100 Years of Moline Universal Come Celebrate!

If you love old iron like I do, it is time to get excited.  Because, this is your chance to see something never witnessed before.  This year September 13-15, 2019, at the Antique Engine and Tractor Association 58th Annual Working Farm Show, the first ever Moline Universal Tractor Reunion will take place.

Loren Book on his Universal Moline D.

A Big Birthday Party!

The Moline Universal D will be 100 years old this year! Loren Book told me that while there have been many  Minneapolis Moline shows, this is the first ever Moline Plow Company (MPCo) only show. With the show less than a year away there is lots to do to get the word out.  Loren wants anyone with a Moline Universal or implements to come to the show and display and be part of the celebration.

Significance of the Grounds

“Our Minneapolis Moline committee and the folks at the Antique Engine and Tractor Association are looking forward to the largest display of MPCo products in over 100 years,” Loren Book said.  What makes this especially impressive is that the showgrounds are only 20 miles from the former factory which was located in Rock Island, Illinois where the Universal tractors were produced.”

History I found about the Moline Plow Company stated, ” The area known as the Tri Cities in the early 1900’s played host to a number of massive farm corporations. One of these was the Moline Plow Company, at one time billed as the 5th largest implement manufacturer in the world and possessing the largest dedicated tractor manufacturing plant in the world.”  I must say, pretty darn impressive!

What will collectors see at the Moline Universal Tractor Reunion?

During the AE-TA show both the Moline Universal tractor and its implements will be featured.

I was excited to learn that Loren Book, Dan Shima, and Mike Jahn will also bring literature and memorabilia as well.  It is hard to find and rare to see Moline Plow Company items on exhibit so this will be a rare treat for collectors.

This is a working farm show, and visitors will be able to view Universal Moline tractors, plows and implements working in the field.  In fact, Loren said that visitors will even get to see a Flying Dutchman plow, one of the implements that began the Moline Company story, in action.  He was busy painting the plow in late December right before Christmas.

In an upcoming article for Farm World I covered some of the history of the Flying Dutchman.  In a brochure that Loren provided the flier had some fun statements about how the Three-wheel Sulky Plow known as the Flying Dutchman “has been flying over the country with full sales since its first general introduction in the spring of 1884”.

The flier went on the discuss that the plow was called the Flying Dutchman because of an old seas legend where, “the Phantom Ship plowed the seas against the heaviest wind, and it is a remarkable fact that where the adversaries of the Flying Dutchman Sulky Plow have done their loudest blowing against the plow which “took the wind out of their sales,” the Flying Dutchman has scored its greatest triumphs, and secured a monopoly of the sulky plow trade.”

Company History

 I love the fact that the Moline Plow Company can date itself all the way back to 1852. Henry Candee and Robert Swan began the company when they started building fanning mills in Moline, Illinois.  Over the years, they produced many items and eventually they purchased the Universal Tractor Manufacturing Company when they became interested in tractors. 

 The Universal tractor came about in 1915 and Loren said this 2-cylinder horizontal tractor was adjusted for horses.  In 1916, the company built a new factory in Rock Island to manufacture the brand new Moline Universal D.  

Show Organizers Need Your Help!

At the close of 2018, show organizers had indications that around 30 Universal Moline tractors will be at the show.  Organizers hope to have 100 in attendance along with a strong presence of implements. However, if you know anyone that owns a Universal Moline or has an implement please  spread the word.  Encourage them to bring their Moline items to the show and to contact Loren Book at 515-231-6334 or lgbook46@gmail.com.  


The 58th annual AE-TA show will be held at the clubs grounds at Joslin, IL, 10 minutes from scenic Geneseo, IL and 15 minutes from the historic Quad Cities metro area of Moline, East Moline, Rock Island, Silvis, Davenport and Bettendorf, just east of where I-80 crosses the Mississippi and just minutes from I-88.  

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  1. Larry Richie

    Outstay reading, we are making plans to be at the show