I recently acquired a 1950s-era all-steel Sears David Bradley trailer, and have been doing some research on it via the internet. With a lot of help from JohnnyC on this forum, who found many of the photos and newspaper ads below in online archives, and Joe Deyoung, who provided the pictures of his Ben-Hur trailer, some interesting information has come to light. Some of this involves a bit of conjecture on my part, so I'll try to indicate whenever I'm not sure about something. Forerunners: The Ben-Hur Trailers This story actually begins not with Sears, but with one of its competitors, Montgomery Wards. In 1946-47, Wards was carrying a basic two-wheel, all-steel trailer made by Ben-Hur Manufacturing of Milwaukee, Wisconsin: From 1941 to 1945, during WWII, the Ben-Hur Manufacturing Co. was one of the primary producers of the G518 military trailer. These extremely tough, versatile 1-ton trailers became commonly known as Ben Hur trailers. A picture of a Ben Hur is below (also see Ben Hur Story): In 1946, Ben-Hur developed a new trailer design for the civilian market which in many respects resembled a smaller-scale version of the one-ton military trailer. It featured all-steel construction, and had a 72" x 44" bed with a 1500 lb carrying capacity. This new civilian design was dubbed the Model 22-46, which was followed in 1947 by the (virtually identical?) Model 22-47. During that same time frame, Ben-Hur came out with the "Jiffy Camper", essentially a tent that could be installed on top of the trailer as an optional accessory. The following ads from the March and July 1947 issues of the farming trade journal Implement & Tractor were intended to encourage retailers to carry the new trailer and camper tent: This example of a Ben-Hur Model 22-46 owned by Joe Deyoung of Madison, Wisconsin appears to be largely original. The wheels are 15" rather than 16" as specified in the advertising for the Model 22-47 trailer above, but it's possible that the Model 22-46 was supplied with 15" wheels from the factory. Joe describes the trailer as being very sturdily built with the notable exception of the parking leg, which is rather flimsy. This may explain why it was later re-designed. Joe's Model 22-46 trailer is Serial No. 42-7379. I found a reference on the internet to another of the same model Ben-Hur trailer with s/n 42-11976, so it would appear that at least several thousand units of the Model 22-46 may have been produced. The Sears David Bradley Model 231-417 Trailer In 1946, the David Bradley Company was a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears. Most of the agricultural equipment Sears sold during the 1940's, 50's and early 60's was marketed under the David Bradley brand name, regardless of the actual source of manufacture. In part because Ben-Hur had developed a good design - and perhaps in part to beat Ward's to the punch - it appears that in late 1945 or early 1946, Sears may have contracted with Ben-Hur to produce their new trailer design for David Bradley. Alternatively, Sears may simply have bought the design rights from Ben-Hur, and had the David Bradley version made by another manufacturer. Just exactly what occurred isn't completely clear yet. In any case, judging by the apparent absence of further advertising of the trailer by Ben-Hur after 1947, they may have discontinued selling them under their own name at that point. The Ben-Hur 22-46 / 22-47 trailer appears to have essentially been re-badged to become the Sears David Bradley Model 231-417 trailer, with a few minor revisions. These included a redesign of the parking leg, a revision of the tailgate hinges, and the deletion of the spare tire bracket (assuming that the Ben-Hur indeed had a factory-installed bracket). The image below is from the Fall 1947 Sears Farm Catalog (courtesy of Sears' Historical Center Archives). This was among the earliest catalogs in which these trailers appeared. Instead of round military-style fenders like the Ben-Hur trailer had, the fenders on this model (at left) were what might be described as 'roadster' style. This change may have been made in an effort to make the Bradley trailer look more 'civvy'. The redesigned parking leg was offered as an option. Note that it "Makes a light truck out of a....jeep"! : It appears that Sears agreed to carry Ben-Hur's "Jiffy Camper" tent as part of the deal. Below at left is an early 1948 newspaper ad showing the Ben-Hur camper tent with a Sears David Bradley trailer, and at right is another ad from 1948 for the trailer itself: Although only the roadster type fenders were shown in the Sears catalog, some trailers were produced with round military-style fenders like the Ben-Hur models. These may in fact have been Ben-Hur branded trailers. The 1947 and 1948 Sears David Bradley trailers came standard with 16" wheels to carry 6.00 x 16 tires. Sometime in late 1948 or early 1949, the standard wheels offered by Sears were changed to 15" David Bradley tractor wheels, which had 4 holes for attaching wheel weights. Below at left is a photo of a two-wheel walk-behind David Bradley tractor - the product line the brand name was perhaps best known for - with this type of wheel. At right is an example of what may be an early round-fender David Bradley trailer with the same wheels, and beneath are close-ups of the tractor and trailer wheels: The underside of the same trailer showing the round axle: A few additional design changes appear to have occurred between 1947 and the early 1950's, including the change of the axle from a round tube to a rectangular channel, a revision of the attachment of the tongue to the front edge of the bed bottom, further revisions to the tailgate hinges, and a relocation of the data plate from the driver's side to the passenger's side of the front panel. Below at left is a 1950 newspaper ad, and at right, a page from a 1955 Sears Farm Catalog showing the trailer with the various optional accessories sold for it (including another parking leg variation): Typically, Sears priced these trailers without tires, but no doubt they were quite frequently sold with Sears Allstate tires installed at additional cost. For most buyers, getting tires put on at Sears would've been the simplest option to enable them to take their new 430 lb. trailer home. Allstate tires were often prominently featured on the trailer in advertising and catalog pictures, which may be why Sears' David Bradley trailers are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "Sears Allstate David Bradley" trailers. Another reason for the confusion may be that Sears also sold single-wheel trailers, as well as a different two-wheel trailer, under the Allstate brand name. Below is an image from the 1958 Sears Farm Equipment, Fencing, Garden and Suburban Catalog (courtesy of Sears' Historical Center Archives). Arlene May, Sears' archivist, determined that this was the last catalog in which this trailer was offered, marking the end of an 11 year production run. By that point in time, the coupler had been changed from a screw type to a lever type, 16" wheels were no longer offered, an aluminum top was available - and the price of the trailer had increased dramatically: Here are some "before" photos of my David Bradley trailer, Model 231-417, Serial No. 17415. I believe it was made in 1954: I bought this trailer from a friend whose grandfather purchased it new. I'm currently in the process of restoring it, and will post the "after" pictures as soon as it's done. If anyone else on this forum has a David Bradley Model 231-417 or Ben Hur Model 22-46 or 22-47 trailer, please make a post about it and include some photos. If you have a David Bradley trailer that still has the data plate attached, and/or if you happen to know the year it was manufactured, please visit the thread at http://www.earlycj5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=75658 and make a post there.