| January/February 1975

  • This 3-1/2 H.P. Hercules engine

    Vernice G. Cranfill
  • Pioneer tractor

    Louis Althoff

  • This 3-1/2 H.P. Hercules engine
  • Pioneer tractor

Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750

Successful old Tractors. In 1906 The Transit Threshing Machine Co. of Mpls. was organized to make self propelled Threshing Machines, but never did. In 1906 or 07 they contracted with the Diamond Iron Works of Mpls. to build 26 large tractors they called The Transit. Those apparently were not too successful and were not continued.

In 1908 they reorganized as the Gas Traction Co. In 1910 they came out with the Big Four '30'. A 1909 Threshermans Review ad listed the very first ones as 25 h.p., with 8' 'Drive Wheels'. These tractors went over big and were made through 1912. At that time they sold out to Emmerson Brantingham of Rockford, Ill. The Big Four '30' was really a 30-60. Used a four cylinder engine 6-1/2' cylinder cast separately. The engine set lengthwise of the frame, vertically and cranked in the rear with a bar. The drive pulley was also in the rear. This tractor pulled from 8 to 10 plows and won the gold medal at the Winnipeg contest in 1910 and 1911. Had 96' diameter rear wheels. This tractor was well received by the trade and there was a goodly number made and there are still a few around.

Emmerson Brantingham bought the Big Four the last of 1912 and in 1913 they came out with a Big Riur '20' really a 20-35 Model D. 4 cyl. vert, eng set in line. Used a four bottom mounted plow. Not too many were made as the company came out with the Reeves 45-65 which took their place. A lot of good came out of the Big Four '30', and for no longer than it was made they put out a lot of tractors. However I've been told Emmerson Brantingham did make up quite a few '30's after that.

In the latter part of 1912 Emmerson Brantingham bought out Gas Traction, Geiser Co. of Waynesboro, Pa., Reeves Co. of Columbus, Ind., and the Rockford Engine Works of Rockford, Ill.

In 1913 or 1914 E. B. Reeves made a Reeves 45-65, a 4 cyl. cross mounted vertical engine 7 1/4 x 8' with high drive wheels, costing $3680. Just how many, or how long they were made I don't know. They were last listed for sale in 1920, probably the last.