‘Little Boss’ Comes Home

By Staff
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The 1917 Russell 'Little Boss' tractor atop the Ryder rental truck which hauled her 2700 miles February, 1984.
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10-20 Russell 'Little Boss'
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10-20 Russell 'Little Boss'

34 S. Main St. Navarre, Ohio 44662

This 10-20 (kerosene) Russell ‘Little Boss’ tractor was
built in 1917 and shipped to Oregon that same year to one of
Russell’s larger sales agents, the A. H. Averill Machinery Co.
in Portland. Sixty-seven years later, my brother, Ken, and I faced
the task of a 2700 mile return trip. With the help of the Fort
Wayne Railroad Historical Society, who had a load coming back from
Portland, and Gary Bensman, of Diversified Rail Services, Ft.
Wayne, Indiana, who did the trucking, it was decided to try to load
the tractor on top of the other load. This enabled all parties
involved to realize a savings in cost.

Leaving Ohio, the moving crew outran a blizzard the weekend of
February 19 to find 70 degree weather awaiting them in Oregon. When
they went to pick up the Russell, she started right up on a crank
or two. The former owner drove right up on the truck after 67 years
it still ran good! Wherever they went they stopped traffic. In
Nebraska a farmer pulled up beside the truck and remarked that his
father had farmed with a Russell, but he had never seen one that
small. This 10-20 is the smallest size Russell made.

After 8 years of searching, my brother and I had finally found
one! The Russell company was well known for its line of steam
traction engines and threshing machines; however, their transition
to tractors was never that well received by the market. An article
in the Massillon Evening Independent a few years back about Russell
sending train loads to Portland, Oregon gave my brother and I our
new hunting grounds. Every time we had a chance to talk with anyone
from that area you could be sure they were asked the same thing:
‘Know of any Russell equipment, gas or steam?’ Back in
December we found this Russell for sale and with no thought of the
2700 miles, we sent the agreed-on amount. We soon found that
Eugene, Oregon was about as far west as you can get without getting
your feet wet in the Pacific Ocean.

The 10-20 Russell ‘Little Boss’ has a Waukesha
4-cylinder motor (4’x5) it has a top speed of 3 MPH, a capacity
of 2-14′ plows, a weight of 4600 pounds, and has 30′ front
wheels and 53′ rears. Its height is 96′, width 67′,
length 142′, and it has a turning radius of 13 feet.

After months of planning, some worrying and 2700 miles later,
our Russell was home within 5 miles of her birth ready for her
retirement not to mention a few steam shows. The new addition to
our collection will be at the Tuscarawas Valley Pioneer Power Show
August 17, 18, and 19 and our own show October 6 and 7, 1984, held
in my side and front yard here in Navarre, Ohio.

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