THE SAMSON TRACTOR

Leroy Quandt
May/June 1970
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Courtesy of Leroy Quandt, Ryder, North Dakota 58779
Leroy Quandt
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One of the Samson tractors made by the Samson Tractor Company of Janesville, Wisconsin, Division of General Motors Corporation was the Model 'D' -- The Iron Horse. It was a four wheel drive, short turn tractor that drives with lines, like a team of horses. It is advertised to do the work of three horses at less cost and also furnished belt power. The price to user - $630 F.O.B. Janesville, Wisconsin, according to the 1920 issue of Tractor and Gas Engine Review. There is a two page spread describing this tractor along with several pictures.

R. B. Gray, in his 'Development of the Agriculture Tractor in the United States, Part I,' has the following description: 4 cylinder vertical motor, high tension ignition; transmission belt drive; forward and reverse speeds with independent control for each side of tractor. There was no differential needed and all four wheels were drivers, chain and sprocket final drive. Controls were by levers acting as belt tighteners to which could be attached reins, permitting it to be operated from a distance as from a corn planter or binder.

Another article in the June 1920 issue of Tractor and Gas Engine Review is on the Samson Model 'M.' This is a detailed description of a farmer's experiences with this tractor. He purchased the model 'M' on June 10, 1919.

The Nebraska test No. 27 in June 1920 for the Model 'M' Samson Engine No. 13490 and chassis No. 12784 gives the following information: Rated load brake horsepower 17.20, rated load draw-bar horsepower 9.32, specifications -- engine four cylinder vertical, L-head bore 4', stroke 5?', rated speed 1100 rpm. Chassis four wheel, rated speeds; low gear 2.3 mph, high gear 3.19 mph. Total weight 3300 pounds.

The Samson 'M' chassis No. 4030 pictured was donated to the Makoti Threshing Association by Louis Wahner, Parshall, North Dakota and restored by Alvid and Art Anderson, Makoti. It was bought new by B. L. Wahner, Parshall in 1920 from Joe Rensch, Makoti for about $650.

These two tractors were made by the Samson Tractor Company of Janesville, Wisconsin, a division of the General Motors Corporation. General Motors purchased the Samson Sieve Grip Tractor Company of Stockton, California in 1917, which no doubt, had built several models prior to this time. 'The Tractor Operating Book and Directory' of 1919 shows two Samson tractors built by the Samson Tractor Company of Pontiac, Michigan, a division of General Motors.

R. B. Gray, in his 'Development of the Agricultural Tractor in the United States, Part II,' explains the General Motors Corporation and its venture with the Samson tractor in the three different plants, all making tractors at the same time. In 1922, the General Motors Corporation discontinued building the Samson tractor.

I would like to collect serial numbers for the various years, models and makes of old tractors prior to 1940 and have them all printed in one book. Is anyone else interested in having this done? I have serial numbers on the Model D John Deere, McCormick Deerings and Farmall tractors. If anyone would care to send me a serial number they may have for other makes, I will try to compile them for a book.

The weather was rather brisk and the attendance at the Makoti Threshing and Antique Show was again above expectations this year. There were about one hundred ten units in the parade. Fifty-one of these were kerosene tractors, four flat beds with stationary engines, seven steam engines, twenty-nine cars and trucks and the rest was various old-time machinery. The 1969 edition of our show booklet is now available.

This picture is in Makoti, North Dakota in 1920, showing Leo Lampert (deceased) on the Samson-Iron horse. This is the only model of this tractor that Joe Rensch, dealer in Makoti, ever had and it was called back by the company.

Another 9,000 pound, 82 inch diameter flywheel has arrived at R & T Museum, Kinzer, Pennsylvania, through the efforts of John Wilcox of 47 Deland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, 43214. He is shown here greasing the shiny parts. He has just completed an 18 cubic foot concrete foundation for this 125 hp. two cylinder 15 x 23 Miller engine built in 1914 at Springfield, Ohio. You can always find John rolling the big wheels at all of the R & T shows at Kinzer, Pennyslvania. His engines are always in excellent condition and run smoothly.

Peter Baerg of Buttertieid kept a close watch over the large collection of engines exhibited by John Pankratz of Mt. Lake.


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