The Farm Debut of the Gasoline Engine

31 Pages Posted: 6 May 2011

See all articles by Carrie A. Meyer

Carrie A. Meyer

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 3, 2011


Stationary gasoline engines began to appear on U.S. farms around 1895. Within 20 years later their numbers had exploded to one million; yet their use has received scant attention. This paper examines the demand for stationary power on the farm and compares alternative power sources in 1895. It traces the development of the market for farm gas engines and its interaction with the market for automobiles and tractors. It then presents evidence from the magazine, Gas Review, to show how farmers became engine mechanics and facilitated the adoption of automobiles and tractors across rural America.

Keywords: gasoline engine, farm engine

JEL Classification: N51, N71, O33

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Carrie A., The Farm Debut of the Gasoline Engine (May 3, 2011). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 11-20, Available at SSRN: or

Carrie A. Meyer (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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