Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The orange farm machinery company became popular in this region. Our friends from Wisconsin were talking with us and I asked about Allis, and they said the union broke them. The union negotiated a "job forever" clause and it eventually broke the company in 1985 when it sold to Deutz in Germany and then Deutz sold them to AGCO in 1990.
Allis-Chalmers' history as a manufacturer extends to the 1840's in Milwaukee. In 1914 the growing company entered into the farm equipment business. Over the years Allis-Chalmers was responsible for many innovations in farm equipment and grew to become one of the largest and most diverse manufacturers in North America. However, Allis-Chalmers became the victim of rapidly changing financial times and was eventually forced to sell the farm equipment division to K-H-Deutz AG of Germany in 1985. Duetz sold to AGCO inc. in 1990. After the dispersal of the remaining manufacturing businesses in 1988, Allis-Chalmers maintained an office in Milwaukee until January 1999.
AGCO has expanded the farm equipment business, largely in Europe and South America. In 2004 AGCO entered the Fortune 500 list of America's largest companies."
I never owned an Allis but have driven and been in charge of a few of them. They are short and stout with little wheels and powerful engines, at least the ones I used 40 years ago. They didn't make a big tractor until the famous D-21 with 426 inch engine and Persian Orange paint.
When farming got bigger in the late 60's you saw the 806 International take over followed by D-21's and 1950 Olivers. Deere only had the 4010 then 4020 which wouldn't keep pace with any of them. Deere ended up winning the whole shooting match though.
I cut up my share of All Crop pull type combines. They were left in fence rows and when steel got high in the oil embargo 70's we would sell the best parts and scrap the rest of the machine. I would have rather kept them for a museum piece but there wasn't the incentive to do it 40 years ago. Today they would be a good piece to show and display.
The union comment is appropriate today with all of the discussion on union agreements and tenure. There are two sides to every story and this one ends with the end of another great company.
Oliver's best people got hired by Deere.