Gathering of the Hubers
(Page 3 of 5)
The first Huber gas tractors were one-cylinder machines: Their Van Duzen vertical engines had hot-tube ignitions, which were not very reliable. According to C.H. Wendel in the Standard Catalog of Farm Tractors, Huber combined the Van Duzen engine with gearing from the Huber traction engine, but the experiment met with poor success and the project was abandoned. However, because Huber built 30 of these, he gets credit for marketing the first mass-produced tractor for commercial use.
In March 1911, 13 years later, Huber re-entered the tractor-manufacturing field. By then, the dry-cell battery and the magneto had been invented increasing the dependability of ignition systems. Schwaderer says the museum's records show that this time, the tractors were called 'Farmer's Tractors,' and the first one made was labeled with serial number 100. This tractor was chain driven and had a distinctive front-mounted seat. Next, in 1912, came a 15-30 opposed, two-cylinder, chain-driven and chain-steered tractor with an evaporative tower-type cooling system rather than a conventional radiator. Schwaderer notes that one, a 1916 model, of two known, is on loan to the museum from Dan Ehlerding of Jamestown, Ohio. 'It's really odd looking,' Schwaderer notes. At the same time, beginning in 1911-1917, Huber produced a huge 'Prairie' tractor rated at 30-60 hp: later this was re-rated as the 35-70 hp. That means 30 hp on the drawbar and 60 hp on the belt. A chain-driven 20-40 also was made from 1911 to 1917.
In 1916, Huber began producing 12-25 cross-motor tractors called the Huber Light Four. Next came the 15-30 Super Four and the 20-40 Master Four. All were cross-motor tractors. A 1924 Super Four, with one of the honeycomb radiators is in the museum's collection, donated by Schwaderer and her late husband, Bob. By 1927, Huber updated his design, producing the 18-36, 20-40 and 25-50 tractors, which were re-rated after Nebraska tractor tests to 21-39, 32-45 and 40-62.
In 1930, Huber began to make more farmer-friendly tractors. First was the two- to three-plow tractor named the Modern Farmer, produced in standard tread and row-crop versions. At the same time, the 20-36 standard tread tractor was introduced. Later models became known as the HS and HK tractors. All these tractors used Waukesha engines. In 1930-1931, Huber sold 266 HS tractors to B.F. Avery of Louisville, Ky., which were marketed under the B.F. Avery label. The only one of these known today is in the museum, Schwaderer says.
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