The Gasoline Traction Engine For General Farm Purposes

Oil Pull, Red River Separator Tractors'

Courtesy of Mr. W. C. Kuhl, Jr., 464 So. 5th. St., Sebewaing, Michigan 48759.

Mr. W. C. Kuhl Jr.

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This article was sent to us by O. M. Fredrich, 131 Parkview Trailer Court, Minot, North Dakota (Mr. Fredrich received permission from the editor, William H. Kircher, of THE FARMER for us to re-print this in our Gas Engine Magazine).

Taken from THE FARMER, Dated November 1, 1907

There has always been a great demand on the farm for more and better labor saving machinery. And, perhaps, no other machine, recently invented, has done so much to take the drudgery out of farm life as has the gasoline engine. Its popularity on the farm becomes evident when we consider how fast it is replacing the other sources of power on the farm.

The first sources of power used on the farm were the old fashioned windmills, tread mills, and horse powers. Then later on, came the steam traction engine and at the present we have the gasoline traction engine; and it is fast displacing steam and horses on the farm.

For hauling loads on the road, the value of the gasoline engine cannot be overestimated. When going up or down hill there is no water to run to the ends of the boiler and leave the tubes or crown sheet bare and thereby cause them to burn out. The weight is evenly distributed on the wheels so that when going up hill, under a heavy load, the engines does not rear up in front as a steam engine sometimes does.

In seeding, the gasoline engine has the advantage over a steam engine in that it is so much lighter. It does not pack the soil as h a r d and has no tender to haul around the field which would help to further pack the soil.

A twenty-two horse power gasoline engine will pull two common graders or one of the large elevating graders and do it easily. It is much easier to get around with, as there is no tender to bother with.

In threshing the ordinary steam engine takes about half an hour to set. First it takes a long time to turn with it on account of the tender, straw rack, etc., and then the engine has to be leveled up, which means that the wheels have to be dug down or blocked up, which requires a great deal of time. With the gasoline engine no time is lost in setting the engine, as it will run no matter in what position it is set, and there being no tender or straw rack to bother with, it requires only about one-third of the time to set, that a steam engine would. After the engine is started, when threshing, it requires no more attention except oiling and, if help is sccarce, the man that runs the engine can also run the separator.

In the winter time the engine can be used for grinding feed, sawing wood, pumping water, etc. In this way a farmer could make use of his engine the whole year around instead of having it stand idle the greater part of the year.

With all these advantages so clearly in favor of the gasoline traction engine, it may be confidently stated that it is at the present time the most economical power available for general farm purposes, and it takes no great foresight to predict that in a few years it will practically replace the steam engine.

The gasoline engine may be defined as an internal combustion engine. The first form of this type was the powder engine invented by Huyghens in 1680. This engine was not a success and other machines were designed, but the real practical demonstration which proved that the gasoline engine could be made a success was made by Lenoir in 1860; and in a few years later, Hugon, Liemens, Boulton, Crosby and Dr. Otto designed engines that proved them a success beyond a doubt.

This is the 30 x 50 Oil Pull and 28 inch Red River Separator owned by Floyd Kuhl, Caro, Michigan. This was taken at the Saginaw Live Steam Meet in Caro in August, 1965.

Utah One cylinder gas engine that is thought to be an Economy. I have five one cylinder gas engines in my collection of antique machinery.

A gas engine is a prime mover, that gets its power from the combustion of a mixture of gas and air in the cylinder, in the proper proportion to form an explosion. This explosion is made by compressing the gas and air and igniting it at the proper moment. This causes a great heat in the cylinder and causes the air to expand, and this expansion drives a piston forward in the cylinder and, in this manner it derives its power.

The stationary and small portable gasoline engines have been in use a number of years, but the traction engine is comparatively new and therefore its good qualities are unknown to many people, and so they do not fully appreciate its usefulness because they do not understand it.

In plowing the gasoline engine has many advantages over steam which will be discussed in the following paragraphs.

