by Clint Dixon
Soon after they founded the Newgren Company, George Newlin and Henry Green found competition in the market quickly increasing as another company entered into the business of outfitting Jeeps with hydraulic lift systems. This time, it was not a newly formed company, but a long established family owned business – the Monroe Auto Equipment Company of Monroe, Michigan. And, they brought to the table a new three-point hitch of their own design.
The Monroe Auto Equipment Company had evolved earlier in the century from the Brisk Blast Company. In 1918, Charles S. McIntyre Sr., an established dealer of Dodge motorcars, partnered with Brisk’s President August Meyer to become Vice President of the company. The core of Brisk’s business at the time was manufacturing tire pumps. The company quickly expanded, started producing shock eliminators in 1926, and settled upon its iconic name in 1927. By 1937 Charles’s eldest son Brouwer D. McIntyre was presiding over the company accompanied by his two brothers; Charles Jr. and William.1 They had by now expanded their product line to include truck and tractor steering components and seats. During the war, their efforts concentrated on producing seats for tanks, projectiles, and hydraulics for long-range bombers.2
One name commonly recognized by Jeep enthusiasts is that of Ivan N. Schatzka. Before his 26-year tenure with Willys, and its resulting offspring, Mr. Schatzka worked as a senior project engineer at Monroe from 1946 to 1955. Early on during this timeframe he, along with chief engineer Charles Joseph Smith and William Esdale, began design and testing of the three-point hitch system that would eventually become known in most factory publications as the “Monroe Hydraulic Lift”.3 ,4
Monroe had developed close relations with Willys-Overland Motors, Inc. years before the war. This relationship was strengthened further once Brouwer took a seat on the Willys board of directors. The Willys board had elected Mr. McIntyre along with Arthur J. Wieland on January 21, 1947.5 Mr. Weiland was actively serving as Willys Vice President of Distribution at the time of the appointment.
By the summer of 1947 design and testing of the new Monroe Hydraulic Lift prototypes was nearing completion. Brouwer’s son, Charles S. McIntyre III (Chuck), joined the Monroe effort while on break between semesters at college. He traveled around the country helping to demonstrate the new lift system along with attached farm implements at scheduled events .The list of implements that they transported from show to show included plows, discs, and harrows, all having the specific purpose of tilling the soil to hopefully impress upon the buying public and members of the press the virtues of the new system. Among show locations, key demonstrations took place in Ohio, North Dakota, and Texas.6
Competitor’s lift systems, notably those from Love and Newgren, required somewhat specialized implements that differed from the emerging standards – namely those available from Ferguson and Dearborn. The 1949-1950 edition of the Red Tractor Book reported; “The first SAE specification for agricultural tractor drawbar location was adopted in 1917 shortly after the Society of Tractor Engineers amalgamated with the Society of Automobile Engineers. The standard, as revised in 1937, was adopted jointly by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, and is accordingly published as SAE-ASAE Standard.” However it was not until March of 1959 that an ASAE standard specifically for hydraulic lift systems was approved and titled: Three-Point Free-Link Attachment for Hitching Implements to Agricultural Wheel Tractors.7
This lack of standardized parameters for hitch systems up through the 1950’s became most apparent in the functioning of the plow. Ferguson and Dearborn plows were designed to operate specifically with the Ferguson System first employed by Ford in 1939 on its new 9N model tractor. The geometry created by converging (semi-parallel) upper and lower links of the Ferguson System caused the plow, as well as some other implements, to have an 18-inch mast height. This 18-inch height would later become a key dimension in what was to become known as the “Category I” ASAE standard.8
Newgren and Love lift assemblies were designed to mount to the back of the Jeep completely below an open tailgate. Thus, the upper link point and the two lower link points did not fall at the corners of an equilateral triangle. The result was that they created a very squatty isosceles triangle with the upper link point forced to fall beneath the tailgate. This unique geometry was carried over in part to the layout of the upper hitch point and the two lower hitch points on the plow. This geometry resulted in a reduced mast height on the plows used by Love and Newgren when compared to those used with the Ford tractor.