Allis-Chalmers in 1922



Of the various products associated with the name of Allis-Chalmers and upon which the reputation of that company has been built, several of the principal lines of machinery owe their early development to the companies which united to form that organization. In the year 1901 the Allis-Chalmers Company was organized through a consolidation of the following four large manufacturing concerns: the Edward P. Allis Company of Milwaukee, which was recognized as the leading manufacturer of Corliss engines and one of the pioneer builders of modern flour mill and sawmill machinery, as well as of mining machinery; the Fraser & Chalmers Company of Chicago, a leading manufacturer of mining and metallurgical machinery, pumps and air compressors; the Gates Iron Works, Chicago, large manufacturers of rock crushing, cement and mining machinery; and the Dickson Manufacturing Company of Scranton, Pennsylvania, important manufacturers of Corliss engines and special machinery.

Recognizing the importance of electrical machinery, not only in relation to its other products but with a vision of the part which electricity would have in the future development of the country, the new company acquired in 1904 the Bullock Electric Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. This company had a long record of successful installations, not~ only of direct current machinery but of alternating current apparatus which was then finding an important place in electrical development. Thus began its electrical business which has brought the company to the forefront as one of the largest builders of this class of apparatus.

The development of other lines of power machinery has been one of the outstanding features of the company’s growth until today it holds the unique position of being the only organization in the world building practically all types of prime movers, steam engines. steam turbines, hydraulic turbines, gas engines and oil engines, including complete electric power units in each of these types. Its ability to turn out complete power units of very large size together with its numerous lines of industrial machinery and electrical equipment has given the ,company an unusual advantage in handling complete installations of power and industrial machinery.

Only within the past year the most powerful complete hydro-electric unit ever built was placed in operation at Niagara Falls but the company now has under construction several units of even greater capacity. Within the past few years the company began the manufacture of farm tractors on a large scale. Extensive additions to the West Allis plant, including the most modern machinery, enable it to handle this new line in which it now ranks as one of the largest manufacturers.

The part taken by the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company in assisting the United States Government in the prosecution of the World war is evidenced by the fact that during that period a large percentage of the company’s plant capacity was devoted to direct and indirect government orders and contracts. Many of the company’s regular products were of a character which readily fitted into the government’s requirements so that the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company was in a position to accept many large government orders in these lines without material changes in its equipment. facilities and personnel.

The name Allis-Chalmers, and that of one of its predecessors, the E. P. Allis Company, have been closely linked with the history of Milwaukee not only on account of the location there of its principal plants but also in the solution of several municipal engineering problems. One of the most unique of these was where the genius of Edwin Reynolds, recognized as one of the great mechanical engineers of the country, who came with the E. P. Allis Company in 1877, originated the use of the screw pump for handling exceedingly large quantities of water against low heads. The first installation of this type was made in 1888 to force water through the Milwaukee river in order to accelerate the sluggish natural current and insure the removal of the large amount of waste matter entering this river before the same became objectionable. A similar installation was later made in the Kinnickinnic river.

The first vertical triple expansion pumping engine was designed and manufactured by the E. P. Allis Company and installed in the North avenue pumping station of the Milwaukee water works in 1886. The high economy of this pumping engine shown by the official test and which was maintained in actual service attracted the attention of water works engineers all over the world, and this type of machine has been generally adopted by the larger municipalities in the extension of their water works systems.

Shortly after the consolidation of the four companies in 1901 the construction of the West Allis Works was begun, the first three units being completed and manufacturing started in 1903. Two years later three additional units were commenced and these were placed in operation in 1907. The unique arrangement of this plant attracted marked attention as it was one of the first plants constructed on the “unit” plan with definite provision for routing the work. As will be seen from the accompanying photograph, this arrangement permits all parts of a machine in the process of manufacture to move in one direction until completed and shipped, thus avoiding delays incident to parts traveling in opposite directions. Specific products are made in each of the six machine shops extending east and west and at right angles to the three long buildings, each machine shop having its proportion of pattern shop, foundry and erecting shop. From the west end of the plant patterns travel in one direction to the foundry and the finished castings through the machine shops in the direction of the erecting shop, where they are assembled, loaded and shipped out at the extreme opposite or east end of the plant.

