Robert Tate and Charles Buford founded what would become the Rock Island Plow Company in 1855. Known first as Buford and Tate, then Buford & Company, and Rock Island Plow Company in 1882. Three factors had a negative affect on the company during this time. The Long Depression, two consecutive years of flooding, and a fire on New Year’s Day 1881. The company was restructured in 1885 with several changes in management during which time the Weyerhaeuser family was gaining control which they did in 1912. Growth, diversity, and acquisitions began with 1914 an especially important year in Rock Island’s history. They began selling Alamo gas engines under their own name as well as Heider tractors. In 1916, Rock Island bought Heider naming the tractors Rock Island Heider. 1937 saw the sale of Rock Island to J. I. Case of Racine, Wisconsin.
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