Rock Island Tractors

1927 - 1936

Faced with a steep decline in sales, souring opinions and out of date, obsolete designs; The Rock Island Plow Company made the sharpest shift in their tractor program since acquiring Heider in 1916 with the release of the Rock Island 18-35 and the Rock Island 15-25 in 1927. These were shortly thereafter renamed the Rock Island 18-35 F and the Rock Island 15-25 G. The Heider name may have briefly been used, but was already being phased out with the last of the Heider Dís.† Very early 1927 models were still painted in Heider green, but by mid to late 1927 the standard gray and red was adopted. .

In all but a couple of rare cases, the Rock Island tractor was painted medium dark grey with red wheels and radiator only with gold and red badging. Many Rock Island restorations tend to use much lighter shades of grey and excessive amounts of red than the original, though there is a good bit of debate on just how dark they should be.

Certainly far less common then some companies, Rock Islands are, for the most part, not exactly as rare as many of their owners make them out to be. While an infrequent show tractor, there seem to be a surprising number floating around in barns and sheds; though most fall within a two models (G2 and F/FA). What many people donít realize is just how large the Rock Island Plow Company was during the 1920ís. While its influence and market share waned rapidly in the later years; the company was by no means a small, fly by night shop. Rock Island tractors however, suffered from their absorption into Case, virtually disappearing from sight overnight, nor did they posses any unique designs to inspire collectors aside from fond recollection by those who had used them.†

The 18-35 F was the first of the modern Rock Islands, with a lower geared FA variant offered in 1929.

F & FA 18-35


1927 - 1928

The predecessor to the G2, the G featured a modern transmission and an engine left over from the Heider line.

G 15-25

1929 - 1932

A lightweight version of the F and successor to the G using a Waukesha CS4 engine.†

G2 15-25

1933 & 1934

H3 & H4† 15-25


The last evolution of the smaller Rock Island featuring the overhead VIK and VIL engines.

H5 15-25

The successor to the G2 featuring an updated Waukesha CSV engine, The H3 and H4 are identical.

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In 1934? RI produced four sizes of stationary power units.

Stationary Power Units


The last evolution of the smaller Rock Island featuring the overhead VIK and VIL engines and its big brother the H22.

H22 22-40



The prototype No. 1 would have brought Rock Island into the row crop tractor age; instead, it was scrapped.

No. 1


The Canadian Special F with a beefier Waukesha DSR for the Canadian market.

Canadian Special F 22-44

L to R: 1935 H5, 1928 G, 1927 F, 1934 H4 at Geneseo AE&TA Working Farm show 2012


The 18-35 F was the first of the modern Rock Islands, Early 1937 Fís had some unique features

F 18-35