Big Four 30

Courtesy of Rolland E. Maxwell, Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750.

Rolland E. Maxwell

Content Tools

Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750

In 1909 The Avery Co. of Peoria, Ill. who had become well known for their steam engines of long standing, came out with a combined tractor truck. It was rated 12-36 H.P. Had a 4 cylinder motor and looked like a truck. Had solid rear wheels which were studded with wooden plugs. There were also extension rims with lugs attached that could be fastened to the rear wheels for field work. A drawbar for field work was available, as was a belt pulley attachment. When I was nine years old, there was one used at a big apple orchard just north of the country school I attended.

I can well remember watching it go past the school loaded with barreled apples or cider on its way to the railroad station, where the load was shipped to some produce dealer in the city. It was chain and sprocket driven and had a top speed of about twelve miles per hour. The first few years it was used to disk the orchard, but was later replaced by a 12-25 Avery tractor.

The Imperial Machine Co. of Minneapolis, Minn, came out in 1910 with a 40-70 H.P. tractor called the Imperial. There is still one of these left in North Dakota or Montana.

In 1910 The Gas Traction Co. made the Big Four '30'. It had very high rear wheels and a furrow guide. Later a larger size was made and was well received. They were exhibited at the Winnipeg contest. The company was taken over by the Emmerson Braningham Co. in 1912 or 1913, who continued production for some time under the Big Four name.

In 1910 The Heider Co. of Carroll, Iowa brought out their Heider C 12-20 and model D 9-18 friction drive with chain sprocket final drive, but later changed to gear drive but retained the friction part. This company was later taken over by the Rock Island Plow Co. of Rock Island Ill. who continued the business for a number of years. It became a popular line and was the first tractor to have a fully mounted plow with a mechanical lift. Sold for $995 in 1916.

In 1911 The Universal Tractor Co. of Stillwater, Minn, came out with a four wheel tractor with a two cylinder opposed motor of 20-40 H.P. The Minneapolis Threshing Mach. Co. bought the output for about four years and called them the Minneapolis Universal. They showed this tractor at the Winnipeg contest for several years. In 1916 Rumely bought out the company and changed the name to Gas Pull and lowered the rating to 15-30 H.P. Believe it or not I can account for ten Universals today, mostly Minneapolis here in the United States and Canada. One was shown at the Dalton, Minn, in 1969.

In 1910 Aultman-Taylor, another old steam engine Co. started with a 30-60 4 cylinder, twin headed Horiz. engine. Mechanical oiler, high tension mag. They had a compressed air starting device. This line became very popular and successful. I can account for at least thirty-six of these tractors today.

Case and Fairbanks Morse started building tractors in the large sizes. Case brought out the 20-40 two cylinder opposed motor in 1912. One was shown at Winnipeg in 1912. They sold well.

Minneapolis Steel and Machine Co. started making the Twin City 40-65 which made good. 1911 saw the new Avery 20-35 and in a few years the 12-25 and 25-50. The Pioneer Tractor Co. of Winona, Minn, founded the family of Pioneer tractors. I saw a 30-60 at Saskatoon, Sask. that had rear wheels over eight feet tall and pulled ten plows. They quit production about 1919.

In 1912 The Waterloo Gas Tractor Co. of Waterloo, Iowa came out with their Waterloo Boy Model R 12-24 one speed each way and a year or two later they brought out Model N 12-25 with two speeds forward. John Deere bought this company in 1918 and continued Waterloo Boys until they made the John Deere Model D in 1923.

1913 was a big year for new tractor names. More new makes and models appeared than any year so far. You would be bored if I mentioned all the new ones that showed up. I will only mention a few, not necessarily the best, but the ones best remembered.

The Bull 5-12 two cylinder opposed. One big drive wheel in rear and one idle one on left side. One in front to guide. Two plow. They were too small so in 1915 a larger one called the Big Bull was made. A three plow. For a while these tractors were very popular, because of their size and price. In one year they produced more tractors than any other single model. A dealer in Ottawa Co. Kansas sold thirteen small Bulls in one year for $395 each. The big Bull sold for about $795. They quit production about 1920.

In 1913 The Wallis Tractor Co. of Cleveland, Ohio and Racine, Wis. made the Wallis Cub 26-44. 4 cylinder Vert, motor set in a U frame made of boiler plate which housed the engine, transmission and rear end gearing. This was something new and was to be copied by most of the other companies. In 1915 a Wallis Cub equipped with solid rubber tires made a thousand mile trip from Cleveland, Ohio to Fremont, Nebr. where they were holding a tractor demonstration. It averaged four miles per hour pulling a loaded Mitchell wagon over all kinds of roads. At the Fremont with steel wheels on, it pulled a four bottom Case plow and established a record by plowing three acre in seventy-seven minutes. In 1916 they came out with the Wallis Cub Jr. Model J 12-25. 4 cylinder Waukesha motor. High tension Mag. impulse starter, 2? to 4 M.P.R. Still one wheel in front, cranked on the side with a bar. My father bought a used one in 1919 and it was a good three bottom outfit.

Just to mention a few of the tractors that came out in 1914. Mogul 8-16 single cylinder. Titan 10-20. Townsend, Reeves 40., Allis Chalmers 10-18, a three wheeled job. Huber 30-60, Case 10-20, La Crosse Happy Farmer 12-25, 2 cylinder twin, Hart-Parr Little Devil 15-22 two cylinder, two cycle. Moline Universal 6-12, a 2 cylinder opposed model F. In 1917 the Model D 4 cylinder using battery Ign, and starting. Titan 12-25. In 1913 the Leader 12-18 2 cyl. opposed. Case 12-25 two cyl. opposed. Hoke 15-30 two big drive wheels in front for traction. Common Sense 20-40 and a 15-25 for $1095.

1912 Big Four 30. Taken at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

1916 Bates Steel Mule. Taken at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan by Rolland E. Maxwell.

1912 Fairbanks-Morse. Taken at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.