AS I SAW IT
Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750
From 1910 to 1915 large tractors were pretty much perfected and
standardized. They had concentrated on one style, namely large four
wheeled models capable of pulling ten plows. After 1915, there was
more interest in small two and three plow tractors and everyone got
into the business. As might be expected there was no set rule to go
by. There was the four wheel type with both rear wheels driving,
then the four wheel type with one rear wheel driving which
eliminated the differential, then a few makes in which all four
wheels were driving.
Then we had a raft of three wheel tractors, some with one wheel
driving in the rear either in the furrow or on the land, and maybe
one guide wheel in front or possibly two. Then tractors with one
wide driving drum in the rear. Also some had caterpillar in the
rear, either in the center or one side. Some were two wheel driven
in front and one or two wheels in rear, front guided, but pivoted
in the middle. This type was followed by six or more companies and
were so designed that the rear wheels could be removed and the rear
frame set on your own hourse-drawn implement whether it be plow,
cultivator, planter or binder. There was no set standard to go by.
Everyone had his own idea and it was best, or the right one. Some
were regular freaks, not designed mechanically strong enough for
hard work. Many faded out in short order for one reason or other.
For instance the Bates steel mule had two guide wheels set about
five feet apart and a caterpillar about four feet long in the
center or middle in the rear. An extended steering wheel and engine
controls in the rear made it possible for the operator to ride
whatever he was hitched to, like a plow or cultivator. Now the
theory was all right according to the company but it did not prove
out. It was easily tipped over. A farmer in Kansas bought one and
it tipped over before he got it home and he had to get a pair of
mules to turn it upright. That tractor sold for $750 and there were
a number of them sold. I know of four or five of them left in
museums yet and that was the best place for them. Most of the
tractors had one thing in common. The final drive was by chain and
sprocket and they were open so dust soon cut them out.
Plenty of signs of poor engineering were prevalent in all of
them. For instance, International Harv. Co. in 1918 was making a
15-30 I.H.C. that had enclosed chain and sprocket drive and was
enclosed and ran in oil, and at the same time they made the 8-16
I.H.C. but the chains and sprockets were open, but otherwise the
8-16 was more modern, as it had overhead valves and removable
sleeves in the cylinders. Far more of this model were sold than the
15 – 30, but why weren’t the chains covered? There was no
standardization, just a free-for-all.
Now at the big tractor demonstrations that I have mentioned
before, you could see everything, and it was a good way to pick the
good from the bad. The Fremont Nebr. show was one of the best and I
am listing the companies that showed or demonstrated at that show
in 1917. See if you can remember them and remember the tractors. I
went to a number of those shows and remember the tractors and
believe me it was a sight. The following tractors showed 1917.
Advance Rumley La Porte, Ind. Oil Pulls, Five sizes.
Albaugh Dover, Chicago, 15-30, 18-36; Albert Lea Tr. Co., Albert
Lea, Minn. 15-30; Allis-Chalmers, Milwaukee, Wis. 10-18; Avery Mfg.
Co. Peoria, Ill., five sizes; Aultman Taylor, Mansfield, O. 18-36;
30-60; Bull Tr. Co., Mpls., Minn. 12-24; Bullock Tr. Co. Chicago,
Ill., 12-24; J. I. Case Thr. Mach. Co., Racine, Wis. five sizes;
Challenge Tr. Co. Mpls. Minn. 12-20; Cleveland Motor Plow Co.,
Cleveland, O. 12-20; C.O.D. Tr. Co., Crookston, Minn. 13-35; Common
Sense Tr. Co., Mpls., Minn. 20-35; Dauch Mfg. Co., Sandusky, O.
Sandusky 10-20, 15-35; Eagle Mfg. Co., Appleton, Wis. 12-20, 16-30;
Electric Wheel. Co. Quincy, Ill. 12-25; Elgin Tr. Co., Elgin, Ill.
9-18; Emmerson Brantingham Co., Rockford, Ill. Four sizes; Fageol
Motor Co., Oakland, Calif. 4-10; Four Drive Tr. Co., Big Rapids,
Mich. Two sizes; Gile Tr. Co., Ludington, Mich. 10-20, 12-25; Grain
Belt Tr. Co., Mpls. Minn. 15-30; Gray Tr. Co., Mpls. 18-36; Hart
Parr Tr. Co., Charles City, I. Four sizes; Holt Mfg. Co., Stockton,
Calif, three sizes; Int. Harv. Co. Chicago, Ill. Moguls and Titans;
Interstate Eng. and Tr. Co., Waterloo, Ia. 15-30; Joliet Oil Tr.
Co., Joliet, Ill. 12-24, 13-30; Kar-dell Tr. & Tk. Co., St.
Louis, Mo. 20-32; La Crosse Tr. Co., La Crosse, Wis. 12-24; Lawson
Tr. Co., New Holstein, Wis. 15-25; Lyons Atlas Co., Indianapolis,
Ind. 10-24; Mclntyre Mfg. Co., Columbus, O. 10-20; Mpls. Steel
& Mach. Co., Mpls. Twin City, five sizes; Moline Plow Co.,
Moline, Ill. 7-18; Monarch Tr. Co., Water town, Wis. 12-20, 18-30;
New Age Tr. Co., Mpls., Minn. 10-18; Nilson Tr. Co., Mpls. 10-18,
16-30; Pioneer Tr. Co., Winona, Minn, three sizes; Parrett Tr. Co.,
Chicago, Ill. 12-25; Port Huron Co., Port Huron, Mich. 10-18; Rock
Island Plow Co., Rock Island, Ill. 9-16, 12-20; Russell Co.
Massillon, O. three sizes; Stinson Tr. Co., Mpls. 15-30; Velie
Motor Corn Moline, Ill. 12-24; Waterloo Gas Eng. Co., Waterloo, Ia.
Waterloo Boy; Wolverine Tr. Co., Detroit, Mich. 15-30.
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