Oliver Tractor Information


In April, 1929, the Oliver Chilled Plow Company merged with the Hart-Parr Company, an early manufacturer of tractors, plus the American Seeding Company and Nicholas & Shepard Company, manufacturers of farm equipment, to form the Oliver Farm Equipment Company. This company went on to produce what have become highly collectible classic tractors. The last tractor bearing the Oliver name was produced in 1976.


Charles W. Hart and Charles Parr of the Hart-Parr Company are said to have coined the word "tractor" from their earlier stationary "traction engine." In 1930, the Oliver Farm Equipment Company improved on the two-cylinder Hart-Parr tractors, introducing the Oliver Model 18-28, which had four cylinders. In 1935, Oliver introduced its Model 70 tractor, which came in two basic types: the row crop tractor, designed to cultivate crops after they had sprouted and before they were harvested, had a tricycle shape with large rear wheels, high clearance, and two small front wheels. The orchard and grove model was built lower to the ground and had front wheels aligned with the rear wheels. The Oliver 70 had a six-speed transmission. Models with rubber tires could go 13 miles an hour, but tractors with steel wheels could not use the top gear. The Oliver slogan was, "It's better to buy an Oliver than wish you had." In 1937, Oliver added a Model 70 that had six cylinders.


In 1944, the Oliver Farm Equipment Company became the Oliver Corporation and bought Cletra, a manufacturer of crawler tractors in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1949, Oliver began what was to be a six-year run of its two-wheel drive Model 66 row crop tractor. The transmission had two reverse speeds to go with its six forward speeds. This was the first model of what Oliver called the Fleetwood series of tractors. The Model 66 came with either a gasoline or diesel engine.


In 1953 and 1954, Oliver engineers began work on the Oliver XO-121, an experimental tractor aimed at making tractors more efficient and useful to farmers. Useful advances from the XO-121 were added to Oliver's regular line of tractors.


The White Motor Corporation acquired the Oliver tractor company in 1960. The Oliver 2255 was the last tractor that Oliver made before the tractors took on parts and equipment made by White Motor Corporation. In 1962, White Motors acquired Cockshutt, a Canadian manufacturer of farm equipment. Cockshutt had a long history with Oliver tractors. In 1928, Cockshutt began selling Hart-Parr tractors in the Canadian market; from 1934 through the late 1940s, Cockshutt had painted Oliver tractors red sold them as Cockshutt tractors. In 1963, White Motors bought Minneapolis-Moline, a company that also made tractors. In 1969, Minneapolis-Moline lost its status as a separate division, and White began painting Minneapolis-Moline tractors in Oliver colors and the other way around.

The Last Oliver

The last purely-Oliver-built tractor was the Oliver 2255, which was introduced in 1969. It was also sold as the White 2255. When White introduced its White 4-150 Field Boss in 1974, it dropped the Oliver name. The last classic green Oliver 2255 was produced in 1976. The White Farm Equipment Company went bankrupt in 1985.

Keywords: Oliver Tractors Information, Oliver Tractors About, Oliver Tractors History

About this Author

Richard Hoyt, the author of 26 mysteries, thrillers and other novels, is a former reporter for Honolulu dailies and writer for "Newsweek" magazine. He taught nonfiction writing and journalism at the university level for 10 years. He holds a Ph.D. in American studies.