The Rock Island Plow Company could trace its history to 1855 in the Buford & Tate company, Tate had been an early partner of John Deere. Rock Island had expanded its line in the early 1900s, and purchased Heider Tractor in 1916. Rock Island developed new tractor designs in the late 1920s, although the company suffered from the Great Depression. Rock Island was sold to J.I. Case in 1937.