAS TRACTOR ASSOCIATION
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FEATURE ARTICLE LAST UPDATED
JANUARY 15, 2017


The contents of the “Feature Article” page are provided to you for your entertainment, amusement, and perhaps information. Here you may find articles of interest, pictures, historical information on the Club, or whatever shuffles to the top of the pile on our desk.  Thank you for visiting, and please stop by again. 

JANUARY 15, 2017


HE MADE ALLIS CHALMERS ORANGE

WRITTEN BY AND REPRINTED WITH THE PERMISSION OF

CHUCK FOLAND



He made Allis Chalmers Orange

Hired in 1926 by the big company to liquidate the company's floundering tractor division Harry had no intention of giving in so easily. one of the first things he had done was to have a Model 20-35 taken apart and have a group of his ppl go over it to make it use less parts and be built more efficiently. This allowed for a $700 drop in the price of this tractor and sales shot up giving the company executives pause for the tractor division was now making money!

But Harry wasnt done by a long shot. All the tractors began to be redesigned. New models began appearing in a flashy bright color Harry had seen on of all things, a flower! HE had the paint department copy the color of the flower and to this day the tractors are known for this color, Persian Orange.

In 1931 the company bought out a major player in the tractor world and acquired a nationwide organized set of dealerships along with a major line of Threshers and farm equipment to go with their brightly colored tractor.

1932 Harry had the company have the first tractors to have inflated rubber tires as standard equipment working with Firestone and in 1933 they came out with a Row Crop tractor that for the next 25 years would be the biggest and most powerful tractor they would have in three variations over that period of time. It was their flagship tractor over that period of time.

But, Harry wasnt done, the company was now #4 but he wanted more. In 1938 he stunned the tractor world with a small tractor that weighed less than 2000 pounds, cost $495 and was aimed at the majority of farms, the small 40 acre farms. Not only was the tractor revolutionary but it came out with one of the first styled body styles in the industry. The race was on and the company rose to #3 with the new looking tractors and new models coming out over the next year.

Retiring in 1940 due to ill health Harry had taken a $250,000 division and built it into a $60 million a year competitor and major player in the tractor market. Through the years Harry's decisions had all been the correct ones and the company, Allis Chalmers had grown in leaps and bounds.

However, the only one choice Harry Merritt did not make correctly, and he was not alone in rejecting the proposition, was the three point hitch by Harry Ferguson. Merritt, who usually could spot a opportunity a mile away passed on the chance to make Allis Chalmers the first company to use the three point hitch in the USA. If this had been put on the Model B in 1938 Allis Chalmers might have been the tractor company to beat in the end.

But, looking back on the career of Harry Merritt, the man who was hired to close down a tractor division, one has to smile, for instead of closing it down he led it to #3 and made it one of the more innovative companies in the tractor world during his time at the head of the company and made it famous for its bright orange tractors.

Picture below I found on the net after years of searching. From Farmcollector.com site and the picture is from Sam Moore




HENRY MERRITT








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