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Allis-Chalmers Innovation 

August 2001:  by Jason Hasert


Allis-Chalmers was an agriculture company often ahead of its time with innovation of tractors and equipment.  In 1940 Allis-Chalmers began development Ummo Luebben's 1910 design of a rolled-bale bailing press.  AC took the basic concept and built an entirely new baler.  The Roto-Baler was introduced to farmers in 1947.  Like most unconventional machines it took considerable marketing to sell farmers on the round bale concept.  Farmers of the day were used to heavy rectangular wire tied bales. AC's new bales were not rectangular, they were not heavy and were wrapped not tied.  AC made a better baler that did not mangle hay and formed a weather resistant bale that could shed rain and be left in the field over the winter months without fear of spoilage. Another strong selling point of the  Roto-Baler was its price. When it came to the bottom line the  Roto-Baler was a machine a farmer could afford to own at $985 in 1947. By the  Roto-Baler's end of production in 1960 AC had sold 74,500 units.
Chuck Alexander of Berryville, Virginia is the proud owner of the Allis-Chalmers bale loader. On display at the annual Berryville Steam and Antique Tractor Show, held each July, Chuck's WD45 with bale loader was a star of the show. Development of the loader began in the mid-1940's to add to the labor savings of the  Roto-Baler.  Forks at the lip of the loader would catch AC's unique round bales and pull them into the elevator. The elevator would covey the light weight bales onto a truck or wagon saving many hours of monotonous break backing work. The loader could be mounted on the C, CA, WC, WD or WD45tractor and could be  removed for other work during the year.  
 Chuck Alexander also displayed his Allis-Chalmers 110 manure spreader at the Berryville show.  First just called the Allis-Chalmers manure spreader, it later gained the 110 model number for its 110 bushel capacity.  The conveyor chain ran forward to the innovative spreading chamber which consists of two beaters designed to shred material like any normal manure spreader.  The shredded material is fed into three high speed turbine augers which through out the manure up to 12 feet  on each side of the spreader.
The front unload spreader was offered by AC from 1956 to 1960. A total of 1,500 spreaders were sold during that time period at a price of  $938.  The greatest advantage the 110 held over conventional spreaders was that it did not kick up material that could hit the farmer and as it spread the tractor gained traction as the load moved forward.


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