The Waterloo Boy Tractor: The Beginning of the John Deere 2 Cylinder Tractor
By Dave Cole
The Waterloo Boy Tractor: The Beginning of the John Deere Two Cylinder Tradition By: Dave Cole
Waterloo Boy Model N 1916 to 1924
Anything that can be done on the farm by horses, can be accomplished by the Waterloo Boy Tractor.
The Waterloo Boy tractors had a water cooled, two cylinder engine that burned kerosene, a cheaper fuel for farmers to purchase. The transmission was located on the left side of the engine, instead of in line or behind the engine. It had automotive type sliding gears, the Model L and R had only one forward speed, while the Model N had two. (Although bull pinion gears as an in field add on were available by special order for farmers who found the need for more speed)
The Model R Waterloo Boy Tractor
Until 1919, the Model R Waterloo Boy tractor was sold in 13 different styles, from the A to the M. Style N, which became the Model N Waterloo Boy tractor was introduced in 1917.
The Model R was much the same as the Model L, except that the R was given a 6.5 bore where the L had a 5.5 bore, both had a 7 inch stroke.
A little over 8,000 Model R's were manufactured, including those shipped overseas.
The Model N Waterloo Boy Tractor
The Model N Waterloo Boy was manufactured from 1917 thru 1924.
It was known as a 12-25 tractor because the tractor delivered 12 horsepower at the drawbar and 25 horsepower at the belt pulley, at 750 revolutions per minute.
The new and improved Model N had two forward speeds, 2 1/1 and 3 miles per hour.
Pulling a 3 bottom plow, or a 9 foot disc harrow, or 2 binders, the new Waterloo Boy Model N had two forward speeds with a 6.5 bore and 7 inch stroke engine. It delivered 16 drawbar horsepower and 25 at the belt with an engine rpm of 750.
The outer bull pinion gear on the final drive was changed to have the teeth face the inside of the drive wheel to decrease wear on the final drives and help shield them from dirt.
The Model N was an immediate success with almost 5,000 units being sold in 1918.
Waterloo Boy and Deere & Company
Noting the success of the Waterloo Boy Tractor, Deere and Company's sales manager Frank Silloway began to investigate. The philosophy of upper management was that Deere and Company could no longer just manufacture implements, it was time to move on to the business of selling tractors.
While Deere and Company had been experimenting with various tractor designs since 1912, nothing had proven itself to be a seller on the market.
After much consideration and despite the consternation of certain board members, Silloway believed the Waterloo Boy Model N was the second best tractor on the market, the first belonging to the International Harvester Company.
Sales in 1919 did hit a slump, mostly due to Henry Ford's introduction of the Fordson tractor, but the board members of Deere and Company did take an option to purchase the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company.
On March 14, 1918, an agreement was reached by the board agreeing to purchase the Waterloo company for $2,350,000.
On January 20, 1920 Deere and company were officially in the tractor business. The acquisition gave many more sales opportunities to the Waterloo Boy tractor as Deere and Company had an already established dealer network across the United States.
The new John Deere Waterloo Boy tractors were to be painted John Deere green, except for: hub caps - red, gasolene tank - red.
The Waterloo Boy decals were were still used, however the John Deere decals were placed on the front.
In March and April of 1920 the Model N had the privilege of being the first tractor tested at Nebraska under the new tractor testing law.
The tractor exceeded the advertised 12 - 25 and became also the first tractor to be certified.
The Waterloo Boy Overtime Tractors
Export of the Model R began in 1917 with tractors going to Denmark, England, France, Greece, Ireland and South Africa. Most of these exported to England were purchased by L. J. Martin, head of the Overtime Tractor Company, London.
Upon arrival these tractors received a new paint job, decals and serial number and a new name....Overtime.
In Great Britain, the Waterloo Boy tractors burned paraffin, the British equivalent of kerosene.
For a complete history of all the John Deere Two Cylinder Tractors, visit our tribute to the Johnny Poppers and also see pics of our working 2 cylinder tractors, along with a whole bunch of Cool Green & Yellow stuff