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Dan White
06-24-2016, 01:52 PM
I knew that Studebaker at one time owned Gravely, but I did not know that old Ben Gravely sold his products out of a Studebaker

Well, not brand new.
But reinvented, reborn and re-inspired.
We revisited where we’ve been, the acres we’ve traveled and the jobs we’ve done.And then we went back to work.
100 years ago, Benjamin Franklin Gravely was selling tractors out of the trunk of his Studebaker.
While we’re proud to celebrate our 100th anniversary, we’re even more ecstatic to show youwhere we’re headed.
Because we’re not here to sell you a history book.
We’re here to help you with time-honored products that are honed from experience.
36,500 days of learning and leading–
Always nding new ways to improve the nal product.

Page 2:

http://www.gravely.com/en-us/gravely_downloads/2016%20gravely%20catalog.pdf

53k
06-24-2016, 03:34 PM
I knew that Studebaker at one time owned Gravely, but I did not know that old Ben Gravely sold his products out of a Studebaker

Well, not brand new.
But reinvented, reborn and re-inspired.
We revisited where we’ve been, the acres we’ve traveled and the jobs we’ve done.And then we went back to work.
100 years ago, Benjamin Franklin Gravely was selling tractors out of the trunk of his Studebaker.
While we’re proud to celebrate our 100th anniversary, we’re even more ecstatic to show youwhere we’re headed.
Because we’re not here to sell you a history book.
We’re here to help you with time-honored products that are honed from experience.
36,500 days of learning and leading–
Always nding new ways to improve the nal product.

Page 2:

http://www.gravely.com/en-us/gravely_downloads/2016%20gravely%20catalog.pdf
I don't have the story handy, but I believe it was a 1911 Studebaker touring car that Mr. Gravely loaded with as many motor plows as he could fit in to the car (not trunk). He would sell door to door and come back for another load when he sold the earlier load.

Mr. Gravely was a clever idea man. He used to sketch what he had in mind in chalk on the factory floor in Dunbar, West Virginia. His engineers would take it from there. The First Annual Gravely Mow-in (sort of like our International meets) was held in Dunbar in 1998. I was lucky enough to be in that area when the meet was held so I attended. Then it was limited to the walk-behind models, mainly Model L. That was an amazing tractor, pretty crude but very rugged to the end. Gravely made their own engines, cast iron with pressure oiling and a big full-flow oil filter when splash oilers were the norm in small engines. The Gravely engine was almost indestructible so they had a very loyal customer base. At that show I learned that there were 70+ accessory implements for the Model L.
When Studebaker bought Gravely it was a strong, profitable company. Studebaker thought they could make it more profitable in a new plant in a non-union location so they shut down Dunbar and moved to Clemmons, North Carolina thinking they could get cheaper labor. It didn't work out well. Gravely lost their own engine and had to depend on other small engine manufacturers. They also lost much of their "corporate knowledge" from giving up the Dunbar experienced work force. Another Studebaker decision was to have Gravely use Onan engines (from another Studebaker company) in their tractors. Most of these engines were not well suited to tractor use and Kohler engines eventually replaced them.

I bought my first Gravely four-wheel model in 1977, a '72 model built in North Carolina. I didn't know about the Studebaker connection at the time, but soon saw the Studebaker name on the control deck. It had a 12-horsepower Onan engine which was not good. It was already obsolete when they first started using them in Gravelys. Think Studebaker parts are hard to find? Nothing compared to finding obsolete Onan parts. I currently use two four wheel models, a 1985 Model 8125. It has a 12-hp Kohler that is quite capable of running a 50-inch mower deck. The Gravely all gear design is much more power efficient than hydrostats. My other Gravely is a 1990 Model 20G with nearly 3,000 hours on the original engine (20 horsepower Kohler flat twin) and drive train (four speeds forward AND backward with high and low ranges). The tractor weighs more than 1,000 pounds (Cast front axle and transaxle, I-Beam frame, heavy sheet metal boby parts, etc. The 60-inch mower deck weighs 350 pounds. How much does your 24-horsepower plastic box store tractor weigh?

