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Funny story....

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Alan K
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:54 pm    Post subject: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I remember in Vo-tech one of the instructors who kind of started the farm diesel program at the school I was at, said they had taken the class at that time to tour the MM plant back in the mid 1960's. He said it was dark and smokey...and looked like a preview of hell.... Im sure some of what he said might have been a little far fetched to get students to listen... Smile I think that would have been an interesting tour. Was anyone here ever through the plant?
 
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gtractorfan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Didn't get to see the MM factory but our class did tour the New Idea factory at Coldwater, Ohio in the early 1960's. For some parts I'd say your instructor wasn't too far off (but of course we don't know what hell looks like).
 
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G1355
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Was the plant in Hopkins or minneapolis or was there one in both? The early ones were built in minneapolis if I'm right but were some of the later ones built in Hopkins? Or just the motors? Because at our local new holland dealer, previous white, Oliver, and mm there's a picture and it says minneapolis moline Hopkins Minneasota, standing by a motor. Know when Oliver bought them they moved to Charles city.
 
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Alan K
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I think, think, it might have been both. I remember always seeing Hopkins MN on later things and Minneapolis 1 Minnesota on some earlier items. Someone on here will know more.
 
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j hikemper
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:02 am    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

been Thru caterpillar at Peoria ,, i thought it was exciting and most interestin ,,albeit smelly ,hot , like the teacher suggests ...a teacher saying that puts me to mind what my great uncle Gus Bischof,, he had a lot of Prairie GOLD MM ,,most folx that dont have the guts to work hard and cant stomach lifes setbacks will gravitate to politics , teaching and or preaching ,,.
 
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don in pa.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

in the mid 1950'S our FFA class took tour off the sheapard diesel plant in hanover pa the foundry part was dark and dirty years later i worked in the local foundry thosefurnaces were hot as hell probably is
 
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Alan K
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I do have a friend I remember saying that he was there at the MM plant in the mid 1960s. He had went along with a guy that was supposed to pick up an M670 Super, but the plant couldnt find that one or didnt have one so they ended up taking a U302 Super. He said they kind of wondered through the plant while they were waiting. He said they were stamping out fenders like were used on the 302s 670s...and the whole floor shook. I think that would have been neat to see. The odd thing when I was at Vo-tech I stopped at an older guys place to look at a parts ZA. He had the belt pulley for it in the garage and I saw he had a 1966 U302 Super off to the side covered with stuff...I asked him if that was for sale and he chuckled and politely said "no.." I found out years later from my friend when he ended up buying it from him..THAT was the U302 Super that was picked up at the plant. The guy still didnt want to sell it but his wife told him "sell it...you arent using it anymore" so he finally did. I guess part of the reason my friend wanted to buy it is because he used to work for the guy and drove the 302.
 
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schrocky
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:03 am    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I would suppose that any or most plants in that era were dark and dirty.Dad and a friend bought a new Farmall 1206 together in 67 which was a big enough deal to earn them a trip to the plant. I remember dad saying that its a wonder this stuff runs as dirty as the assembly conditions are. He also visited the Hopkins plant with no comment ...we went to Oliver in SB here several times and yes it was dirty.
 
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J.Wondergem
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:30 am    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote


As was Campbell Wyatt and Cannon. I got in and out of there with the truck back in the late 60s and 70s.
 
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Paul in MN
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I did not have a personal tour, but at some of our MM gatherings at Rockford MN, we have had many retired MM factory workers in attendance. And my father worked in their foundry ~1950. The foundry was located on Como Ave NE of the Univ of Minn west of 280. Dad worked the night shift in an unheated factory, among a tremendous amount of black dirt and dust. Sand from the casting molds, and burned oil that kept the sand together after the wood mold was extracted. I don't know when the Como Ave foundry closed, but the building was still there as of a couple of years ago.

The tractor assembly and engineering and testing area was in the Lake Street (Minneapolis) plant. The building probably dated back to the early 1900s, and was too small for their needs and was teribly dirty asd well. The management did not want to pay people to clean up, but there was some attempt to keep things under control.

The 3rd plant was in Hopkins MN, about 5 to 10 miles west of the Lake street plant. They had a lot of room there, but did not spend 1 cent more than they had to. In the summer the windows were propped wide open with no screens and hords of mosquitos would swarm into the lighted building from the adjacent swamps on the night shift. This was the building where some of the special adaptations were fitted to the tractors, Where the forklifts were built, and many engines and irrigation pumps, and industrial tractors.

When White bought out MM (stole it through stock manipulation), they stole the employee pension fund to help pay for the company "purchase" 1963. Federal legislation ensued to better protect employee pension funds (but most of that protection has been eliminated during the 8 year term of our 43rd pres). MM also had some very valuable land holdings in the form of test farms south of the Minnesota River in the Burnsville area. This was becoming a boom time for development of residential and commercial property there. So White cashed in well on the real estate.

The "old timers" tell of when White took over, they went from hourly wages to piece work. White did not invest in any new machining (until much later) and the machinists could not hold tolerances in the engine parts. Their quality dropped off dramatically, as engine parts that should have been rejected were used daily. The piles of waste metal from the machining built up into small mountains. Machinists did not have time to clean up at the end of the day or week. They were a very disgruntiled group of employees. They knew how to produce first rate machinery, but were forced to produce crap at lower wages and even worse working conditions.

I think it all came to a close about 1974, but White imported some Eastern European tractors and put the MM name (and also Oliver) on them. In 1976, (bicentennial year), they were selling MM and Oliver tractors as the "All American" tractor, painted in your choice of heritage tractor color.

Guess what.. I will never own a White tractor or truck.

Paul in MN
 
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G1355
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

So are any plants still standing or did they all get tore down. And if you look on the bright side, if white didn't buy them out, then they probebly would of just closed at least they kept them going for some time, and gotta give it to white they had some good tractors.
 
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Alan K
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

That is what Ive always thought. If things would have closed in the early 1960s....ALOT of tractors wouldnt have happened.
 
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j hikemper
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

You told it like it is ,
 
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Paul in MN
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

White made a hostile takeover. Stock prices were down, and MM had considerable assets. White bought enough cheap stock to gain control and stole MM blind. At that time the employee pension fund was considered an MM asset that was immediately liquidated by White to get the cash to buy up enough stock to "own" the company. MM was widely diversified in construction equipment and agriculture, and maybe was still the parent company of Minneapolis Steel (structural steel for bridges and tall buildings). They were asset rich, but ripe for takeover by predatory stock manipulation.

White had previously taken over Oliver and Cockshut, but I am not familiar with the details of how that happened.

Paul in MN
 
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Alan K
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:58 am    Post subject: Re: Funny story.... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I havent heard about the Oliver and Cockshutt buyouts either, but that would be interesting to hear as well. I remember my dad had cut a little section out of the paper for me which was something about the pension fund for MM employees that was cut. I think it was in the early 1980s which they said amounted to about $50 a month. I still have the news clipping someplace if I can find it. I think MM was the only company that still made AMERICAN made tractors under 90hp to sell in the late 1960s as everyone else had foreign ones at that time. Im guessing in 69-70 when White started to slap their name on everything (that kind of spoiled it for me) and offering the "heritage colors" to maybe smooth over the transition into what would eventually become White...kind of mudded the waters at that time allready for alot of people.
 
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