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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Don and others please feel free to correct
Gravely Tractor, of Brillion, Wisconsin is a manufacturer of powered lawn and garden implements which it describes as "walk-behind, zero-turn and outfront mowers".
History
Foundation

Benjamin Franklin Gravely (29 November 1876 – January 1953) of Dunbar, West Virginia manufactured in 1916 a hand-pushed plow fitted with an auxiliary Indian motorcycle engine and driven by belts. His goal was to build a tractor which would revolutionize gardening and lawn maintenance for the homeowner.

A friend who owned a machine shop allowed Gravely to build more tractors at his shop. It was there that Gravely designed the engine and built six or seven of the first tractors, which weighed about 190 pounds each. He also developed several new tools for the engine and drive train.
Incorporation

The Gravely company was incorporated in 1922. In the mid-1920s, Gravely decided to build and market the tractors commercially. He and several backers raised enough capital to purchase an old factory in the Dunbar, West Virginia area that had previously been used for the manufacture of tires. One of the stockholders, Eustace Rose, a close friend and a mechanic, inventor and engineer, collaborated closely in the development of the tractor. Rose is also reputed to have invented the first automatic transmission used by the Chrysler Corporation.
Survival and growth

Strong sales assured the company's profitability through the Great Depression. Customer loyalty was an important element in this success. In the company's earliest years, Gravely would load several tractors into his Studebaker tourer car and sell them to farms as far away as West Virginia and Florida at $175 each. He would then drive back and pick up
Within a few years, sales outlets had been established from coast to coast, with international sales representatives in Germany, France and Switzerland.

Ben Gravely sold his stock in Gravely Tractor in 1940 and died 13 years later. His company was gradually acquired by the Studebaker Corporation by 1960 and later sold off by Studebaker-Worthington.
[edit] Current products

Not much unlike Gravely's first power driven plow, Gravely today offers two kinds of all-gear "tractors", walk-behind self-propelled units and the modern day riding tractor.
[edit] Walk-behind

The all-gear walk-behind units are powered by a single-cylinder four-cycle engine, often known as either Model D or Model L units, or "convertibles".

Earlier models had attachments such as rototillers and flail mowers. Later attachment options include snowblowers, snow blades, and a sprayer. Seats and steering wheels are available for walk-behind mowers, as well as an optional solid platform with space for carrying small amounts of cargo.
[edit] Riding tractor

The majority of Gravely riding tractors are, like the walk-behinds, characterized as "all-gear", that is, with a rear-mounted engine mated to a transaxle powering the tractor's rear wheels. This design thus eliminates the need for "drive belts" to power the tractor forward or backwards. The only belts required on Gravely equipment is the blade drive belt for its mower decks, which is powered by a gear box on the deck, which receives power from a PTO driveshaft connected to the tractor's drivetrain. The tractor's direction is controlled by a lever to the right of the operator for forward, neutral, or reverse operation. Because of this, this tractor is often mistaken for a hydrostatic drive.

In 1967, Gravely introduced its 400 series riding tractors, with the all-gear drivetrain that would come to define the company in future years.

The tractor had four speeds, two in low range and two in high range, with power configurations of single-cylinder 10, 12, or 14 horsepower Kohler or Onan engines. Also available as of 1969 were 16.5 HP Onan CCKA twin powered 450s. The commercial-grade units were painted a characteristic yellow and white, while the home-use units were painted red and white.

The 400 series was produced until 1971, when Gravely introduced its replacement: the 800 series tractors, which gained popularity in the consumer market. This tractor had eight speeds, with four speeds each in low and high range, with engine options ranging from a cast-iron 10 horsepower Kohler single-cylinder, to an 18 horsepower cast-aluminum twin-cylinder Onan. The 800 series was replaced with the 8000 series by 1978, which offered more powerful engine configurations and an improved hydraulic lift option, yet retained the eight-speed transaxle.

The 8000 series remained in production until 1987, when it was replaced by the professional-grade "G" series. The G series ended production in 2004.

The eight-speed transaxle was standard on all 800 and 8000 series tractors, with the engine being the only significant difference. Its rear-engine mounting and simple construction also allowed Gravely owners to service and even upgrade their engines on their own.

Gravely also released an economy version of tractor in 1970, featuring a belt-driven 4-speed transmission and eight-horsepower engine, known as the 408. This did not sell nearly as well as the popular all-gear units and was discontinued in 1977, when it was replaced with a heavy-duty professional grade of tractor known as the 900 series. Another tractor of this type, called the 9000 series was also released later that same year and replaced the 900 the following year until production ended in 1982. This tractor, much larger than the 8000 series and its predecessors, was equipped with a 27-horsepower I-4 water-cooled Continental engine.

However, in recent years, Gravely has re-released an economy version of riding tractor, modeled on the same principle as MTD-manufactured units, and like the 408, do not have the all-gear construction, but drive belts. The all-gear tractors remain the company's top sellers, and are a popular choice for heavy duty commercial and institutional use. Gravely has also offered a Briggs and Stratton engine option as well. Because of the durability of the all-gear configurations, it's not uncommon for owners to get decades of service from their tractor, with regular maintenance.
[edit] Gravely today

As of 2006, Gravely Tractor provides a full line of power lawn implements, including zero-turn riding mowers, reel mowers, and grass trimmers. Gravely today is a division of Ariens. Gravely products today continue to be sold exclusively through its dealer network, rather than discount retail home improvement and department stores.
 

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It sure reads like the Wikipedia page.
 

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If you're moderating it, I think I mentioned here before that more substance w.r.t. the available engine configurations for the G-series would be nice. Of course, this changed towards the end of the run with the Subaru Robin EH and Briggs being added.
 

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Wonder why no one mentions the 1238's? I know they're not as big as the Professionals, or G's...but they're still Gravelys!

I need to take some pics of mine, I just got the hood back on it and washed up...only thing that needs work now is the seat.

Matt
 

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Wonder why no one mentions the 1238's? I know they're not as big as the Professionals, or G's...but they're still Gravelys!

I need to take some pics of mine, I just got the hood back on it and washed up...only thing that needs work now is the seat.

Matt
Mainly because they are rebadged Ariens units.

on Ron's site shows the back of mine.
 

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See, i didn't know this. Someone told me before that this model was made in 1986 and was before Ariens took over. Thanks again for the info Fla Don.

PS. I see how that seat mounts up now...a little different than mine, lol.

Matt
 
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