John Froelich was born in Froelich, Iowa a village named after his father. He attended school in Galena, Illinois and studied at the College of Iowa. After graduating, he and Will Mann a blacksmith designed and built the first gasoline-powered tractor to go both forward and reverse.
It was a 16-horsepower machine, they transported it to Langford, South Dakota. They attached it to a J.I. Case threshing machine. It was able to thresh 72,000 bushels in 52 days, quite an achievement in those days. He moved to St. Paul, Minnesota around 1895 where he developed a clothes-washing machine named the Froelich Neostyle Washer. It is in a museum in Froelich, Iowa. He died in 1933.
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