Eagle Manufacturing Company.

  Appleton, Wisconsin


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30 HP Power Unit  Four Cylinder Eagle Engines and Tractors


Some time ago I set out to search the internet for information on the Eagle Manufacturing Company.  After finding next to nothing I realized it was time for me to get off my butt and actually write something myself...

The good news is that now this is not the only  “Eagle” webpage out there.  You can go to http://my.execpc.com/40/56/shemp/ to see another webpage devoted to these unique mechanical monsters.

All in all your best source for information on Eagle is to get the excellent book; "The History of the Eagle Manufacturing Company", written by Richard Mannen.  It is available through Stemgas Publishing a publishing company that specializes in books and magazines on old iron.










Otherwise, here is what I know.  The Eagle Manufacturing Company started in business sometime in the mid to late 1800's.  They made various farm equipment up to the end of the 1800's when one of my favorite things, the internal combustion engine, was invented.  Eagle started making gas engines in the very late 1800's to very early 1900's.  






Eagle also started making tractors in the very early 1900's.  Actually, tractors were not even called tractors back then, they were called "traction engines" until somebody shortened the name to tractors in the early 1900's.  I have seen and heard quite a few early Eagle tractors running.  The early ones were two cylinder engines with 360 degree cranks.  As such, they were even firing and sounded quite smooth unlike a John Deere two cylinder tractor with its 180 degree crank and rough "putt putt putt" sound.  If you are familiar with motorcycles Eagles were parallel twins and sounded like Triumph or BSA motorcycles at idle.  A John Deere compares to a Honda 305 or 350 twin with their rough sound at idle.


During the teens and twenties Eagle fell behind the competition a little, some would say a lot.  For example, Ford came out with their Fordson tractors and  Fordson's were quite a bit better than Eagle tractors.  More modern tractors like Fordson's had a much tighter turning radius.  You can see from the picture to the right, that thing probably didn't spin around too fast at the end of a row while plowing.  On the other hand, if you go to old iron shows you may see a Eagle tractor or two like this 13-25 (means 13hp drawbar, 25 on pulley I believe) from the teens or twenties still running just fine, huge turning radius and all.






Around 1930, about 10 years to late, Eagle actually came out with a tractor that was much more modern in design.  If you saw an Eagle tractor from the 30's, like the 6A to the left, it may not even look that old to you.  The 6A was obviously a general purpose tractor, looks quite heavy, and I suspect it was able to pull a good size plow for the day.  In the early days they made their own engines but starting in 1930 with the 6A they used 6 cylinder engines made by Hercules and Waukesha.

I took this picture in September of 1999 at an old iron show in Pickett Wisconsin. 




Sometime in the 30's they also came out with the 6B.  It is obviously a row crop tractor and looks very modern as far as old tractors goes.  One time I even heard they got sued by Allis Chalmers because the 6B looked so much like a WD.  I could be wrong but I may have heard that the same guy who designed the WD may have defected Allis Chalmers and went to Eagle.

Eagle made tractors through the early 1940's but a strike and WW2 pushed them out of the tractor business.  .  I once heard that when WW2 broke out Eagle couldn't get any engines due to the war but the main reason they got pushed out of the tractor business was a strike sometime in the 40's. 


There is actually a business in the old building but it has nothing to do with the old company.  Eagle Plastics and Supply is in part of the original plant located on Winnebago and Mead street in Appleton.

Oddly enough, I think I even worked for part of the company long before I got interested in tractors and old iron.  I worked for Zwicker Eagle Knitting Mills in Appleton, and I think the companies were related.  Zwicker Eagle is now very out of business also partly due to labor troubles.


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30 HP Power Unit  Four Cylinder Eagle Engines and Tractors