Hart Parr #3 Tractor


After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr developed a two-cylinder gasoline engine and set up their business in Charles City, Iowa. In 1903 the firm built fifteen tractors (a term coined by Hart and Parr), and the 14,000 pound #3 is the oldest surviving internal combustion engine tractor in the United States. The two-cylinder engine has a unique hit-and-miss firing cycle that produced 30 horsepower at the belt and 18 at the drawbar.

The tractor worked on the George Mitchell farm near Charles City for twenty-three years. Realizing the historic importance of Hart-Parr #3, the Oliver Tractor Corporation (which had absorbed Hart-Parr) purchased the tractor and used it to demonstrate the quality of the firm's products. In 1960, Oliver made a gift of #3 to the Smithsonian.

When it arrived at the National Museum of American History, it was painted solid black and did not have a canopy. Despite its unauthentic appearance, it remained on exhibit for years. In 2003 the Smithsonian agreed to a restoration plan, and a team from Greenville, Illinois, composed of Oliver and Sherry Schaeffer, John W. Tichenor, Doug Strawser, and Todd Stockwell restored #3 to its original color and fabricated a new canopy. The Smithsonian's Larry Jones coordinated the work. Restoration was funded by the Hart-Parr/Oliver Collectors Association.

The restoration project was fully documented both by photographs and by a journal kept by John W. Tichenor. When #3 appeared at the I & I Antique Tractor festival in Penfield, Ill., in 2003, oral history interviews were done with members of the Mitchell family, the Hart family, and the key people who did the restoration work.

Date Made: 1903

Company Co-Owner: Hart, Charles W.Parr, Charles H.User: Mitchell, GeorgeMaker: Hart Parr Tractor CompanyWrang Tang Liniment Co.

Location: Currently on loan

Place Made: United States: Iowa, Charles City

See more items in: Work and Industry: Agriculture, Agriculture


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Oliver Corporation

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: AG.60A04Catalog Number: 60A04F001212Accession Number: 230442

Object Name: tractor

Physical Description: iron (overall material)steel (overall material)

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ab-ce9f-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_857022

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