THE HISTORY OF J.I. CASE -
Jerome Increase Case (1819-1891) from Williamstown, New York, founded J.I. Case Machinery Company by improving a "ground hog" thresher, patented in England, which he used for custom threshing. Driven by a horse-powered treadmill, the crude machine could thresh more in an hour than a man could in a day. young Case modified the "ground hog" so that it would separate as well as thresh. Bitten by the "manufacturing bug", Case constructed Racine Threshing Machine Works at Racine, WI, on the shore of Lake Michigan. By 1848 when Wisconsin became a state, the company turned out about 100 threshers a year. The cost of a threshing machine, complete with horsepower unit, varied from $290 to $325.
Case traveled far and wide to sell his threshers. A famous tale is told that Case, 65 years old and a millionaire, traveled to a small farm in Minnesota to fix one of his machines. After many hours of examining and adjusting the wooden machine with still no satisfaction, Case doused the thresher with kerosene, set it ablaze and then departed before the fire had died out. Within 24 hours the farmer had a new thresher. In 1862 the "Sweepstakes" thresher could process 300 bushels of wheat a day. Case also made improvements on sweep power units using up to 14 horses. In 1863 J.I. Case took in three partners to form J.I. Case Company: Massena Erskine, Stephen Bull (a brother-in-law) and Robert Baker, who soon became known as the Big Four.
In 1865 the famous eagle trademark was adopted, patterned after Old Abe, a magnificent bald eagle, that was the Civil War mascot for Company C in the 8th Wisconsin Regiment. The first Case steam engine "Old No. 1" (now owned by the Smithsonian Institution) was produced in 1869, to be followed by 36,000 more over the years. Constructed on a wagon frame pulled by horses, the 8 HP steam engine gave farmers belt power for threshing and other farm tasks. In 1884 the "Greatly Improved Traction Engine" used chains and worm gears for steering, required no animal power, and could be used for farm plowing. J.I. Case & Company continued to improve its steam power even up to large 150 HP "road locomotives" (the beginning of the construction equipment line). Steam engine production ceased in 1924 after producing twice as many as other manufacturers.
After 1876 J.I. Case Plow Works was established, which produced plows and other tillage equipment, Stockholders included Jerome's son, Jackson Case, and sons-in-law Henry M. Wallis, John J. Crooks and Percival Fuller. By 1880 J.I. Case Co. partnership was dissolved and J.I. Case Threshing Machine Co. was incorporated. The "Agitator" thresher was developed which used vibration to shake the heads from the straw and the chaff from the grain. In 1923 the company sold its first combine which was a vast improvement over the thresher, but Case still built and sold threshers through 1953.
In 1890, the Case Company expanded to South America, opening a factory n Argentina. In 1891, the company's funder, Jerome Case, died at age 72. By this time the Case company produced portable steam engines to power the threshing machines, and later went into the steam traction engine business. By the turn of the century Case was the most prolific North American builder of engines: these ranged in size from the diminutive 9 HP, to the standard 15, 25, 30, 40, 50, 65 HP and up to the plowing 75 and 80 HP sizes. Case also made the large 110 HP breaking engines with its notable two story cab. Nine massive 150 HP hauling engines were made, in addition to steam rollers. Case engines were noted for their use of Woolf valve gear, feedwater heaters, and the iconic "eagle" smokebox covers.
In 1904, Case had introduces the first all steel thresher machine. Case sold their first gasoline tractor that year and developed a wide line of products: threshers, binders, graders, water tanks, plows, buggies and even automobiles, a Case 1920 7-passenger touring car. Case began production of the 30-6- oil engine in 1912. Case also produced kerosene tractors in the teen years, similar to the Rumely Oil Pulls.
In 1927, the J.I. Case Company ceased building its legendary steam engines, of which over 30,000 were produced. During 1935, Case tested the first WD-40, a diesel tractor in Nebraska. S and V tractors were introduced in 1940. In 1942, the company produced its first self-propelled combine - a Model 123 SP harvester. In 1984, Case parent Tenneco bought selected assets of the International Harvester agriculture division and merged it with J.I. Case. All agriculture product are first labeled Case International and later Case IH. the Case Corporation joined with New Holland N.V. to become CNH, now CNH Global, in November 1999. In Europe the merger with New Holland (including the former Fordson and Fiat tractor lines) was the success Case IH expected. In 2006 Case IH came with a plan to bring back the "International" - feel to their products. They changed their logo, bringing back the old International Harvester logo and made more technical differences between the two brands.