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THE SAMSON TRACTOR

Author Photo
By Leroy Quandt | May 1, 1970

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Courtesy of Leroy Quandt, Ryder, North Dakota 58779
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Courtesy of Leroy Quandt, Ryder, North Dakota 58779
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Courtesy of Marcia R. Paulson, Editor, Butterfield Advocate, Butterfield, Minnesota 56120.
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Courtesy of A. D. Mast, 1316 Clayton Road, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17603.

Ryder, North Dakota 58779.

One of the Samson tractors made by the Samson Tractor Company of
Janesville, Wisconsin, Division of General Motors Corporation was
the Model ‘D’ — The Iron Horse. It was a four wheel drive,
short turn tractor that drives with lines, like a team of horses.
It is advertised to do the work of three horses at less cost and
also furnished belt power. The price to user – $630 F.O.B.
Janesville, Wisconsin, according to the 1920 issue of Tractor and
Gas Engine Review. There is a two page spread describing this
tractor along with several pictures.

R. B. Gray, in his ‘Development of the Agriculture Tractor
in the United States, Part I,’ has the following description: 4
cylinder vertical motor, high tension ignition; transmission belt
drive; forward and reverse speeds with independent control for each
side of tractor. There was no differential needed and all four
wheels were drivers, chain and sprocket final drive. Controls were
by levers acting as belt tighteners to which could be attached
reins, permitting it to be operated from a distance as from a corn
planter or binder.

Another article in the June 1920 issue of Tractor and Gas Engine
Review is on the Samson Model ‘M.’ This is a detailed
description of a farmer’s experiences with this tractor. He
purchased the model ‘M’ on June 10, 1919.

The Nebraska test No. 27 in June 1920 for the Model ‘M’
Samson Engine No. 13490 and chassis No. 12784 gives the following
information: Rated load brake horsepower 17.20, rated load draw-bar
horsepower 9.32, specifications — engine four cylinder vertical,
L-head bore 4′, stroke 5?’, rated speed 1100 rpm. Chassis
four wheel, rated speeds; low gear 2.3 mph, high gear 3.19 mph.
Total weight 3300 pounds.

The Samson ‘M’ chassis No. 4030 pictured was donated to
the Makoti Threshing Association by Louis Wahner, Parshall, North
Dakota and restored by Alvid and Art Anderson, Makoti. It was
bought new by B. L. Wahner, Parshall in 1920 from Joe Rensch,
Makoti for about $650.

These two tractors were made by the Samson Tractor Company of
Janesville, Wisconsin, a division of the General Motors
Corporation. General Motors purchased the Samson Sieve Grip Tractor
Company of Stockton, California in 1917, which no doubt, had built
several models prior to this time. ‘The Tractor Operating Book
and Directory’ of 1919 shows two Samson tractors built by the
Samson Tractor Company of Pontiac, Michigan, a division of General
Motors.

R. B. Gray, in his ‘Development of the Agricultural Tractor
in the United States, Part II,’ explains the General Motors
Corporation and its venture with the Samson tractor in the three
different plants, all making tractors at the same time. In 1922,
the General Motors Corporation discontinued building the Samson
tractor.

I would like to collect serial numbers for the various years,
models and makes of old tractors prior to 1940 and have them all
printed in one book. Is anyone else interested in having this done?
I have serial numbers on the Model D John Deere, McCormick Deerings
and Farmall tractors. If anyone would care to send me a serial
number they may have for other makes, I will try to compile them
for a book.

The weather was rather brisk and the attendance at the Makoti
Threshing and Antique Show was again above expectations this year.
There were about one hundred ten units in the parade. Fifty-one of
these were kerosene tractors, four flat beds with stationary
engines, seven steam engines, twenty-nine cars and trucks and the
rest was various old-time machinery. The 1969 edition of our show
booklet is now available.

This picture is in Makoti, North Dakota in 1920, showing Leo
Lampert (deceased) on the Samson-Iron horse. This is the only model
of this tractor that Joe Rensch, dealer in Makoti, ever had and it
was called back by the company.

Another 9,000 pound, 82 inch diameter flywheel has arrived at R
& T Museum, Kinzer, Pennsylvania, through the efforts of John
Wilcox of 47 Deland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, 43214. He is shown here
greasing the shiny parts. He has just completed an 18 cubic foot
concrete foundation for this 125 hp. two cylinder 15 x 23 Miller
engine built in 1914 at Springfield, Ohio. You can always find John
rolling the big wheels at all of the R & T shows at Kinzer,
Pennyslvania. His engines are always in excellent condition and run
smoothly.

Peter Baerg of Buttertieid kept a close watch over the large
collection of engines exhibited by John Pankratz of Mt. Lake.

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