While you might know Allis-Chalmers for their tractors, that’s not all the company made. In addition to a full line of tractors and associated equipment, the highly diversified company made all sorts of things. Here are six you might not know about:
- Radiation equipment. Allis-Chalmers made the radiation-producing equipment (called a betatron) used in early research of radiation as a cancer treatment. (1952, other years too)
- Beach Sanitizer. Sorted trash from sand, and could clean up to 3.75 acres per hour. Designed to be pulled by the Beachmaster tractor, a version of the 190. Produced 1964-1970.
- Spacecraft equipment. Allis-Chalmers was awarded some early contacts from NASA, using fuel cell technology to produce power and oxygen systems for spacecraft. The success of these systems helped prove that manned spaceflight was possible. Sadly, AC equipment never made it on a manned flight – the company discontinued their research in fuel cell technology in 1970.
- Superchargers for jet engines. During World War 2, Allis-Chalmers became one of the world’s largest producers of aircraft superchargers – allowing Allied planes to fly higher and more safely. A-C made loads of other components for the war effort – including factory machinery for other companies. Here’s a picture of President Roosevelt touring an A-C plant.
- Mining equipment. Check out this huge stone crusher (called a gyratory breaker) that A-C produced for the Utah Copper Company.
- Terra Tiger. A six-wheeled, 10-horsepower ATV with a watertight fiberglass body. It was marketed as a “go-anywhere” vehicle. I couldn’t find records on how many were produced – I assume it was very few.
How about you – had you heard about all these A-C products? Do you have a favorite (non-tractor/equipment) product that I didn’t mention? Share in the comments below.