An idea of the size of the West Allis plant is obtained from the following: Total floor area of plant, square feet, 2,452,000; total ground area, acres, 116; plant boiler horsepower, 10,700; miles of railway track, 17; reservoir for condensing water for power plant—capacity, 4,650,000 gallons; number of traveling cranes, 155; foundry day capacity (tons), 350; and heaviest casting produced (tons), 120.

Later there was added to this plant a large forge shop, nut and bolt shop. heavy plate shop, malleable iron foundry and farm tractor buildings. A large club house is maintained for the use of its employes. In addition to the plant at West Allis the company is operating the Reliance Works in the city of Milwaukee and the Bullock works at Cincinnati, Ohio, to which extensive additions have been made. The three plants have a total ground area of 146 acres and employ about 10,000 persons.

The Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, as the company has been called since 1913, maintains offices in more than thirty American cities and through its foreign offices and representatives carries on an extensive export business. The important products now manufactured by the company include the following: Electrical machinery, steam turbines, steam engines, condensers, hydraulic turbines, pumping engines, centrifugal pumps, gas engines. oil engines, mining machinery, metallurgical machinery, crushing and cement machinery, flour mill machinery, sawmill machinery, air compressors, air brakes, steam and electric hoists, farm tractors, power transmission machinery, forgings, perforated metals, timber treating and preserving machinery, etc.

**Bruce, William G. History of Milwaukee, City and County. Vol. 3. Milwaukee: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1922. Google Books.

Snap-Coupler Safety


At the 2013 Orange Spectacular Dave Buttjer and Jim Palmer Jr. gave a Snap-Coupler safety seminar. They covered the basics on how to use the hitch system on the WD/WD45 tractor, as well as some safety tips. The Snap-Coupler hitch was equipped on ten Allis-Chalmers tractors from the factory:

B, CA, WD-45, D-10, D-12, D-14, D-15, D-17, D-19, 190 ( WDs could be converted to Snap-Coupler but did not come standard).

Snap-Coupler Parts Diagrams

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Check out the AGCO Parts Book for a complete breakdown of parts. Hooks springs and lift-latch repair kits are available through DJS Tractor Parts, Steiner Tractor Parts or your local AGCO Dealer.

Equipment Inspection

Check Snap-Coupler bell for dents, cracks or damage. If there are any signs of these defects consider replacing your Snap-Coupler bell.

The Snap-Coupler hook can wear thin after years of use, so check it to see if it can still pull implements without slipping out. The pivot pin holding the hook can also wear after extensive use. Replace the pivot pin if it appears to be badly worn. The hook spring needs to hold the hook up into the bell and snap into place when the implement is attached. A worn or broken spring will not hold the hook in place and the implement tongue will come out.

The disconnect lever and linkage needs to be free moving. Check the lever to ensure that it is not holding the hook open. Tractors equipped with the chain-type linkage need to have slack in the linkage to prevent the hook from releasing the implement tongue from the tractor.

Lift-arm latches must be free moving and be easily opened by hand. Proper spring tension is required, and some latches may require lubrication. The lift-arm latches are firmly secured to the lift arms on the tractor by tightening the set screw and jam nut.

Snap-Coupler In Action

Safety and Operation

Always take the time to be certain the implement is hooked up correctly. Hastily hooking up Snap-Coupler implements could lead to an oversight in the process that may lead to an accident.

When using ground engaging implements, hook a chain around the drawbar of the implement and then attached it to a solid area on the tractor. The chain will prevent the implement tongue from dropping into the ground if it detaches unexpectedly.

