Written By Larry Gay
The Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Company was formed in April 1929 by merging the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company (Twin City tractors), the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company, and the Moline Implement Company, the new name of the former Moline Plow Company. The Twin City standard-tread tractors were then identified as MM Twin City and the new company began to add row-crop tractors. The model KT was built with an arched front axle to cultivate three rows. The Universal MT was more conventional with dual front wheels. Similar, but smaller, was the Universal JT.
The 2-3 plow Minneapolis-Moline Z started a new era for MM tractors in 1937 with a styled and tapered hood, a new Prairie Gold color with red wheels and grill, and the removal of the Twin City name. It was followed in the summer and fall of 1938 by two versions of the 3-4 plow Minneapolis-Moline U. The second version was the famous UDLX Comfortractor with a steel cab, fenders over all four wheels, a front bumper, and a top speed of 40 mph.
The Minneapolis-Moline model R tractor appeared in 1939, completing the family of three sizes of row-crop and standard-tread tractors. This 2-plow tractor was unique as it could be equipped with an optional steel cab. The cab provided almost as much visibility for the operator as the open operator’s station, because it was equipped with a long glass window on each side of the fuel tank to observe the rows when working in row crops. The cab did not interfere with the front-mounted cultivator or planter. The side windows of the cab could be rolled down for ventilation. The folding-type door with windows on the rear of the cab provided access to the large operator’s platform.
The Universal version, MM’s word for a tractor with dual front wheels, was identified as the model RTU, the version with the standard-tread front axle was the RTS, and the version with the single front wheel was the RTN. The four-cylinder, 165-cubic-inch Minneapolis-Moline gasoline engine with a 3.62-inch bore and a 4.00-inch stroke produced 20.5 belt horsepower. At the rated engine speed of 1,400 rpm, the four-speed transmission provided speeds of 2.3, 3.3, 4.2, and 12.0 mph with 8-36 rear tires. The model R was built with a hand clutch, two side-by-side brake pedals on the left side of the tractor, a steering wheel offset toward the left side of the tractor, and a relatively low seat. A belt pulley and PTO were optional.
Larry Gay is the author of four tractor books published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers including Farm Tractors 1975-1995 and Farm Tractors 1995-2005. The four books may be obtained from ASABE by calling 800-695-2723.