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Wide world of crawler tractors
Crawler tractors through history
Crawler Tractors Through History
Crawler tractors are some of the most widely produced: from the big guys at Caterpillar, Cletrac and John Deere, to nomads like Bates or Yuba or Monarch--and everything in between. The following is a selection of different makes of the crawler through history.
Allis-Chalmers produced crawlers from 1928 until the late 1950s under Monarch Tractor Corporation. The Model M (1932) was designed for orchard use, featuring covered tracks and a low operator’s station. It offered 30 drawbar hp and a 300 cubic-inch engine (upgraded to 318 cubic inches in 1936).
B.F. Avery A
B.F. AVERY A
This crawler adaptation (likely a custom-built design with Cletrac tracks) was originally known as the Cletrac General GG. The design was sold to B.F. Avery in 1942. By 1943 it was introduced as the Model A, and given a very affordable $835 price tag. It had a 4-cylinder Hercules flathead Model IXB-3 engine rated at 1,400 rpm.
Bates Steel Mule
BATES STEEL MULE
Half-track crawlers first appeared in the 1910s and migrated to the battlefield in WWI. The design has rear tracks and front steering wheels for easy maneuvering. Joliet Oil Tractor Company built the Steel Mule in 1915, adding "Bates" after a merger with Bates Machinery & Tractor.
C.L. Best 30
C.L. BEST 30
Many design features used on modern crawlers were first on the best's tracklayer models. The C.L. Best Gas Traction Company made an engine with four 43/4x6.5-inch cylinders that generated a max of 24.5 hp. The Tracklayer name was dropped when Best and their competitor, Holt Manufacturing, merged in 1925 to create the Caterpillar Tractor Company.
Caterpillar became the king of crawler companies with the D-Series tractors. They were the first to sell diesel-powered crawlers on the market, with model D6 as 1 of 5 on the market in the late 1930s. The D6 was uniquely powered by a 3-cylinder engine. It featured an adjustable track width, 4-speed transmission and a $3,600 price tag.
Celtrac W 12-20
CLETRAC W 12-20
Car Manufacturer, Roland White, introduced the first Cleveland Tractor Co. crawler in 1916. Model R was quickly succeeded by Model W 12-20 in 1918, which made Cletrac tractors a contender in the crawler market. A major attraction was its price, sitting at $1,385, which forced crawler giant Holt to beef up their line.
Ford 4040 Industrial
FORD 4040 INDUSTRIAL
Model 4040 was an adaptation of a Caterpillar Model D2 undercarriage, and the rear end of a Ford Model 600. It featured a gas 4-cylinder engine and Ford's unique Select-O-Speed powershift transmission.
Holt Caterpillar 75
HOLT CATERPILLAR 75
Model 75 was the most popular of Holt's tiller crawlers. An 11-year production saw over 4,600 versions sold. The 75, along with Model 120, were employed by the military to tow artillery to WWI battlefields, inspiring the modern tank.
IHC McCormick-Deering T20
IHC MCCORMICK-DEERING T20
It was inevitable that machinery monster International Harvester would make a crawler. From 1931-1939 over 15,000 Model T-20s were built. At least a dozen other IHC models were made before the company withdrew from the market in the 1960s.
John Deere 430
JOHN DEERE 430
The 430 was the first Deere-made crawler, produced between 1958 and 1960. Like other Deere crawlers, it was an adaptation of an existing model--this time with roots back to the Lindeman Brothers' 430C--which Deere bought out in 1946.
In the 1960s, Lennox Industries diversified from house furnaces to crawlers by creating the kittytrack600, a pint-size garden crawler. Although small, its 8-hp Briggs & Stratton engine made it a powerhouse. But the Kittytrack600 never caught on and was withdrawn from the marketplace in the mid-1960s.
The OC-6 pictured is a rare high-crop model made in 1953. The design was derived from the Model 77 wheel tractor. It was powered with a 6-cylinder gas or diesel engine, and was offered in 4 track treads of 32, 42, 60 and 60 inches. Optional equipment included a PTO--Oliver's Hydra-Life Hitch--for 3-point implements, a hydraulic system and a belt pulley.
Though small, the Perrin Terra-Trac-Tor was anything but weak. The unique crawler turned enough power to a pull a one-bottom, 14-inch plow. It offered brakes, a PTO, and distinctive 5.5-inch-wide steel tracks with deep cleats. Perrin Tractor & Implement sold the Terra-Trac-Tor for $880 when it was introduced in 1947.
A selection of different makes of crawler tractors through history