AN EXCELLENT BOOK ON TRACTORS FULL OF HISTORY AND PICTURES

1894 Van Duxan

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Route #1, Shell Lake, Wisconsin 54871.

The Agricultural Tractor 1855-1950 tells you just about everything you might want to know about the development of the tractor.

The information was compiled by R. B. Gray and the book was first published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is now published by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

The book is divided into two sections. The first section discusses mechanical farm power from its beginning until 1920. The second catalogs chronologically the development of both track and wheel type tractors through the year 1950.

Excellent photographs help make the book more than a listing of names and dates. Illustrations abound, and the information is further enhanced by charts showing comparative performances of various machines.

The opening of the West after the Civil War, for instance, and the need to break open the prairie soil, stimulated manufacturing.

In 1915 interest in tractors was fed by the increased demand for food products brought on by the First World War. As the United States got further into the war in 1917 and 1918 the farm tractor helped meet the problems of labor and animal shortage. About this time small, versatile tractors appeared on the market and tractor demonstrations were held in the Midwest. These demonstrations were valuable in publicizing the worth of tractors and in spreading knowledge about their performance.

After the Second World War emphasis was placed upon the development of attachments to help in planting, cultivating and mowing.

l-cylinder engine. Original Ignition was to start by blank cartridge and then depend on platinum tube which re tained heal, to Ignite next charge, later a parlor match. Ignited by the release of a spring, replaced the blank cartridge. Internal gear hi drive wheels and chant steer-Ing. This tractor somewhat resembled a steam outfit and even had a whistle.

In addition to giving year-to-year information about tractors and tractor manufacturers the book stresses highlights and historical events which played major roles in the growth of the farm machinery industry.

The first step in mechanical power farming was the invention of the 'steam' or traction engine. After McCormick invented the reaper in

1831 demand grew for belt power to thresh the grain crop which was now harvested mechanically. One thing led to another. Each invention brought on the need for another.

The next big step was the portable steam engine, then the self-propelled steam traction engine.

Although the origin of the internal combustion engine dates back to 1678, experiments were largely neglected for more than a century. In 1794 an Englishman, Robert Street, 'patented the first real engine,' using turpentine as the fuel.

In 1801, Frenchman Lebon D'Humbersin, called the father of the present-day engine, patented an explosion-type engine. With the N.A. Otto engine of 1876 the internal combustion engine began to look like a practical power unit.

4 cylinder vertical 30 H.P engine. Eight-foot drive wheels. Attachment on front of tractor is a self-guide device. The small wheel in front, which is attached by suitable rods to front axle drops into last furrow cut and keeps tractor in proper relation to furrow without assistance from operator.

10-20 H.P., 800 r.p.m., 4 cylinder Waukesha engine. Cooling system, radiator and fan; splash oiling,- Kingston carburetor: ignition, Kingston magneto and batteries; friction drive with seven speeds - road 4 m.p.h. and plowing 2-1/4 m.p.h

12-20 HP.. 900 r.p.m., 4 -cylinder Waukesha engine. Cooling, pump, fan, and tubular open tank; ignition, high-tension magneto with impulse starter; automatic splash lubrication: cone clutch; bevel-gear speed change; chain final drive to track drive sprocket shaft; one forward speed, 2-1/4 mp.hr

12-25 H.P., 1,000 r p.m., 4-cylinder vertical Buda engine. Lubrication, force feed through drilled crankshaft; cool-Ing, radiator pump, and fan; Ignition, high-tension magneto with impulse starter air cleaner, 3-plate disc clutch; sliding gear transmission; final drive, spar gear; 2 forward speeds. 1.63 and 2.68 m.p.h.

The development of the gasoline tractor was similar to that of the steam traction engine - first a stationary engine, then portable, then self-propelled. Gasoline burning tractors were being made in the 1890's, and in the early 1900's competition was strong between steam and gas tractor manufacturers.

In 1908 the public had its first real chance to compare 'steamers' and gas tractors in the field at the Winnipeg Trials held at the Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition in Canada.

1917 was a watershed year. Ford produced his first tractor, the Fordson. This was also the first tractor made of cast iron unit frame construction. Soon all manufactur ers followed suit. By August of 1920 Ford claimed to have sold 100,000 Fordsons.

In 1928 rubber casings were successfully used on wheels in the Florida orange groves to prevent root damage. In 1931 B. F. Goodrich

introduced a 'zero pressure' rubber tire which was a rubber arch on a perforated wheel base to be attached to steel tire drive wheels. In 1932 Firestone came out with pneumatic tires.

From 1920 to 1950 power farming showed a remarkable development. From the first crude machine there was a steady progression to the sophisticated general-purpose tractor with attachments. In 1950 there were nearly 4 million tractors on American farms.

In the competition between steam and gasoline the winner, of course, was gasoline. The competition between the two ideas was healthy, as was that between the big firms in the search for greater efficiency and better design of the tractor.

12-20 HP, 1.000 r.p.m.. 4-cyHnder vertical engine mounted longitudinally. Ignition, high-tension magneto with impulse starter; cast-iron frame, unit construction; sliding-gear . transmission; final drive, enclosed spur gear; belt pulley side mounted. 650 r.p.m.; forward speed, 2.2 to 2.9 m.p.h.

The development of the tractor has been a vital element in the growth of the United States, helping to make it one of the world's leading granaries. The Agricultural Tractor 1855-1950 tells us all about it, in concise, businesslike terms, with no chaff or fanfare. It is an honest, reliable, informative and important story of the growth of the tractor and of the great manufacturing firms which made these machines.

If you are interested in tractors, you should get this book.

$12.50 a copy, postpaid. Order from Stemgas Publishing Co., Box 328, Lancaster, Pa. 17604. Pennsylvania residents, include 6% sales tax.

You have a great magazine. I should have subscribed from the start but only learned of it from the listing in Classic Carbooks of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The enclosed clipping from an old magazine is of a tractor I cannot identify. I have an extensive collection of literature and instruction books on most tractors of the 30's and all from 40 and on, including tractor Red Books for 34-36-45-46-47-51 and later, but still I cannot identify it.

There is a lot of interest in old tractors and engines in this area with the Hungry Hollow Threshing and Engine Show each August and several collections. The best of the collections has to be that of Morris Blomgren, which must be seen to be believed.

My collection consists of books, literature and a 1948 S Case standard, not SG, which is in good condition, in use and probably rare, as I have never seen another one.

I wish your picture of the Silver King in the September-October 1975 Issue had been larger as in this area they are rare. I have only seen one real one but have literature on them.

My main interest is tractors of the 30's with interest centering on the Massay Harris 4-wheel drive. Would love to see an article with large sharp pictures and written by someone who has farmed with one. I also especially like KTA Moline and G.P. 32-35 John Deere.

Keep up the good work with lots of big sharp pictures of the tractors.