THE TRACTOR WITH MANY NAMES

Skibo Tractor

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Ryder, North Dakota 58779

You can call the tractor Skibo, or you can call it Universal, or you can call it GasPull, or you can call it Minneapolis Universal Farm Motor, or you can call it American-Abell Universal.

This tractor was first made around 1909 or 1910 by the Union Iron Works of Minneapolis, Minnesota. This company advertised the tractor called a Skibo in 1912 as a 18-25 horsepower and priced at $1600.00. The frame of this machine is constructed of heavy channel steel securely rivated together and thoroughly braced with motor hung low on the frame. This brings the center of gravity close to the ground, making the machine very stable and affording no tendency to racking the frame, which is sometimes the case where the center of gravity is high from the ground.

The drive wheels are 61' in diameter and 20' wide. The power to drive the machine is delivered from the rim of the bull gear to the rim of the drive wheel. The steering device is the automobile type, quick in action and absolutely positive, requiring very little attention from the operator.

The engine used on this tractor is of the horizontal opposed type. The cylinders are 7? x 7? that run at 500 rpm. It is provided with a friction clutch belt pulley attached directly to the crankshaft. The belt pulley has a 9' face and 18' diameter. Ignition is high tension jump spark produced by a Remy magneto; five dry cells are used for starting. The motor is water-cooled, the water passes through a closed radiator by gravity flow. The radiator holds 26 gallons and is cooled by a 15?' diameter fan that turns at 2300 rpms.

The 50-gallon fuel tank is mounted on the front of the tractor frame. Two gears can be ordered for each of the two forward speeds thus giving four forward speeds of 2, 2?, or 2? and 3? miles per hour.

A December 1913 Gas Review has an ad by the Union Iron Works that calls the tractor the Universal Farm Tractor. The ad states the tractor will pull six 14-inch stubble plows or handle a 32-inch separator. This ad also states the tractor weighs a little over 10,000 pounds so can be run over soft ground and will not pack it.

 An article in The American Thresherman, September 1912, stated the Rumely Products Company has secured the sale of the two cylinder opposed gas tractor made by the Northwest Thresher Company at Stillwater, Minnesota.

This was a very successful small tractor which has been on the market for several years under the name of 'Universal.' This year the Rumely Products Company secured the right to sell this engine in Canada and is preparing to sell a large number in other countries next year. The Northwest Thresher Company continues to do the manufacturing. The name of the tractor has been changed to 'Gaspull' which is considered more distinctive and which fits well with the names 'Oilpull' and 'Tiger Pull' which have been given to other Rumely gas tractors.

The Universal Tractor Company of Stillwater, Minnesota was producing the 20-40 HP Universal beginning around 1910. The Universal Tractor Company may have been a part of the Northwest Thresher Company, also of Stillwater. At least by September of 1912, which is nearly a year after the Rumely Products Company purchased the Northwest Thresher Company, the tractor called 'Universal' was being sold by the Northwest Thresher Company.

Since this tractor had about the same power as the 15-30 Model F Oilpull, the Rumely Company reduced the rating to 15-30 and renamed it Gaspull. The weight of the tractor was now up to around 11,700 pounds, according to the Rumely Gaspull catalog. The Gaspull remained on the market until about 1917.

A 1914 Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company catalog from Hopkins, Minnesota shows this tractor as the Minneapolis Universal 20 HP Farm Motor. The two cylinder opposed engine, 7?' x 8' running at 500 rpms, is mounted horizontally just in front of the cab. The radiator and fan are mounted crossways behind the gasoline tank. The Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company marketed this Minneapolis Universal from about 1911 until 1915.

This tractor has been described as a poor design with plenty of bugs, while others state it was a very satisfactory tractor when used on the load it was designed to pull.

The tractor pictured is a Minneapolis Universal #854, a 1911 model, shown at the Dalton, Minnesota show. I know of six more Minneapolis Universal tractors still around and of ten of the Gaspull model. Four of these Gaspull tractors I know of are in North Dakota.