The Vintage Little Giant Tractor

Learn about the details, specifications and history of the vintage Little Giant Tractor.

| January/February 1967

  • Little Giant Tractor
    Photo courtesy of Kenneth Ramey, Ferrelview, Missouri.
  • Small Water Cooled Engines
    Photo courtesy of Kenneth Ramey, Ferrelview, Missouri.

  • Little Giant Tractor
  • Small Water Cooled Engines

A history of the vintage Little Giant Tractor. 

Pictured here is the Little Giant Tractor, one of the very few vintage tractors left of this make. From the information we can get on it, they were manufactured from 1912 to 1923. They started to number these tractors at 500 — this one is No. 537 so it is one of the early models. The original name of the company was Mayer Bros., Mankato, Minnesota, est. 1876. This name is on the tractor. Then about in 1916 the company name was changed to Little Giant, Inc., Mankato, Minnesota. At first is was in Iowa for sometime, then shipped to Bladdin Bros., Lang, Saskatchewan. Four years ago James McBain, Fessenden, North Dakota obtained this tractor for his collection ,but so far has not done any restoring on it.

Here is a picture of my small water cooled engines which I have collected for the last two years. First is a 1 hp 1HC, A Fairbanks Morse 2 hp, a hit and miss Galloway 3 hp, a 1 hp IHC hit and miss, with belt pulley on timing gear. Last and the least, and with out a name is a hit and miss, with 12 inch fly wheels and 13/4 inch bore.

This 16-22 hp tractor has a 4 cylinder engine, L type block. Head and block are cast in one unit with port holes on top for valve work. The only thing missing is the fuel tank. The Company stated that the first models were gas burners, later models started on gas and switched to kerosene. Some of the first models were converted to gas and kerosene by installing a combination manifold and separate gas tank. This tractor has a water injector hooked up to the carburetor. It also has an open fly ball governor, a honey comb radiator, a hand-forged front axle with automobile type steering, a 450 lb. cast iron weight on the under side of the front end, flat belt to drive water pump and fan, belt pulley has built in clutch. It has Y type lugs, three speed transmission, hand clutch, a one piece rear axle that is curved up at the center and over the drive shaft housing and axle bearings ride on coil springs. The truck-type differential drives the pinion gears in the back center of the final drive gears which are open type with the sides closed, and it looks like this one did not do too much field work since the gears look like new. The engine is set nearly in the center of the tractor; this must have made the front end light in weight, for the reason of the cast iron weight. The belt pulley is geared from the front end of the engine-it also has a regular magneto that is mounted at the front of the engine and at a right angle. Of the two models built by this company, this 16-22 hp tractor was the small size, Model "B" — the larger size was known as the Model "A".


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