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International: The Truck of Choice at the A.C. Oil Company

  • ac-oil
  • E.W. Grimes, the  first oil dealer in Arkansas City, Kansas

International-Harvester, now known as Navistar, literally has its roots in agriculture. Their history goes back to 1831 when Cyrus McCormick devised the first truly practical mechanical reaper, more than fifty years before the first gasoline powered vehicle ever turned a wheel. He established the first franchised dealership network system anywhere for his farm implements in 1850. By 1856, he was producing more than 4,000 reapers a year in his new Chicago factory. A stationary gasoline engine developed for the company by E.A. Johnston in 1897 would go into full production in 1905.

  • In2      In3       In4
  • Climbing Pikes Peak, “Horseless Age”, July 1916 – “Horseless Age” advertisement, August 1916 – A conversion, “Horseless Age” May 1916

Johnston’s work on that powerplant led to directly to their first self-propelled Auto Buggy, which he convinced Cyrus McCormick, Jr. to manufacture in a run of one hundred units in 1907. The second generation truck seen in our photos was manufactured simultaneously in 1915 and 1916 with the high-wheeled Model “M”, itself a development of the original Auto Buggy.

The wide variety of equipment made available to buyers of these newer models can be seen in the center photo, above. Variants of this design would continue until 1921 when the more conventional looking “S” Model was introduced. You can see more than 100 pages covering trucks, buses and equipment on The Old Motor. Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.

5 responses to “International: The Truck of Choice at the A.C. Oil Company

  1. The scary part of the trip would have been the return down the mountain with the rudimentary brakes working overtime to retard the downwards rush.

  2. IHC also came out with a S model about 1955 and a S series in 1978. Bruce: I have been told that even our modern hydraulic brakes are often taxed to the limit on this decline. Must have been a lot of praying going in the old days.

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