History of the Linn Mfg. Co.

For logging and snow removal, the Linn tractor was an ideal solution


| March/April 1986



Tractor with either wheeled or sledded steerage

The Linn Mfg. Company offered this basic unit with either wheeled or sledded steerage. Presumably, this portion of the design could be changed to accommodate either winter or summer use. Standard units had a top speed of about 12 mph. Electric starting on the early models was options. 

Editor's note: Some time ago, Mr. R. M. Elliott, RD 1, Box 3, Morris, NY 13808 forwarded considerable material regarding this company. We believe that the history of the Linn Mfg. Corp. represents an interesting and heretofore untold story. 

When H. H. Linn came to Morris, New York in 1915 he had little intention of entering the manufacturing business. At the time, Linn owned a traveling road show with trained dogs, musical entertainment and the like. Already in 1904, Linn had built a gasoline-powered outfit using a single crawler track in the rear. The track was of the Lombard design. Since Linn was at the time representing the Lombard people as a traveling agent, the road show tied in nicely with his journeys to sell these machines to sawmills and for snow removal purposes.

The first Linn tractor
While Linn's first tractor was built primarily for his own use, the inventor envisioned it as a purely agricultural machine rather than as a truck, or perhaps a tractor-truck. Extant letters by Mr. Linn bear witness to this fact, despite the contention of some automotive historians who claim that the Linn was built primarily for use on the road. Further testimony to this point is the fact that Linn contacted Deere & Company requesting prices for a 6-bottom, 14-inch plow to be used with the new tractor design.

The decision to enter the manufacturing business came about shortly after building the first tractor. A polio epidemic ended the revenue from the road show, thus forcing Linn to find some other means of making a living. Dissatisfied with the huge steam-powered Lombard machine, Linn equipped his first unit with a four-cylinder engine, probably a Continental. Later models used various engines, including Waukesha, Hercules, Buda, and Cummins Diesel. A local newspaper reported in 1918 that the company had already produced 'a dozen tractors' in temporary quarters.

For logging and snow removal, the Linn tractor was an ideal solution. This, despite Linn's original concept of a farm tractor soon became an established fact. By the 1920's, dozens of Linn tractors were in regular use for road work and snow removal. Many more were put into service by lumber operations and construction companies. As an example, Linn tractors were in use at the Grand Coulee Dam, T.V.A., and several other large construction site.

The U.S. Government purchased a number of Linn tractors for use by the Armed Services, and a few were equipped for use at oil and gas wells.