Ford Tractor Company, Inc.


SKU: 5937

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Product Details


Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the Ford Tractor Company, Inc. dating back to the 1910's. This document, which is signed by the company President and Assistant Treasurer, was printed by Steelograph, and measures approximately 12" (w) by 8" (h).


This certificate's vignette features a male and female flanking an eagle atop the Ford Tractor logo.


You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    The Ford Tractor Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota was incorporated under South Dakota law on March 15, 1915. W. Baer Ewing (who has signed this piece as the company President) was the moving force behind this company. Ewing located one Paul W. Ford of Minneapolis and induced him to join the organization. Ford agreed to allow his name to be used in connection with the company, and was to receive definite compensation therefore.


    Ford was a company clerk, and was brought on with the intention of getting sales and attention from the confusion of this Ford with Ford Motor Company. The company built and sold some tractors, but anticipated a settlement with Henry Ford for permission to use their already-trademarked name. However, Ford thwarted them by using another name.


    By 1916, Ewing’s tractor company was already in litigation. According to an August 2, 1917, article in the New York Times, Ford Tractor Co. of South Dakota “ran along” for one year until about June 1916, when Ewing apparently “got in a wrangle” with some of his partners. As a result of the conflict, Ewing was nearly forced out of the company.

    An article appearing in Tractor and Gas Engine Review late in 1917 reported further problems with Ford Tractor Co. “Last summer Ford Tractor Co. demonstrators … claimed they were making 20 tractors a day. But those who furnished them with accessories credit them with only 300 for the year.”

    The article also noted that when Ewing first established the tractor company, he required dealers to purchase a “block of stock — a practice that few new concerns care to adopt, not that there is anything particularly wrong about it, only it is apt to arouse suspicions — and it did in this case, especially among those who had followed the career of Mr. W. Baer Ewing in his connection with Federal Securities Co. and Power Distribution Co. of Minneapolis several years ago.” The article concluded with a warning to investors of the possibility that the company was probably not what it appeared to be.

    Following dissolution of his initial Ford Tractor Company during the middle of 1916, Ewing reorganized his tractor business in Delaware under the name of Ford Tractor Co. Ltd. The Delaware concern began business on Nov. 8, 1916, with $1,000,000 authorized capital. W. Baer Ewing was president of the board; C.B. Elliott, vice president; and M.R. Johnston, secretary/treasurer. John H. Meier, Paul B. Ford, John L. Smith and R.A. Jacobson were directors. In an initial stock offering, the company extracted $350,000 from approximately 3,000 people, selling about 80,000 shares at $4 to $5 per share.

    Things quickly unraveled. An August 2, 1917, New York Times headline read, “Emerson Motors Co. in New Indictment, Five Officers and ‘Ford Tractor’ Heads Accused of Misusing the Mails, Frauds in Stocks Alleged, Brokers Who Handled Shares Also Included – Some History of Tractor Concerns.”

    Emerson Motors Co. was the enterprise devised by Nicholas Field Wilson, who, according to a November 1918 article in The World’s Work, a monthly business magazine, sought to get in on one of the nation’s “most lucrative fields for the get-rich-quick promoter.” Wilson had already been indicted and sentenced to prison by July 1917 for his company’s fraudulent activities. He came under further scrutiny when he was linked to Ford Tractor Co., which by then had its own legal issues. The link between the two companies was Robert P. Matches & Co., a brokerage firm that had worked with both Wilson and Ewing.