Copy write 2011-2014 not for republication or sale without express written consent. All images are the property of their respective owners and are not to be reused without their express permission. 

Above left: Various postcards and advertising showed the Rock Island Plow Co. as it developed. This dates from a circa 1910 catalog, but the same photo is also seen on a postcard dated 1908.

Above Right: an expansion added in 1911 shown in this photo as having just been laid.

Below: A view from 1911 from the river.

Below Rock Island Plow Co. early 1920’s

The Rock Island Plow Co.

Founded in 1855 as Buford & Tate, The Rock Island Plow Company (RIPC) was one of the many companies including Farmall, Moline and John Deere that made the Quad Cities area the hub of ag innovation and production at the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th century. Many of these early innovators worked for more then one of these local companies and their history’s are intertwined. The history of the early years of the Rock Island Plow Co. are especially entwined with John Deere, and the serious student of Deere’s life and early company will find many interesting details here I think. Many famous people from the Rock Island area were involved in the company, and many names may be familiar. When the company was sold in 1937 by the Weyerhaeuser's to J.I. Case, it closed an important chapter in the history of agriculture and the Rock Island area. Contrary to occasional commentary, there was no connection with the Rock Island Lines Railroad, although RIPC did use the “Rock Island Line” in occasional advertising.

This page is dedicated to the history and products of Buford & Tate, The Rock Island Plow Co. and Heider Tractor Co. In addition, the company also used the names Rock Island Implement Co, The Northern Implement Co in Minnesota and Southern Plow Company in Texas (although there was another company in Dallas also using the name). In it, you will find information on these companies and their products, their history and their connections including major sections on Rock Island Tractors and Heider Tractors. There is also a compilation of print articles and some useful links. Some information may be contradictory or incomplete. Unfortunately, many of the records no longer exist or are not attainable; and most of the people directly associated with the Rock Island Plow Co. even in its later years are no longer with us. I have also noticed a number of the printed articles and books contain some verifiable misinformation which can hopefully be addressed.

I have also added pages on some interesting locally built tractors that may not be familiar to many people on the Affiliations and Clones Page Like Velie, Dain, Root & Van Dervoort, Moline, Bolte, Cummings, Charter, Creeping Grip and Golden West.

A special acknowledgement needs to be made to the following people who have helped make this possible:

 Steve Barr

Jeff J. Marshall -

David Parfitt -

Randy Kvill - Reynolds-Alberta Museum

Rick Mannen

Kenny Bush


The staff and authors referenced so heavily for this project at Antique Power especially Pat Ertel and Heritage Eagle’s  R.E.Hoffman


Please Help!

I am not going to ask for cash donations or anything, but I really could use help. The help I am looking for is information. IE; I need ads, brochures and manuals. If your not interesting in selling, I really appreciate scans or photographs. If your willing, I will happily pay postage both ways to scan a manual. While I have the common manuals, I lack some of the rarer ones.  I especially need late model information. I am also looking desperately for ads and photo’s, again especially late model as it has proven harder to obtain.  Credit will be given for any contributions.

Split Other Local Tractors page
Added Cummings Steam mower and Bolte tractor info
Added Dain and Melvin tractors
Added Moline Plow Co/Universal tractor page
Changes to F page, mid restoration
Major changes to '27 F page, mid restoration
New photos and vid for motor cultivators
New Photos and vid for H5 minor updates to front page
old updates:
Major update to Heider C 15-27 page
Major update to Heider E 18-35 page
changes to Waterloo Mfg page
Major change to model 70 winch tractor page
Minor change to Heider DU page
Worked on Heider and Rock Island tractor index pages
Added Rockwood Friction Transmissions page
Added Heider D 9-16 Parts list
Added 1914 Heider 10-20 C catalog
Added seperate Branch Houses page
Wagons and Buggies now online
Discs section now online
Manure Spreaders revisions
Additions and changes to manure spreaders
Planters, Listers and Drills now online
Cream Seperators now online
Jobbers section now online
Seperated RIP (company) and RIP (tractor)
Major update to RIP (tractor) Addition of photos and Vid to Canadian Special
Redid brochures for Motor cultivator section
Full overhaul of Photos
Full overhaul to ads
Photos now has full size images
Artifacts now has full size images
added brochure fro GS&M Beaver
homepage 2 year update

Recent Updates

Oct 2014: Lots of little website changes, new pictures, clean up a few sections, things like that. Other local tractors is getting expanded including adding a section on the Moline Universal, Dain and a Root & Vandervoort page. Won’t be much, but these were part of the feature this year at Geneseo so the work was done. Also a lot more info on the Bolte tractor.  


Sept 2014: Show season is pretty much over, time to work on the website. Big news is I have new high quality vinyl tractor decals. These have no clear film and the F side panel badge is a proper color than the ones commonly seen. Expect a number of new website photos as we have done major restoration work on our ’27F, early G2, FA and H5.