While the steam engine has achieved some measure of success it is hampered by many inherent difficulties which are recognized by all builders of such engines. In the first place, it requires a considerable force of men and horses to keep it in operation, and to supply it with fuel and water. It is usually the case where traction engine plowing is most desirable that fuel is high priced and the water unfit for boiler purposes and has to be hauled a long distance. It requires two or more teams to keep it supplied with water and fuel, and besides the engine stands idle 20 percent of the time taking on water and fuel. In the second place the steam engine is hampered by its excessive weight. The weight of an ordinary steam plowing engine is from 30,000 to 40,000 pounds and when the ground is wet and soft these engines cannot be transported over the ground and therefore must stand idle during the best plowing season of the year. The gasoline engine on the other hand, weighs only about 19,000 pounds and can work successfully when the average steam engine would be useless. A first class steam engine, one built especially for plowing, with the necessary hitches, couplings, etc, for attachment to plows, will cost about $2,500, in North Dakota. The operating expenses of a steam engine are as follows: One ton of coal $7.50. Licensed engineer who steers $5.00; Fireman who also handles plows $2.00; Water and coal hauling, two men and two teams, $8.00; board of four men at 50 cents a per day, $2.00; Board of four horses at 25 cents per day, $1.00; Lubricating oil, 50 cents. This makes the total daily operating expenses $26.00. The cost of a gasoline engine equipped for plowing with hitches, etc., is about $2,500. The cost of operating a gasoline engine is as follows; Forty gallons of gasoline at 20 cents per gallon, $8.00, or if kerosene is used it will cost 13 cents per gallon of $5.20 per day. Engineer who also steers, $4.00; Plowman, $2.00; Board of two men at 50 cents per day, $1.00; Lubricating oil, 50 cents. Total daily operating expenses $12.70. This shows a saving of $13.30 in favor of the gasoline engine for one day's operation. For sixty days, which is the average season's run a saving of $798.00 is realized. From this it can be easily seen that the first cost of the engine can be easily saved in a few years. The gasoline engine, it is true requires oil for operating, and also requires a team to haul this oil, but it does not require a team all day, or everyday. A tank could be had that would hold enough for a week's run, and then it would only require a trip to town o n c e a week to get oil.

Illinois 1925 15-27 Model D, Serial Number 32,724. Bore 63/4 inch and 7 inch stroke. Engine RPM 800. Two speeds ahead and one speed reverse.

Here is a picture of a Huber Super 4 serial No. 7102 built in March of 1924. This tractor stood idle for 28 years until I bought it in 1963. The engine is owned by Edward Axthelm, of Cardington, Ohio.

Some people think that plowing with a traction engine is all right for the very large farmer, but is not adapted to the small farms. This is a wrong idea, because a piece of land containing even twenty-five acres can be plowed in this wholesale way.

For hauling loads on the road, the value of the gasoline engine cannot be overestimated. When going up or down hill there is no water to run to the ends of the boiler and leave the tubes or crown sheet bare and thereby cause them to burn out. The weight is evenly distributed on the wheels so that when going up hill, under a heavy load, the engines does not rear up in front as a steam engine sometimes does.

In seeding, the gasoline engine has the advantage over a steam engine in that it is so much lighter. It does not pack the soil as h a r d and has no tender to haul around the field which would help to further pack the soil.

A twenty-two horse power gasoline engine will pull two common graders or one of the large elevating graders and do it easily. It is much easier to get around with, as there is no tender to bother with.

In threshing the ordinary steam engine takes about half an hour to set. First it takes a long time to turn with it on account of the tender, straw rack, etc., and then the engine has to be leveled up, which means that the wheels have to be dug down or blocked, up, which requires a great deal of time. With the gasoline engine no time is lost in setting the engine, as it will run no matter in what position it is set, and there being no tender or straw rack to bother with, it requires only about one-third of the time to set, that a steam engine would. After the engine is started, when threshing, it requires no more attention except oiling and, if help is sccarce, the man that runs the engine can also run the separator.

In the winter time the engine can be used for grinding feed, sawing wood, pumping water, etc. In this way a farmer could make use of his engine the whole year around instead of having it stand idle the greater part of the year.

With all these advantages so clearly in favour of the gasoline traction engine, it may be confidently stated that it is at the present time the most economical power available for general farm purposes, and it takes no great foresight to predict that in a few years it will practically replace the steam engine.

NEWS ITEM On January 30, 1966 a meeting was held in Portland, Indiana with 15 interested men attending to organize a new gasoline engine and tractor club which is to be called the Tri-State Gasoline Engine and Tractor Association. Anyone wishing to obtain membership may do so by writing Morris Titus, R. R. 2, Pendleton, Indiana 46064. Those owning gas engines or tractors may obtain active membership. Dues are $2.00. Those not owning gas engines or tractors may obtain associate membership - dues are $1.00. Please support this new club and help the interest and preservation of gasoline and tractors grow. Woody Turner, Pres., and Morris Titus, Sec.-Treas.