If possible, hitch Snap-Coupler implements on firm, level ground. Be sure the tractor brakes are applied before dismounting the machine to hook-up lift arms.

When re-attaching the tractor drawbar be sure the tighten it down to the drawbar guide. This will prevent movement when pulling trailed equipment.


Comment below for questions about using the Snap-Coupler hitching system or about getting parts.

Allis-Chalmers and the Panama Canal Construction

Soon after the construction of the Panama Canal was commenced the Isthmian Canal Commission bought from the Allis Chalmers Company the first stone crushing plant used in the production of crushed stone for concrete work. This plant consisted of one No. 8 Style “K” and two No. 5 Style “K” Allis-Chalmers “Gates” Crushers, and the necessary auxiliary equipment. The plant was designed by the Allis-Chalmers Company and erected by the Isthmian Canal Commission near Ancon. Its capacity was about 1,000 cubic yards per day of eight hours.

Stone breaker supplied by Allis-Chalmers

Later on as the work progressed and the Gatun Locks were being constructed the government engineers decided to erect a plant at Porto Bello to produce the crushed stone required for this work. The rock in the Porto Bello quarry was very hard and abrasive, closely resembling that found in the Palisades on the Hudson River, New York. The operations at the quarry being of necessity very large, and the additional fact that the peculiar formation of the rock caused it to blast out in pieces of immense size, made the installation of a large preliminary crusher necessary to obtain maximum operating economies. The engineers of the Isthmian Canal Commission decided upon a No. 21 Allis Chalmers “Gates” Gyratory Crusher for this work as the most modern machine.

Ancon Stone Crusher Plant

The great and rapid advance made in crushing machinery is shown by the size of the receiving openings of the No. 8 crusher installed at Ancon as compared with the No. 21 installed at Porto Bello. The No. 8 crusher has two receiving openings eighteen inches by sixty-eight inches, whereas the No. 21 has two receiving openings forty-two inches by 114 inches, the former machine weighing approximately fifty tons and the latter about 235 tons. To give some idea of its immense size it should be noted that it will take pieces weighing four to five tons, breaking them down to about seven inches in one operation. This large crusher is capable of easily crushing 5,000 cubic yards of rock in eight hours, although it was never extended to its fullest capacity as only 3,500 cubic yards were used at the Gatun lock daily. The enormous size and weights of the individual pieces that go to make up this machine made the transportation and installation (the plant being located several hundred feet above water level) a difficult one, and much credit is due the management and engineers of the Isthmian Canal Commission in successfully mastering these problems.

The rock in the quarry was loaded with large steam shovels into six to eight-ton side dump cars, and trains of ten cars were brought by locomotive to the crusher and discharged into the feed hopper. After being crushed in this preliminary breaker to about seven inches the material dropped into a sixty-inch Allis-Chalmers pan conveyor and elevated to additional crushers which further reduced it to about three and one-half inches. The material used in the concrete work at Gatun locks being “crusher run,” no sizing screens were necessary at the crushing plant. Its location being on a hill-side, all the crushed material flowed by gravity to a final conveyor located at the foot of the hill which carried it to the storage bins. These bins were located on Porto Bello harbor, and the material was loaded directly from these bins into barges having a carrying capacity of about 700 cubic yards. The barges were towed to Gatun, a distance of about thirty-five miles, and there unloaded with clam shell buckets.

**Bennett, Ira E. “History of the Panama Canal: Its Construction and Builders.” Google . Google Books.

Directors of the Allis-Chalmers Co. 1901

1901 Logo

The Official Staff of the Allis-Chalmers Company.

The following is a completed list of the directors and officers of the Allis-Chalmers Company, whose head office is in the Home Insurance building, Chicago:

Directors—William W. Allis. chairman, Milwaukee: W. J. Chalmers, Chicago: Elbert H. Gary, William A. Read and Cornelius Vanderbilt, New York, for three years; Charles Allis, Milwaukee; James H. Eckels. Chicago; William L. Elkins, Jr., Philadelphia; Max Pam, Chicago; James Stillman, New York, for two years; Edward D. Adams, New York; Frank G. Bigelow, Milwaukee; Mark T. Cox, Orange, N. J.; Henry W. Hoyt, Chicago; Edwin Reynolds, .Milwaukee, for one year.

