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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Midwest Utilitor: 1920

Midwest Utilitor: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Midwest Utilities Corp. (exterior), 14th Street N.W." The two three draws here, for me at least, are the amused expressions of all concerned, and the name of this particular piece of equipment: "Midwest Utilitor." Oh, and the entertaining signage in the window. National Photo. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Comic book hero

I am the Mighty Utilitor: bow down before me! Or I can till your garden. Your call.

Neat Chick

No raving beauty, but she seems to exude personality.


Predecessor of the Roomba.

Stelzer & Co.

The text from the following ad accompanied a different photograph, possibly taken the same day. I suspect one of the men in suits is Frederick C. Stelzer. Prior to dealing in Utilitors, Stelzer & Co., 1115 14 St. N.W., sold plumbing and heating fixtures. [Update: Thanks to Dave for including the appropriate high-resolution image below. Click on it to embiggen.]

Washington Post, Apr 4, 1920

A Practical Demonstration

The above snapshot was taken of Mr. Fred Stelzer leaving Washington to give demonstration of the Midwest Utilitor. Was he going to your farm? If not, why not?

It plows, harrows, cultivates, hauls a cart and is a 4-horsepower portable engine which can be used for various kinds of beltwork. Write or call for demonstration on your own piece of land.

Some valuable territory open to dealers, also good opportunity for live-wire salesmen.

Farm Utilities Corporation

1115 14th St. N.W., Washington D.C.

My Guess

From right to left: The guy who sold it, his wife-n-secretary, the guy who bought it, the mechanic, and the guy who actually has to go out and run the thing.

Two observations

First: the flywheel of that thing is set inside the drive wheel, which in my eyes is a rather unusual solution. Second: those two guys behind the Utilitor look like brothers. Nothing unusual about that.

A mystery solved!

The video solves a mystery for us. Crop circles are simply what happens when farmers forget to switch off their Midwest Utilitors before going to bed.

Utilitors from Outer Space

OK, I found myself watching that video about 5 times in a row, and have arrived at the following conclusions: 1. That thing is alive; 2. I'll be having very strange dreams tonight.

YouTube Utilitor

In British Racing Green, yet.

[Another benefit: Free fertilizer. Guaranteed to scare the crap out of any horse! - Dave]


Her name is Kay, I think we're onto something!

Handy Power

Actually these kinds of "walk-behind" tractors also were used as a power source to run all kinds of equipment like washing machines, generators, milking machines, etc. Much more than you can do with a horse!

The housewife's dream

I'd like to see it handling some of those tiresome everyday chores around the house. Can it core a apple?

Two questions

How many mules did this device replace? When horses and donkeys were bred to get a mule, was the horse always the mother? My vote is for the horse to be the mother.

Everywhere a sign

Horses -- who needs 'em?


Anagram: I roil Tut. Specialized archaeological device for testing the validity of the curse on despoiling ancient Egyptian tombs.

"Horse Farming is wrong"

So don't be set in your ways! You can hook up your Midwest Utilitor, leave it, and when you get back, the job will be done! I need me one of those.

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