Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Route I, Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin 53578

Verne W. Kindschi

Content Tools

Route I, Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin 53578

The comments on the Otto Gas Engine in the past issues of GEM have been very interesting to me. I feel that someone should write an article about them for GEM. Certainly there are a number of fellows who could do this, including T. H. Krueger. I'm sure such an article would be of great interest to those of us who do not know much about the Otto.

I have run across several pictures of early Otto Tractors in some of my old magazines. Picture Number f was taken out of the July, 1935 Farm Power Magazine. There was no other explanation about this picture than what was written below and on the picture.

The American Thresherman. Besides what was written below the picture they included this short article.

The First Tractor Built in 1896

Sometimes the year 1901 is given as the dale when the first gas tractor was built. However, this picture shows that such is not the ease. The original gas tractor, made by the Otto Engine Works, was constructed in Philadelphia in 1896. This motor was used around the yards in Philadelphia for switching and hauling. A year later this company built motors of a slightly different type. These were shipped out to Minneapolis, one going to Hope, N.D., and another to some town in Minnesota. Perhaps some other reader will remember having seen these Otto tractors, which were naturally a great curiosity to farmers of the west.

The Otto tractor required about 22-horse power on the brake. This was considered remarkably good for that period, as the tractor had only one cylinder and operated at the relatively slow speed of 375 R.P.M. The picture shows that this machine was very heavy for the horse power which it developed. Compare it to any 10-20 tractor of the present day if you doubt this statement.

I have always been under the impression that Hart-Parr built the first tractors, but guess this proves differently.

The above represents a tractor made in 1896. It shows one of the very first gas tractors built. It did a fairly good job of belt work, but was of little practical use for plowing.

Otto Gas Tractor, Made in 1897 at Philadelphia, Was Shipped to Hope, N.D.