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Tractor Parts: Oliver

A Brief History About OLIVER

Charles W Hart and Charles H Parr met at the University of Wisconsin while working on their Special Honors Thesis, presented in 1896, created their first engine.  After graduation, the Hart-Parr Company was organized in June 1901 in Iowa.  They built their first tractor, the "Hart-Parr No. 1" in 1902.

James Oliver, born in Scotland, immigrated with his family to Garden Castle, NY in 1834 at age eleven.  The family moved west to Indiana.  His schooling ended in 1837 after the death of his father.  He eventually went to work in the iron molding trade.  In 1855, while in South Bend, Indiana on business, Oliver met a met a man who wanted to sell a quarter interest in his foundry for the inventory value ($88.96).  Oliver happened to have $100 in his pocket at the time, and thus became an owner in the cast iron plow business.  With farming experience James Oliver made the chilled plow a practical success. 


On July 22, 1868 the South Bend Iron Works was incorporated to manufacture the Oliver Chilled Plow, and in 1870 the famous Oliver logo was designed.  James Oliver died in 1908 and Joseph D Oliver became head of the company.  It was under his lead the company merged with Hart-Parr, Nichols & Shepard, and American Seeding Machine Co., to form the Oliver Farm Equipment Company.  Just a few years later shortening its name to Oliver Corporation. 


The Oliver Corporation produced highly popular tractors until 1960.  On November 1, 1960 White Motor Corporation acquired Oliver Corporation.  White also acquired Cockshutt Farm Equipment of Canada in February 1962.  (In 1928 Cockshutt had marketed tractors made by Hart-Parr, and from 1934 through late 1940's had marketed tractors made by Oliver, only changing the paint color red, and changing the name tags to Cockshutt).   


In 1969, White Motor Corporation formed White Farm Equipment Company and gradually began transitioning to the White name.  The Oliver 2255 (also known as White 2255) was the last purely "Oliver" tractor (1976).  In 1985, White Farm Equipment Company was placed in involuntary bankruptcy.  It divested its agricultural assets and Allied Products Corporation, which eventually became known as AGCO, acquired the tractor line. 
 
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