Pioneer Tractor Co. Lives and Dies Full of Mysteries
The Setran brothers from rural Douglas, N.D., hauling five wagons full of wheat using their Pioneer 30-60, circa 1915. This stylish tractor had a glassed-in cab, 8-foot-tall drive wheels and could cut a 32-foot swath of grain at one time. Its cooling system had a 27-gallon capacity! (Photo courtesy of Richard Birklid collection.)
Pioneer Tractor Mfg. Co. trumpeted the features of its tractors in advertisements for the machines. "The Pioneer motor and all working parts are entirely housed with sheet steel hoods, nicely finished, with brass hinges and side lids equipped with handles and catches," this advertisement boasted.
This stylized drawing of the Pioneer 18-36 at work bragged that Pioneer had been, "In the field since the dawn of the tractor industry."
This 1918 advertisement shows the Pioneer 15-30 Special, a 3-speed kerosene tractor with a 4-cylinder, 4-cycle, horizontally-opposed engine with a 5-1/2-by-6-inch bore and stroke.
This is one of the few running Pioneer 30-60s in existence, shown during a parade at the annual Albany (Minnesota) Pioneer Days.
This overhead view of a Pioneer tractor highlights the machine's different features, including the ease of access to the tractor's various operating levers.
This photo from a 1910 advertisement shows a Pioneer 30-60 "cutting a 32-foot swath" of grain in North Dakota.