Steam engine and gas tractor

Courtesy of Office of Public Affairs, University of California, Davis, Cal. 95616.

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Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750

In the last three issues we've been studying the successful old tractors made from 1910 on. All were equipped with heavy duty slow speed engines, heavy geared and used largely for threshing and plowing.

The J.I. Case Co. noted for their steam engines and threshing equipment, built from 1911 to 1917 a 30--60 tractor using a kerosene burning two cylinder twin Horiz. engine one speed forward at two M.P.H. Won a gold metal at Winnipeg for large kerosene burning models --two good ones left in North Dakota yet.

From 1912 to 1919 came their 20 -- 40. Engine was a two cyl. opposed 8-3/4by 9 at 475 RPM. two speed, weighing 13780#. Until 1913 both models used engines coming from the Davis Motor Co. of Milwaukee. After 1913, they built their own engines, shown at Winnipeg in 1912. Price in 1918 was $3000. The 20--40 became very popular and put Case on the map. I can account for thirty five around yet, and one can be found at most of our good shows. More about Case's smaller models later.

The Avery Co. of Peoria, Ill. were also makers of steam engines and the Yellow Fellow separators. From 1911 to 1916 they built a 20-35 two cyl. opposed 7' 3/4 times 8' at 350 RPM with old style square radiator that looked similar to an Oil Pull. Pictures in an Oct. 1911 Thresherman's Review as being just out. They apparently used either a round and sometimes a square radiator that first year. Replaced in 1916 by the 18--36 using a four cyl. opposed engine. One with a round radiator was pictured as being tested at Winnipeg in 1912 on both gasoline and kerosene. They had a branch house in Billings, Mont. in 1911.

My 30 HP Mogul engine. This engine came in a 1913 15--30 Mogul tractor which was used for belt work around Jewel, Ohio. During the scrap drive in W.W. II it was condemned for scrap. The engine was removed and hidden. They got the rest. Wesley Leach of Defiance, Ohio got ahold of it and I got it from him. It has a 9 X 14 cylinder at 335 rpm. It's ready to go after the cooling tank is put back on. I might add that Wesley Leach is an authority on old tractors and gas engines. His collection is at a Augloize Valley Museum which he was instrumental in forming and maintaining.

In 1910 they entered an experimental tractor at Winnipeg that had a one cyl. eng 12X18 at 350 RPM. But it seems it was withdrawn on the drawbar test.

In 1913 they made a 40--80 using two 20--35 engines on a larger chassis, making them a four cylinder engine. They used the round tubular radiator, with draft induction. This type of cooling was used on all models until 1924. The 40-80 weighed 20,000# and in 1915 sold for $2475. The price was raised later. Must have learned of inflation.

In 1913 came the 25--50 using two 12--25 engines on a 30--35 chassis. This made it a four cylinder. In 1915 sold for $2145, f.o.b., Peoria. I think my father paid $2300 for his in 1919. This was a very successful and popular tractor. Pulled a 32' separator and a five bottom plow.

In 1924 they changed the 40--80 to 45--65 and changed the radiator to a core type, using a fan for cooling. Avery tractors were popular and well accepted by the trade. There are about 35 or more 40--80's and 45--65's left yet. The management of the company seemed unable to change their ideas with the changing times and mechanical improvements which is and was a shame, because Avery carried a very good name. Their Yellow Fellow separators were among the best, no pitch forks stopped them. I can account for about 125 tractors of various sizes left. We own two ourselves. The Avery Co. closed down in 1926. Went thru two re-organizations, and finally quit in 1941.

Up to now you will notice most of our successful old tractors were two cylinders. For those who wanted more cylinders they could turn to the Twin City Line. The Minneapolis Steel and Machine Co. of Mpls. was organized in 1902. They started making tractors in 1908. They were engaged in making structural and bridge steel. Also they built tractors under contract for The Bull Tractor Co. and The C. McVicker Eng. Co. of Mpls. For McVicker they built a few 50--140 H.P. 250 RPM 4 cyl. vert. and looked like a Twin City. Also a 30 -- 70, and 15--40. They built the Bull Tractor from 1913 to 1918 for the Bull Tractor Co.

HISTORICAL EXHIBIT - Some of the materials from the F. Hal Higgins Library of Agricultural Technology was displayed for members of the Association for Living Historical Farms and Agricultural Museums [ALHFAM] and participants in a symposium on Agriculture in the Development of the Far West at the University of California, Davis, June 16-21. Shown viewing part of the exhibit are, left to right, Earl Pomeroy, history, University of Oregon; Paul W. Gates, history, Cornell University; and Leonard Arrington, historian, Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

See model steam engine and gas tractor on table.

From now on T.C. means Twin City.

In 1910 or 11 came T.C. 40-65 7-1/4-9' 4 cyl. Vert. In 1911, T.C. 50; 1913 T.C. 15; 1914 T.C. 16--30 which replaced the T.C. 15. It had a 4 cyl. vert. L. head 5X7 1/4 eng. 1915 T.C. 10-- 20, a Tricycle type, one drive, also made as a standard model.

In 1916 came the T.C. 60 -- 90. 6 cyl. vert. 7' 1/4 9'. Notice the bore and stroke as the 40--65, except two more cylinders. The T.C. 40-- 65 was their big seller. It was quite a deal. Very big, heavy and massive. The company tried their best to fill the market, for such a heavy tractor and seemed to succeed. I noticed once in one of the threshing magazines where a T.C. 40--80 was used in 1917 by Coolidge and Allen at Taber, Alberta, Can. Nothing was said of the company having made that size, but they must have made a few. That would have been something to see. According to a 1921 Tractor year book they changed their name to the Twin City Tractor Co. After that they made smaller lighter tractors and were quite active and still are under The White Motor Co.

There are still over a dozen 40-- 65's left and two 60--90's. One belongs to Elmer Larson of Moorhead, Minn. and Norman Pross of Luverne, N.D. The other belongs to the Western Development Museum at Yorkton, Sask. There may be more than two, but I'm not sure of them.