August 16, 2018
Bill Hedrick and his son Jason and their families love collecting and restoring tractors. Every year, they drive all 84 tractors and vehicles in their collection out of the shed and park them in the barn lot near Battleground, Ind. On a Saturday in June, neighbors come to view the collection. Some bring their own tractors for others to see.
One of the tractors parked in the Hedrick lineup is one you don’t see every day: a B.F. Avery Model A.
B.F. Avery is one of those names of the past that has long since disappeared, but not before it bought assets from another tractor company that ran into financial trouble before it did.
According to bfavery.com, maintained by B.F. Avery Collectors and Associates, a national tractor club, B.F. Avery produced four models during its lifetime: the A, V, R and BF. The company had a factory in Louisville, Ky. It was also known for producing implements.
In fact, the General tractor originally made by the Cleveland Tractor Co., better known as Cletrac, was designed to accommodate B.F. Avery implements.
As the story goes, Cletrac came under financial pressure during World War II and sold the General line to B.F. Avery. Then Avery began producing the B.F. Avery Model A, which was a General painted red instead of Cletrac orange.
B.F. Avery later produced a smaller tractor, the Model V, and a bigger tractor, the Model R. The company fell on hard times of its own. Minneapolis-Moline bought the company in 1952, looking for smaller tractors for its lineup. It produced the BF model for a while before morphing it into the Moline BG in 1953.
According to tractordata.com, B.F. Avery built the Model A in Louisville from 1943 through 1950. It was rated as a one-plow tractor with a 16-inch bottom, or a two-plow tractor with 14-inch bottoms.
Names and notes
If you’re ever in a tractor trivia contest and someone asks what B.F. stands for, it’s Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin Avery established a plow company in 1847, which became B.F. Avery Plows in 1850 and eventually B.F Avery and Sons, according to tractors.wikia.com.
The B.F. Avery A, a three-wheeled tractor, wasn’t the first motorized vehicle the company produced. It built the Louisville Motor Plow from 1914 to 1917. It was basically a chassis and motor with two-plow bottoms underneath it.
Reportedly, B.F. Avery marketed Huber tractors built for Avery by Huber of Marion, Ohio, in the 1930s. The same reports hold that B.F. Avery approached Cletrac about building the General tractor, which later would become the B.F. Avery A when Avery purchased the General line from Cletrac.
Confused yet? Here are a couple more tidbits: Massey-Harris and Montgomery Ward also sold the General for a time. It was sold by Montgomery Ward as the Twin-Row.
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