EARLY TRACTOR EXPERIENCES


| July/August 1973



Gray Tractor

Earl Olsen

Concrete, North Dakota 58221

I was born in Milton N.D. in June 1900. We lived in Milton until 1907 when we moved to a farm two miles south of town, where we farmed and did custom threshing with steam until 1917, when we bought land near Concrete, N.D. In the winter of 1918 and 1919 I went to Fargo and took a short course on Tractor and Automobile repair. These schools were well attended and were very helpful, as both cars and tractors were new experiences to most of us at that time.

The big steam threshing outfits were beginning to fade out and were being replaced by smaller gas rigs. Many farmers were wanting smaller tractors for farm use and a small separator to go with it.

In 1919 my father, brother Carl and myself bought a new 15-30 Hart Parr tractor which was one of the first small tractors that Hart Parr manufactured. Along with this came a Case 28 Inch separator with a 20 bar cyclinder. We soon found out we had too much separator for the Hart Parr, so in the fall of 1920 we traded the Hart Parr in on a new Gray tractor made in Minneapolis.

I still have this Gray tractor and it is in very nice shape yet. This was an excellent outfit and was used until the combine took over. One year we threshed fifty days and ended up twenty miles from where we started. Starting at home in the valley where the grain ripened earlier than on the higher land enabled us to make such long runs. This old tractor saw a lot of service on farm work, threshing, road work and has broken several hundred acres of raw brush land using a 24 in heavy duty brush plow, turning anything in its way. I always operated this old Gray tractor myself.

In 1922 we bought a used two speed Waterloo Boy for on the grain binder and other farming jobs. Later I got a Wallis Cub Model J with one wheel in front and later a Model K that had two wheels in front. These Wallis tractors were a great improvement in speed and ease in handling.