As I saw it XXIII

Possession of an old tractor

Courtesy of Ronnie Kruger, Stettler, Alberta

Ronnie Kruger

Content Tools

Rt. 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750

1917 Bates Steel Mule made at Joliet, Illinois. Extended steering wheel and controls allowed the operator to sit on his own horse drawn plow, disk, etc. Not too popular. They tipped over easily. Picture taken at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Courtesy of Rolland E. Maxwell, Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 4675

The Garr Scott Co. of Richmond, Ind. had made a lot of good Steam engines, Threshing Separators, and Saw Mills. They got into the Tractor field in 1910 and made a big tractor called the Tiger Pull. I've been told there were 109 built. Another source said less than two hundred were built. At first in 1911 they were rated 40-70, but later increased to 40-80. April 1912 Thresherman's Review ad lists 40-80 Tiger Pull, 4 cyl. 7-3/4 x 10 Vert, in line eng, last year made. Norman Pross, Luverne N.D. owns the only one I ever saw and I think the only one left. Showed at Rollin, Minn. Sold out to Rumley in 1912.

The Huber Mfg. Co. of Marion, Ohio made between 1911 and 1917 about 550 Huber 30-60's using a big 4 cyl. vertical in line engine. Bought their transmission, gearing and maybe some other parts from The Gas Traction Co. who made the Big Four. They looked very similar to the Big Four. 30', and cranked from the rear with a bar. There are three left and Art Bayliss of Enderlin N.D. shows his at Rollag N.D. Huber built a lot of smaller tractors later that will be taken up sooner or later.

The Pioneer Tractor Co. of Winona, Minn, started in 1911 building a Pioneer 30-60 using a four cyl. double opposed horiz. 7 x 8' cyl. at 650 R.P.M. The rear drive wheels were eight feet high. This tractor had a cab and would pull from 8 to 10 plows. They were very powerful and it was quite a tractor in its day. Elmer Larsen of Moor-head, Minn, shows his at Rollag, Minn, each fall. Later Pioneer built a 15-30 Special using a 4 cyl. horiz. opposed engine 5-1/2 x 6 and would pull four plows. Just when it came out I'm not sure but was adv. in 1919. Also at the same time they built a 18-36 4 cyl. Horiz. opposed 5-1/2 x 6' at 750 RPM. This took the place of the 15-30.

Some time in 1913 the company built several experimental tractors using a 6 cyl. Horiz. opposed engine of the same bore and stroke as the 30-60. These tractors were rated 45-90 and had rear wheels nine feet tall. They did not go into production, and the company quit in 1920.

In 1910 Buffalo Pitts rated 35-70, using a three cyl. vert, engine set in line and were chain driven with one wheel in front. In 1914 they used a Twin City 40-65 four cyl. engine Vert, but cross mounted and were rated 40-65. They used a round tubular radiator with fan and used internal closed bull gears and pinions and put two wheels in front instead of one. How many were made and for how long I'm not sure. The Nov. 1910 issue of Thresherman's Review shows a picture of one plowing.

In 1908 and 1910 The Imperial Mach. Co. of Mpls. built nine 40-70's using a 4 cyl. double opposed engine at 400 RPM's with rear wheels eight feet tall. There are still three left and I have seen the one at New Rockford, N.D. thresh. They were quite a tractor.

The first Gray tractor was built in or near Rochester N.Y. in 1910 with a four cyl. eng. and two wide drive wheels. In 1914 they started production in Mpls., Minn, using a wide drum the width of the tractor, being chain driven off of a cross mounted vertical engine. There was a metal top over the engine and driving drum.

In 1916 they were making a Model 13 in 15-25 and Model A in 20-35 H.P. In 1917 a 18-36 using a 4 cyl. Waukesha 4 3/4 x 6-3/4 engine. The rear driving drum was 54' wide and 54' in diameter. There was no differental, no bevel gears, driven by a large roller chain from the engine to the rear drum. Price was $2250 F.O.B.Factory. This was quite a good tractor and there are quite a few around yet. Earl Olsen of Concrete N.D. has a good one.

A new company was organized in 1925, and a larger 22-40 called a Canadian Special was made for a few years.

There were several other companies making large tractors in the east but not enough of them were made, and mostly used in the eastern states and mostly for belt work.

The Best Co. and Holt Co. made caterpillar tractors during these years. The Best Co. made at least four types of tractors with high wheels in the rear and one wheel in the front, but they soon turned to crawler or caterpillar in the rear, with one wheel in front and then took it off and became straight caterpillar.

The same can be said of Holt of Peoria, Ill. In 1911 they showed a 45 H.P. with two high wheels in rear and one in front. By 1913 they had crawler in rear and one wheel in front. These they made using a 6 cyl. 7-1/8 x 8 at 550 RPM and were rated at 70-120. They made a number of these and some were shipped to France in World War I, and used to pull big guns and general heavy hauling. Later Best and Holt Combined to become the Caterpillar Tractor Co. as of today.

I have not said much about crawler tractors, because they were not used much in agriculture at this time, at least east of the Rocky Mountains. They were used primarily in California and the pacific Northwest wheat country, where the rolling country was well suited to their use.

A number of companies built track layers and still do. In recent years their business has expanded because of their use in construction work of all kinds. The old Holt Co. was the first company to use Diesel engines in their tractors, and of course it is now universal. The Holt Company also pioneered in the making of combines, especially the large type first used west of the Rocky Mountains.

RUMELY BILL KRUMWIEDE of Voltaire North Dakota, buys and takes possession of an old tractor, you guessed it, another Ramey.

This unit completes Bill's ambition and dream to own an operatable machine of every model, series and size built by the Rumely Corporation, this one being a Type Y. 30X50 H.P.

The picture shows Bill, the new possessor and Lester Lohr of Erskine, Alberta Canada, the original owner and operator of this Rumely product. Lester Lohr purchased this tractor the spring of 1928 for a cash price of $3300.00, primarily to pull a brush breaker and as a power plant to operate a threshing machine. During the fourteen years that this tractor was used, it amassed an imposing total of approximately 1200 acres of heavy brush breaking, pulling a 24 inch brush breaker; furnished the power to operate a 32X56 Red River Special threshing machine for around a total of 300 days and did many days of field work mostly discing and plowing and many hours of belt work on a grain grinder. During all this time it is worthy of note that any maintenance work was confined to valves, connecting rod bearings, renewal of clutch facings, new sleeves, etc. All the gearing, main bearings, etc. still being the original installation, and still in perfect condition.

As the Rumely people only got a limited number of this series and size on the market, there are few in existence today.