ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (WTVO) — Rock Island, Illinois was once home to the biggest tractor-exclusive factory in the entire world.
Now, almost a century later, the history of the Moline Plow Company is being recognized right here where it started.
Loren Book is part of a group of several people keeping the history of the Moline Plow Company, and the tractors they made, alive in the Quad Cities.
“This particular tractor is a Moline Plow Company Universal D Orchard tractor,” Book said. “This is one of maybe 4 that we know of that are still running. It was produced in 1920.”
This tractor, and several more like it, were built in the old Moline tractor company plant in Rock Island around 100 years ago. Book says it’s not easy keeping an almost century-old piece of machinery operating.
“Parts are very scarce,” he explained.
But it’s the history behind the machine that keeps it going.
“Well, I’m a farm boy,” Book said. “I also grew up at my dad’s Minneapolis Moline dealership. It was always a dream to have the Moline Universal.”
Book now owns five of those tractors. One of them is on display at the Rock Island County Historical Society.
But that’s just the beginning of what the display there has to offer.
Mike John also collects Moline Plow Company artifacts. The company wants people to know about the history behind the company.
“It’s wonderful because it’s history,” John said. “And it’s a history that when you share it with other people that know nothing about it, it means a lot. And, you can take a lot of pride in passing along a story that needs to be told and carried on.”
The displays will be open at the Rock Island County Historical Society, leading up to the 58th annual Working Farm Show coming up in mid-September.