Executive committee—W. J. Chalmers, chairman; Edward U. Adams, Charles Allis, James H. Eckels, Henrv W. Hoyt, Max Pam, and Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Finance committee—William A. Read, chairman: Edward D. Adams. W. S. Chalmers, Mark T. Cox and Elbert H. Gary.

President—Charles Allis.

Vice-President—W. J. Chalmers.

Second Vice-President—Henry W. Hoyt.

Third Vice-President—Joseph H. Seaman, New York.

Treasurer—W. J. Chalmers.

Secretary—John W. Young, New York.

Assistant Secretary—Joseph O. Watkins, Chicago.

Chief Engineer—Edwin Reynolds, Milwaukee.

Comptroller—Benjamin T. Leuzarder, Chicago.

Assistant Treasurer and transfer agent—George A. Brewster, New York.

**The Railway Age, Volume 32, August 23,1901, Page 166.

“A.C. Expediters Keep Materials Coming In”

We of Allis-Chalmers, Vol. III, No. 3, May 1943, page 4.

What . . . when . . . for whom . . . and how the Company makes its products  (as explained in the last issue of “WE”), is decided by Priorities, as issued by the national War Production Board.

But even though we get WPB approval to purchase necessary materials and parts, we still have to go out and get them. That’s the big war-time job of the Purchasing Department’s Expediters.

Tale fuel oil, for example . . .

Allis-Chalmers’ West Allis Works uses many thousands of gallons of fuel oil a day. It is used for scores of purposes throughout the plants. In fact, if we ran out at any time, all heat treating would stop, foundry employes [sic] would be idle, and the work of hundreds of other shop workers would be affected all down the line

On the Job

But a Purchasing Department Expediter keeps continuously on the job. Every day he makes the rounds of all refinery headquarters in Chicago, learns what cars are available, and helps route a supply to come in regularly. During the recent fuel oil crisis, we almost hit the bottom of the storage tank at West Allis. But the Expediter redoubled his efforts . . . and the next morning twelve cars came in. This is typical of the valuable and important work they do to keep operations humming in the various plants.

Or take the case of the mixed-up order on rotor shafts for an important government dam project. One shaft was to be delivered to us by the supplier in November, the other in February. Somehow the order was mixed, and the wrong shaft came in first. It meant months of delay, but the Expediter, in desperation, broke the usual rules for getting immediate action. Instead of contacting the front office of the supplier, he went direct to the men scheduling the production and explained the situation. Together they worked out a solution, and the rotor was delivered on time.

Welding Rod Story

And there’s the welding rod story. Shipyards are using millions of pounds of welding rod a month, and to get rods, especially in small sizes for turbine blading for our use at Allis-Chalmers, takes the continuous effort of our Expediters. Combining the qualities of a shrewd buyer, an engineer, a psychologist, and a detective, the successful Expediter cannot relax for an instant. If he did, important work in the shops would stop overnight.

Sometimes, however, even the Expediters are helpless to solve the material supply problem. A recent example happened when the manufacturer supplying us with circuit breakers for our Switch-gear fell down on deliveries. Expediters who tried who tried to clear up the situation met with a stone wall. Washington was appealed to. The result was the WPB took over the supplier’s delivery schedule, thus providing a more fair distribution of their products.

Often, Allis-Chalmers Expediters actually aid the supplier to solve production problems or work out answers to their own supply problems. A-C Expediters in many instances have helped companies set up production schedule departments which have made it possible for us to get faster deliveries.

Because suppliers are often customers of our products, Expediters must use the greatest tact and skill to retain the good will of these companies . . . even when extreme pressure is being used to get deliveries. In a way, it is like “selling in reverse.”

