AS I SAW IT Part III


| September/October 1971



Big Four 30

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

Rolland E. Maxwell

Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750

In 1909 The Avery Co. of Peoria, Ill. who had become well known for their steam engines of long standing, came out with a combined tractor truck. It was rated 12-36 H.P. Had a 4 cylinder motor and looked like a truck. Had solid rear wheels which were studded with wooden plugs. There were also extension rims with lugs attached that could be fastened to the rear wheels for field work. A drawbar for field work was available, as was a belt pulley attachment. When I was nine years old, there was one used at a big apple orchard just north of the country school I attended.

I can well remember watching it go past the school loaded with barreled apples or cider on its way to the railroad station, where the load was shipped to some produce dealer in the city. It was chain and sprocket driven and had a top speed of about twelve miles per hour. The first few years it was used to disk the orchard, but was later replaced by a 12-25 Avery tractor.

The Imperial Machine Co. of Minneapolis, Minn, came out in 1910 with a 40-70 H.P. tractor called the Imperial. There is still one of these left in North Dakota or Montana.

In 1910 The Gas Traction Co. made the Big Four '30'. It had very high rear wheels and a furrow guide. Later a larger size was made and was well received. They were exhibited at the Winnipeg contest. The company was taken over by the Emmerson Braningham Co. in 1912 or 1913, who continued production for some time under the Big Four name.

In 1910 The Heider Co. of Carroll, Iowa brought out their Heider C 12-20 and model D 9-18 friction drive with chain sprocket final drive, but later changed to gear drive but retained the friction part. This company was later taken over by the Rock Island Plow Co. of Rock Island Ill. who continued the business for a number of years. It became a popular line and was the first tractor to have a fully mounted plow with a mechanical lift. Sold for $995 in 1916.