Sulky and Gang Plows pre 1900

This page covers the sulky and gang plows of B.D. Buford & Co and the Rock Island Plow Co until 1900. Although I have tried to give some idea of the date ranges, these should only be considered rough estimates in most cases, especially for the discontinuance of the lines. In rare cases, I have some advertising or mention in trade magazines to point to an introduction date, but this is a rarity; so mostly I have to rely on appearance in advertising, particularly the pocket guides issued all through the 1880s-early 1900’s. As new literature comes available, my hope is to narrow some of these date ranges and model questions down further.

 

Browne Sulky /  Browne Gang  (later called Buford)
~1876-~1885
The Browne Sulky & Browne Gang models were likely introduced sometime around 1876 or 1877, by 1878 B.D. Buford & Co were advertising improvements to the design over the previous years versions. The Browne sulky was advertised heavily as the flagship plow for the company and references can be found from various entries into a number of contests.  There is some confusion about cast iron artifacts with the Browne name due to Morrison Mfg also having a Browne Sulky that used the same cast seats with the additions of their name. I address this HERE in a discussion on William Jerome Browne and his possible connection to both companies, but feel many of the Browne artifacts are in fact B.D. Buford products. The 1878 Missouri Trials shows an illustration with a Browne Sulky seat. A Morrison Mfg “Morrison” competed against it in the trial.  The Buford Gang is advertised in the 1881 atlas, however, it appears this is the gang version of the Buford and not a separate model. There is no separate mention of the Buford besides the one image until later years. In the 1900 parts book, no mention is made of the Browne, however the images of it are now listed under Buford Sulky & Gang, likely renamed after William Jerome Browne‘s departure to Morrison.  

 

 

Buford Landside Sulky ~1885-1895
The Buford Landside Sulky was the old Browne Sulky with a tail wheel landside added to help reduce draft. Although this reduced the wear on the horses, it was not an optimum fix and was soon replaced by the new Eli gangs and sulkies. The Buford name had replaced the Browne name after it appears William Browne left Rock Island and the company reincorporated into the Rock Island Plow Company. The Buford remained in trade listings into the 1900’s but the last reference in advertising I can find is 1894.

 

 

 

New Model Walking Sulkies and Gangs
1885? – ?
The Rock Island series sulkies and gangs are somewhat troublesome to pin down as they initially appeared as the “New Model” wheeled walking plows and by 1900 had become a riding plow. In trade magazines, they were usually referred to as the “Rock Island” to further complicate, a second series called the “New Rock Island” was also built, and while it shares some characteristics of the original series it also had a lot of differences. The New Model also came in a quadruple bottom version, which would have been something of a rarity at the time.

Wrench: unknown

 

Eli Sulkies, Gangs and Double Gangs
1888-1902
In 1888 Rock Island debuted their answer to the Moline Plow Company’s “Flying Dutchman” 3-wheel plow.  The 3 wheel design reduced the load on the horses significantly, and the old 2-wheel models soon became known as horse killers.  The Eli came in many variants from a 1-bottom sulky to a 4 bottom double gang plow which would have been a rarity at the time and does not appear to have been offered again until the teens. A  walking version was also offered. By 1892, the Eli was replaced in advertising by the “Simple Simon” as Rock Islands flagship plow, but would still be listed in trade magazines into the 1900’s.  Today, the Eli cast iron seats are prized by collectors, but despite the advertising as a flagship product, it is a mystery as to what wrench would have accompanied it. The 1900 parts list does not picture it, and it is only listed as “wrench”. Like other models, an extensive variety of moldbourd sizes and designs were offered for any soil and need. 

Wrench: unknown

 

Rock Island Sulkies and Gangs
1892 – ?
The Rock Island series sulkies and gangs are somewhat troublesome to pin down as they initially appeared as wheeled walking plows and by 1895 had become a riding plow. to further complicate, a second series called the “New Rock Island” was also built, and while it shares some characteristics of the original series it also had a lot of differences. Like other models, an extensive variety of moldbourd sizes and designs were offered for any soil and need. 

Wrench: S234 3-opening, S329 1-opening

 

Simple Simon Sulkies and Gangs
1892-1898?
In 1892 the “Simple Simon” entered Rock Islands lineup as the flagship line. Based around a simplified design, Rock Island advertised it could be sold cheaper than other plows on the market due to its simplified construction. Nothing else was promised beyond it would do the job cheaply. Like other models, an extensive variety of moldbourd sizes and designs were offered for any soil and need.

 

Wrench: S234 3-opening  

 

Red Pirate Gang
1896-1897?
The Red Pirate gang design appears to have derived from the Eli, but almost no parts on it were shared by the Eli. The Red Pirate did not appear in advertising I have so far found, but was listed in the 1900 parts book using the numbered wrench series placing it as a successor to the Eli. 

 Wrench: S234 3-opening

 

New Rock Island Sulkies and Gangs
1898 – ?
In 1898 the “Rock Island” series was replaced by a second series called the “New Rock Island” was also built starting in 1898, which moved all the levers to one side and made a few other refinements. Like other models, an extensive variety of moldbourd sizes and designs were offered for any soil and need. 

Wrench: S234 3-opening, S329 1-opening 

 

America Sulkies and Gangs
1898-19??
The America was introduced sometime around 1898 as part of the new Rock Island Plow Co Red, White & Blue series and was heavily advertised in 1899-1901. The America came in the standard sulky and gang offerings, but also offered a left hand sulky version. Like other models, an extensive variety of moldbourd sizes and designs were offered for any soil and need. A special variant, the America “High Lift” was also offered.

Wrench: S234 3 or 4 opening, S329 1 or 2 opening

 

America “High-Lift” Sulkies and gangs
1898-19??
The America High Lift was introduced at the same time as the regular America line, however this variant was designed to allow a higher clearance when the plow was raised. Although some parts were shared with the standard America, a number were special for this model. The 1900 parts only lists a sulky version, but advertising shows a gang version as well.

Wrench: S234 3 or 4 opening, S329 1 or 2 opening

 

Columbia Hand Lift Sulkies and Gangs
1899-19??
The Columbia does not appear in the 1900 parts list, but it does appear in the 1899 pocket brochure so I have placed it in the pre 1900 section. The Columbia was the second model in the Red, White & Blue series and was offered in two distinct models, the hand lift and the foot lift. 

 Wrench: S234 3 or 4 opening, S329 1 or 2 opening

 

Columbia Foot Lift Sulkies and Gangs
1899-19??
The Columbia does not appear in the 1900 parts list, but it does appear in the 1899 pocket brochure so I have placed it in the pre 1900 section. The Columbia was the second model in the Red, White & Blue series and was offered in two distinct models, the hand lift and the foot lift. 

  Wrench: S234 3 or 4 opening, S329 1 or 2 opening

 

Texas Special Sulkies and Gangs
1899-1911
The Texas Special series was actually a variant of the “Rock Island” model gangs and sulkies and used the same parts plates with only a few special parts. In 1911 the design was updated to the Texas TBX sulky. The Texas Special does not appear in the 1900 parts list, but it does appear in the 1899 pocket brochure.
 Wrench: S234 3 or 4 opening, S329 1 or 2 opening

 

High-Low (HiLo) Sulkies and Gangs
1899-1895
The High Low appears in product listings for Rock Island in 1899, but was not shown in advertising or appeared in the 1900 parts list. Around 1903, the name was changed from High-Low to HiLo. Although not advertised heavily, the HiLo was given its own fob.

Wrench: S234 3 or 4 opening, S329 1 or 2 opening