Origin Of The Westrak

| September/October 1991

Westrak tractor

P. O. Box 1487, Elma, Washington 98541

In April 1989 a letter came to our EDGE&TA, Branch #20 club from Sam Erlandson of Champlin, Minnesota asking for some help in finding the origin of his crawler tractor. He had written several people about the excellent little crawler he had owned for about two years, getting the best response from Waukesha Company. It seems all the identification was missing from the tractor, except for engine identification.

Waukesha Company checked out the numbers and found the engine had been sold to a General Tractor Company in Seattle, Washington, on January 3, 1949. With nothing more to go on and no listing of the General Tractor Company, Sam thought maybe some of our club members may have had some experience with this tractor. No such luck.

Being interested in small crawlers, I found a listing of a tractor called a Westrak in a book on tractors by R. B. Gray several months later. It was made by a company called General Tractor Company in Seattle, Washington, and powered by a 24 B H.P. Waukesha engine. Excited about this find, I immediately sent a copy of the information to Mr. Erlandson.

Now, with a tractor name, we found a Branch #20 club member, Mr. Mark Vukich, who shed some further light on the subject of Westrak. He had conversed with a Mr. Dean Field of Auburn, Washington who used to deal in used equipment in the 1940's and 1950's. Mr. Field knew of a possible dealer in Seattle who had such a machine on his sales floor. They believed the manufacturer was actually from Ephrata or Wenatchee in Eastern Washington. However, this lead came to a dead end since the dealer had been deceased for some time and none of his surviving relatives could help.

Then, after further research by Mr. Erlandson through the Seattle Public Library and the University of Washington Library, some more leads were generated. City directories and records showed that the General Tractor Company of Seattle was incorporated on September 23, 1950. They also showed the people involved. From these names, a Mrs. Claude Casady was located. It turned out she was the widow of the man who started building the Westrak. After several interesting phone conversations, Mr. Erlandson found out that the tractor was developed in the late 1940's and put on the market in 1950.