AS I SAW IT. XXV


| July/August 1975



Model E 30-60 Oil Pull

Courtesy of Rolland E. Maxwell, Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750.

Rolland E. Maxwell

Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750

As has been pointed out before, the first old tractors were big cumbersome ones, patterned after steam engines, and they often weighed ten or twelve tons each. They were hard to handle, steer, start and maintain. Some were made on order by companies like the Minneapolis Steel and Machine Co. They seemed to go on the principle that the bigger they were, the more they could do, and that they could make more money on the sale of one big one than two small ones and there would be less servicing. But it did not always turn out that way. Then to, there was more of a demand for big Ones. These early big tractors had the power for the large separators and plows once you got them started, which was their biggest weakness. The ignition was their weakest point and more than one ran all night once it was started.

Castings were made of poor material, and often crystalized and broke, and since welding was unheard of in those days, it often required weeks of waiting for new parts to come from the factory. After they were being used for field work, more complications arose as factories did not stock enough parts to go around. Often the repairs on a tractor after a year's work would run as high as a thousand dollars.

This was a period when promotors took over. Many tractors were custom built and the reliability of the tractor was in many cases quite variable and ranged from good to no good.

The growth of the farm implement business was in direct correlation with the agricultural growth of our country. After 1800 Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas being settled and new land being brought under cultivation. It has been said that in 1880 there were 2000 concerns making agricultural implements in one form or other, practically all horsedrawn. By 1890 only 900 were left and by 1900 around 500 were left. This was brought about by bankruptcy and mergers. From 1900 to 1910 saw the beginning of some giant corporations such as United States Steel Corporation, National Biscuit Company, International Harvester Company, along with a number of others.

From 1910 on came the turn towards tractor, then called Gasoline Traction Engines, that name later to be called Tractors by Hart Parr. During the period from 1920 through 1950 we have seen nearly all farm operations mechanized to the point where one man can feed about forty nine people. The last crops to be mechanized has been sugar beets and potatoes.