TWChamp
06-24-2016, 06:34 PM
What years was Gravely in business, and what years did Studebaker own them?
Thanks, Tom

53k
06-24-2016, 07:04 PM
What years was Gravely in business, and what years did Studebaker own them?
Thanks, Tom
Gravely is still in business. They are celebrating their 100-year anniversary this year,
I believe Studebaker bought Gravely in 1960. I'm not sure when they were sold to Ariens, but it was when Studebaker had become Studebaker-Worthington. I saw Gravely brochures as late as 1977 where they still called themselves Division of Studebaker.

garyash
06-24-2016, 07:54 PM
I recently had my circa 1963 Gravely model LI overhauled. It got a rebuilt carb, new Pierce governor, new shaft and bearings for the mower deck, new deck panels and skids, new tires and battery, and a little new paint. It runs very well, can probably climb walls, if needed, and the mower blade could likely chop down significant trees. The serial number label says Gravely, a Studebaker division. I even took it out on the rough part of our property and mowed the field. I think the tractor and mower deck weigh about 600 lbs. I plan to have it at the Warwick meet. It will be a working machine, not a garage queen.

55631

Dan White
06-24-2016, 08:14 PM
Yes 1960 is when Studebaker took over. I guess it was not the greatest relationship as they attempted to cut labor costs and ended up closing the original factory in Dunbar WV and moving the HQ to Winston-Salem NC. Studebaker also decided to kill the original Gravely engine and use Onan engines, which I believe they also owned at the time. Ariens bought it in 1982 from Studebaker Clark. It is now the hi-end of Ariens lawn equipment. I have one of their tractors bought new in 1994, great piece of engineering and quality. I am seriously considering buying one of their zero turns. Although not the original company at least Ariens was smart enough to keep it as a premium product with the quality and reliability that the mark had become in its earlier days.

http://www.gravely.com/100years/timeline/

HAWK64
06-24-2016, 11:02 PM
Studebaker diversified strongly during 1960 acquiring Gravely in May followed by Clarke Floor Machines & Onan Generating Plants later that year. The promotional lighters from that period show the relationship between Studebaker & those three respective Companies during the sixties.55634

qsanford
06-26-2016, 01:11 AM
I recently had my circa 1963 Gravely model LI overhauled. It got a rebuilt carb, new Pierce governor, new shaft and bearings for the mower deck, new deck panels and skids, new tires and battery, and a little new paint. It runs very well, can probably climb walls, if needed, and the mower blade could likely chop down significant trees. The serial number label says Gravely, a Studebaker division. I even took it out on the rough part of our property and mowed the field. I think the tractor and mower deck weigh about 600 lbs. I plan to have it at the Warwick meet. It will be a working machine, not a garage queen.

55631
The Gravely is looking great!

53k
06-26-2016, 07:50 AM
I recently had my circa 1963 Gravely model LI overhauled. It got a rebuilt carb, new Pierce governor, new shaft and bearings for the mower deck, new deck panels and skids, new tires and battery, and a little new paint. It runs very well, can probably climb walls, if needed, and the mower blade could likely chop down significant trees. The serial number label says Gravely, a Studebaker division. I even took it out on the rough part of our property and mowed the field. I think the tractor and mower deck weigh about 600 lbs. I plan to have it at the Warwick meet. It will be a working machine, not a garage queen.
I can assure you that your 30-inch mower WILL cut down significant trees. It's actually better suited for brush hogging than mowing grass. That big blade is HEAVY! I have a 40-inch front mount mower that I have used for brush clearing. It will work on either the walk-behind or four-wheel Gravelys (with the front pto option).
By the way, be VERY careful crossing depressions when you are using the sulky. Those handle bars are just right for doing serious damage to your sensitive areas.

jackb
06-26-2016, 08:22 AM
.....funny thing this thread..... I finished the day "brush-hogging the perimeter of the yard late yesterday. Also got a new plow blade, yet to be installed on my '71 walk behind. I made up a nice "buckboard-type wagon for small loads from a Craftsman wagon and minor hitch modifications. The kids love to drive it around the yard....but its a dangerous machine for the mechanically challenged....