Getting Raw Material

The Purchasing Expediting Department has had rapid growth in the past few months. Both in the main office and in the field, the organization consisting of more than seventy-five persons has been built up to permit Allis-Chalmers to compete successfully with other companies in getting its proper share of raw materials and parts.

So – the next time you pick up a sheet of brass or a bar of steel or a piece of copper, give a thought to the Purchasing Expediter who somehow – in face of nation-wide shortages – managed to get it for you to work on.

“A-C Workers Help Sink Subs”

We of Allis-Chalmers – Vol. III, No. 4, July 1943, Pg 2.

How would you like to help sink a Nazi sub?

The greatest obstacle today to American victory in the war is the deadly Nazi sub fleet. These murderous underwater craft travel the sea lanes in wolf packs. They torpedo merchant  ships without warning. They machine gun weaponless seamen as they struggle to get away from their sinking ships. They violate every rule of fairness and humanity. They are, in fact, a continuous threat to the safe passage of our American soldiers on their way to war zones.

The Nazis have often boasted that their submarines would break the offensive power of the United Nations. With their subs, they expect to send to the ocean’s bottom most of the military aid of America hopes to deliver to our allies.

That’s where WE who work at Allis-Chalmers come into the story. And a thrilling story it is . . .

*  *  *

For – if you work on main or auxiliary d-c generating sets . . . if you help in the construction of main ship propulsion d-c motors . . . if you share in making propulsion or auxiliary electric control equipment . . . if you have a part in making motors for auxiliary drives, pumps for various ship uses, condensers for steam-driven ships, etc. . . . if you play any part in this vast program at Allis-Chalmers – you are helping sink Nazi subs!

Allis-Chalmers is one of the country’s largest suppliers of equipment for the new U.S. Destroyer Escort fleet.

And, although Hitler is staking everything on his all-out submarine campaign, devoting all available shipbuilding facilities in Germany for U-boat construction, it is now confidently believed that we have the answer to this Nazi challenge in the new Destroyer-Escort ships.

These ships are literally submarine killers, built with this one though in mind. The Destroyer-Escort is fast, streamlined, seaworthy, and filled to the bulwarks with armament designed to kill subs.

“It’s smaller than today’s destroyer, it’s steel, and it carries weapons against aircraft and submarines,” is the official description of the escort.

Actually, the escort ship is a shepherd to merchant ships in convoy, relieving heavier naval units for battle duties. Offensively – and the escort ship is strictly designed for attack – it can maneuver swiftly and can more than match the submarine’s best underwater speed. It has guns heavy enough to shoot it out with submarines on the surface. It has anti-aircraft guns of various calibre, depth charges for anti-sub work, and torpedo tubes for offensive action against surface raiders.

Around 300 feet long and 35 feet in the beam, the Destroyer-Escort goes anywhere over the high seas – on the busy ship lanes to England, Russia, North Africa, the Middle East, and the South Pacific.

While it is estimated that Hitler is building submarines approximately twice as fast as we have been able to sink them under previous anti-sub measures, we are now able to turn out escort ships with such rapidity as to promise a definite solution to the Nazi sub threat.

But, of course, no escort ships can take up their duties on the high seas without the type of equipment we make – propulsion and auxiliary generators and motors, pumps, electrical control equipment, condensers, and many other Allis-Chalmers items.

That’s why the work we do at Allis-Chalmers is so vitally important to the war effort. For the equipment we make is urgently needed – today!

Naval authorities have stated repeatedly that every minute counts is getting equipment into their hands . . . for this may be the minute an American ship is sunk by a Nazi submarine . . . a ship that would have been saved if the Navy had the equipment WE of Allis-Chalmers make.

Let’s be proud of our share in the job of equipping these new Destroyer-Escorts . . . proud that WE of Allis-Chalmers are able to take part in killing subs.