As I Saw It XXIV


| May/June 1975



Tractor

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

Rolland E. Maxwell

Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750

This is a discussion of the engines used in the first tractors made and those that followed. It was perfectly natural that the first tractors had large one cylinder engines because that was all they had. They were used largely to or nearly to 1910. Then came two cylinder, both twin and opposed. By opposed I mean one cylinder going one way and the other going the other or opposite way, like an Avery for example. Twin meant two horizontal cylinders laying side by side and both headed in the same direction. The following is a list of early tractors using large one cylinder horizontal engines. No attempt had been made to give the horsepower ratings nor the bore and stroke. Usually the head of the engine was pointed to the rear of the tractor for easy regulation of the carb. and ignition. Most of these engines were mounted on 2 steam engine chassis. The enclosed picture of a 1901 Flour City was made by the Kinnard Press Co. of Minneapolis, Minn. Note the size and weight of the flywheels, which when running carried a lot of momentum from one explosion to the next. This was about a 25 HP engine, pretty crude but that was the way they were born. Flour City continued to improve their machines and worked into four cylinder engines and made tractors up to 1925.

The following list of big one cylinder tractors takes them up to 1910. 1889 Charter, 1894 Van Duzen, 1893 Hockett (Sterling), 1894 Otto, 1894 Lambert, 1899 Morton, 1897 Flour City, 1904 Dissinger, 1905 Ohio, 1906 Waterous, 1909 Olds, 1910 Jork, 1911 Fairbanks Morse, 1911 Shirk, 1906 to 1912 I.H.C. Titan and Mogul.

1901 Flour City-made their first tractor in 1897 using a 12 x 18 one cylinder engine which they made in 25 and 30 HP. In 1908 came their 30-60 using a four cylinder vertical 6-1/2 x 7. They made their last tractors in 1925. In 1908 they won a gold medal at Winnipeg. The company was first Kinnard-Haines and later known as Kinndard & Sons Mfg. Co., Minneapolis, Minnesota.

From 1910 came the two cylinder Opposed, though some two cylinder twins came in this period, the opposed seemed to attract the most attention. The following were using two cylinder opposed engines: 1910 Herr, 1911 Bates (Lansing Mich.), 1911 Big Chief, 8-15 1911 Opsata, 1913 Leader, 1913 Gramont, 1913 Bull, 1914 Louisville Motor plow, 1914 Steel King, 1914 Andrews 4 cyl. 2 cycle double opposed, 1910 Imperial 4 cyl. double opposed, 1910 Mogul 45 H.P. 345 R.P.M., Minn. Universal 20-40, 1915 C.O.I). 1915 Leader 12-18 750 R.P.M., Avery two cyl. and four cyl. double opposed 500 R.P.M., 1913 12-25 Case and a 20-40 Case, Moline Universal, 1909 Hart Parr 15-30 two Cyl. opp. Holmes (Port Clinton) Wis., Pioneer 30-60 and York 25 H.P.

Now these two cylinder opposed engines had an explosion every revolution of the crankshaft and the manufacturers advertised that having the pistons opposite each other on a double throw crankshaft produced almost perfect balance and resulted in a more smooth working engine. The flywheels could be much smaller and lighter in weight and the engine could be run at a higher speed. Note the older one cylinder engines rarely ran over 450 R.P.M.'s, but a two cylinder opposed could get to 700 R.P.M. or more.