|1916 Eagle F 12-22 right side view|
The Eagle Manufacturing Company of Appleton, Wisconsin
Like many companies that built tractors, Eagle Manufacturing Company was no different. They started as the Eagle Fork Company in 1881, in Appleton, Wisconsin, along the Fox River. The company would be the brain child of three men, Richard Miller who would head up the management with John Kanouse and William Polifka. In the beginning they would employ 6 people and the products they would produce were hay tools, horse powers and saw mill frames.The Eagle Fork company was growing and the owners decided they needed to incorporate so in December of 1888 they changed their name to the Eagle Manufacturing Company and became incorporated. The reason the company incorporated was so they could manufacture products plus they could buy, sell, repairing and deal in farm implements and hardware. They would also employ 11 more employees and by doing this they would be able to increase production.
As the company progressed they would see several share buy outs take place. Richard Miller decided he wanted to move on and he would sell all of his shares to the Sailberlich brothers, Edward, Frank, and Oscar in January, 1894. The Sailberlich brothers decided the company needed to go in a different direction so they began by manufacturing silage cutters and their new design would include interchangeable cutter plates and this new venture proved to be a success.
Times were changing and the brother decided to once again go in another direction. So In 1899, they would enter into what was the new rage and began experimenting with gasoline engines. They would soon outgrow their Fox River facility and decided to build a new and more modern plant so in 1904 they move to their new plant. With work progressing on their gasoline engines and production of their other products going well they would introduce a new line of silage cutter/filler and began experimenting with a gasoline tractor. They would come out with their first tractor in early 1905, it would use two of their 16 hp. engine blocks mounted on an opposed configuration crankcase. That tractor would be the only model that would use the opposed set-up. The tractor was rated at 20-32 hp, and it weighed in at 12,000 lbs. The two side shaft engines used the hit and miss governor. It had a 9.5 in. bore and 13 in. stroke. They did not build many of these models and after 1906 the model was virtually nonexistent.The Eagle Manufacturing Company was becoming a true diversified company and they were manufacturing many different products. In their 1908 sales catalog they talked about their extensive line of equipment which included their single cylinder gas engines, engine/saw combinations, silage cutter/blowers, sweep type horse-powers, power jacks, saw rigs, burr mills and grain grinders.
From 1910-1916 Eagle Manufacturing Company would come out with their 4 cylinder series. They built the 16-30 tractor, 25-45 tractor, and 40-60 tractor. The 40-60 models weighed in at 19,000 lbs., rear wheels were 72 in. in diameter. The larger tractor would sell fairly well and it was used mainly in the wheat growing areas of the US.The company was feeling growing pains in 1913, with production of their gasoline engines and the new line of tractors and the other line of new equipment they had been producing the need for more operating capital was needed.
With the production of the Model D, which was in production from 1913 to 1916, they decided to build it also in three sizes, 8-16, 12-22, and 16-30. The tractor featured a 2 cylinder headless engine with removable valve cages, both pistons would go forward at the same time this gave the tractor a very distinctive sound. They would keep this configuration with the 2 cylinder tractors till they ended this series. The grease cups would provide lubrication to the engine bearings.
|1916 Eagle F 12-22 left side view|
|1916 Eagle F 12-22|
They would produce the Model F from 1916 to 1922 and they only built two sizes, 12-22, and 16-30. The large shroud that was around the radiator on their earlier tractors was done away with. The engine on this tractor would feature an in house built governor and they would use the Madison Kipp oiler and it would provide lube to all the pistons.World War I began to put a strain on the company like so many other US manufacturing companies. So the board of directors decided that they needed to authorize an increase in capital stock. This would give them enough money to build a new facility and would allow them to take advantage of the wartime growth. Of course with new growth there would also need to bring on new personnel into the company. A decision was made in 1918, by two of the three brothers, Oscar and Frank Sailberlichs they would sell off their share of the holdings then would go on to founded the Fox River Tractor Co. in Appleton, Wisconsin. Their new tractors did not do as well as they expected, but the Fox forage harvesters did better than expected and had a long life and they went on to produce exceptional silage making equipment.
Eagle Manufacturing Company would put all their efforts into building tractors throughout the 20's and 30's. The first tractors to roll off the assembly line from 1922-1928 was the Model H, this tractor was built in four sizes the 13-25, 16-30, 20-40, and 22-45. The early “transitional” models would still use the old style flywheel governor and chain steering, then later models would use the Pickering governor and this would feature an automotive type steering.
The Model E was only built one year 1928-1929 they only made one size, the 20-35. It would feature a Madison Kipp oiler which would lubricated all regions inside the engine, the radiator would set at the conventional position, the transmission would be enclosed, and it was said that this tractor was the ultimate Eagle two cylinder tractor.These 2 cylinder tractors that the Eagle Manufacturing Company made would become famous for was the "Eagle Beat" and they ended production in 1930. The tractors were built for 17 years and had very few changes during production.
The 1930 would see a change in production with the move to a 6 cylinder tractor. Instead of building components in house they would use mostly out sourced components. This was done in a last ditch effort to keep up with the competition. The first tractor they would build using out sourced components was the Model 6A and it would feature the big Hercules 6 cylinder engine and then again in 1932 they would switch to the Waukesha engine. The Eagle tractors would go from the 2 cylinder engine, to a 6 cylinder starting with this model. One of the options available for this tractor was steel wheels or rubber. This model would be built from 1930 to 1937.
Production of the Model 6B or Universal began in 1936 and would end production in 1938 and this tractor used the Hercules 6 cylinder engine it would also come with Rubber tires as standard equipment. What made this tractor unique was that this little row crop tractor had an adjustable rear tread with a four speed transmission, and could reach speeds up to 13 mph.
But like all small companies the great depression of the 30's made it hard for many small companies, and the Eagle Manufacturing company was no exception. Like so many they were plagued by declining sales and higher operating expenses. They built a good quality 6 cylinder tractor, that could be use as a standard or row crop tractor and 1938 would see the end of production for the company.
The Model 6C or Utility tractor would be the last tractor to roll off the floors and it would shared most of the same specs the 6B had. This little tractor had a very practical design and many considered it a handy little rig. Production of the tractor started in 1937 and ended in 1938.
The company was sold in 1941 to the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company of Clintonville, Wisconsin; they would use many of the parts that Eagle had acquired throughout the years in their production, but it would still end the 50 year run that the Eagle Manufacturing Company enjoyed.