12 Steel Wheeled Tractors From the 1910s and 1920s
The Model W 12-20 holds the distinction of being the first Cletrac crawler to hit the market. When first built in 1918 the model W was powered with a Weidely-built engine. This was replaced by a Cleveland Tractor Company-built four-cylinder engine that turned out a maximum 151/2 drawbar horsepower.
The Garner tractor was built by William Galloway’s firm in Iowa. Galloway had been in the car \business for several years prior to introducing his Farmobile tractor in 1916. Galloway struck a deal with Henry Garner Ltd. of Morely Motor Works, Birmingham, England, to build a British version of the Farmobile.
General Ordinance G 14-28
The General Ordnance, of G-O, models used friction-drive transmissions that were popular in the early years of tractor development. The G 14-28 utilized a four-cylinder Waukesha-built engine. General Ordnance tractors were typical of that day using the popular Waukesha engine and a friction-drive transmission.
GS&M 12-24 Beaver
At one time in the early 1900s, eyes were on Canada and its millions of acres of prime prairie waiting to be opened up to farming. Canadian manufacturer Goold, Shapley & Muir Company (GS&M) was offering more compact designs, but started with much larger machines prior. Early models turned out 28 to 45 drawbar horsepower.
The minor exception to this was the Beaver. The stylish GS&M Model 12-24 Beaver employed a unique friction-drive transmission that also powered the belt pulley. This design, utilized by only a handful of tractor makers, eliminated the need for transmission gearing.
Holt 2 Ton
Although the baby of the Caterpillar line, the 2-ton still weighed 4,000 pounds and packed enough power to pull a four-bottom plow. The powerplant on the 2-Ton was a Holt-built overhead cam affair in which the four, 4x5 1⁄2 in. cylinders were cast singly. Its sliding-gear transmission offered three speeds from 2 1⁄8 to 5 1⁄4 mph.
J.I. Case 10/20
This three-wheeler offering (single rear drive wheel) was built by J.I. Case to compete with other three-wheeler models that were popular at this time of the mid-1910s. What is unique about the 10/20 in that regard is that it had only a single front steering wheel and a third “outrigger” rear wheel that offered additional stability.
The sleek-looking Model 15-30 helped maintain Lauson’s reputation for building high quality and dependable tractors. The 1920 Model 15-30, called the Lauson Full Jewel, employed a Beaver four-cylinder vertical valve-in-head engine rated at 950 rpm. The engine developed 17.7 drawbar and 30 brake horsepower.
Nilson Junior 16-27
The Nilson featured the unique “Lever Hitch” system that transferred draft over its drive wheel to implements. The Junior 16-27 also featured a unique arrangement of three rear wheels with the larger, center wheel transferring power. That horsepower came from a Waukesha 41⁄4x53⁄4-in. bore-and-stroke engine.
At one time the Parrett was manufactured in the largest tractor plant in the world. The Parrett brothers, Henry and Dent, helped pioneer modern tractor development in the early 1900s starting at least three tractors companies as well as designing models for other manufacturers.
Rock Island Heider IC 12-20
Rock Island’s promotional ad stated, “You can start slow and speed up gradually without shifting gears,” thanks to the tractor’s unique friction-drive transmission that eliminated the need for a clutch and gears. The Model 12-20 was first designed “C” but was upgraded to “IC” in 1922.
Turner Manufacturing was short-lived in the tractor business but did provide the foundation for today’s Simplicity garden tractors. However, its former sale manager William Niederkorn and partner Francis Bloodgood bought out the Simplicity name in 1921 and formed a company to build small single-cylinder engines.
Check out these attractive tractors that were popular in the 1910s and 1920s.