The Townsend Manufacturing Co. of Janesville, Wisconsin initially took a completely different approach to tractor design from most other manufacturers. In appearance early Townsend tractors resembled steam engines, but these tractors were powered by an internal combustion engine. What looked like the barrel of the boiler was the radiator and what appeared to be the firebox was the fuel tank.
Townsend began building tractors in 1914 and offered two models varying in horsepower, a 12-25 and a 30-60. Both models resembled steam engines. By 1924 Townsend was offering five different models of tractors however Townsend had begun to use a conventional frame with a radiator and fuel tank on their designs. Production of Townsend tractors continued into the 1930s however the difficult economic conditions of the 1930s, saw the factory close.
The Townsend 12-25 tractor came to the Museum in the early 1950s on loan from the Lofgren Family of Erickson, Manitoba. Ernie and Dick Lofgren saw the tractor on a scrap truck during the Second World War and decided they could use it. They traded an equal weight of scrap iron for the tractor. They repaired the tractor and used it for a few years. There is nothing known of this tractor’s history before the Lofgren Brothers purchased it.