Waterloo was founded in 1893 as the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company, with John Froelich as the driving force. The original intent was to sell Froelich's gasoline tractor. Only four were produced in the first three years, and all were returned by their buyers. The company reorganized as the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company, and focused on selling stationary engines. The company re-entered the tractor market with its Waterloo Boy tractor in 1913. Deere & Company purchased Waterloo for $2.34 million in 1918.