Letters to the Editor: Mystery Tractor Wheels

Big sod-breaking wheels keep on rolling.

Sod-breaking wheels

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We bought these wheels on a farm sale last spring and have been trying to figure out what they might have been off of. We had no luck until my dad was looking through some back issues of Farm Collector and came across the picture on page 6 of the December 2003 issue submitted by Larry Ketteler. This is definitely the tractor but would sure be fun to know who built it. The rear wheel measures 10-feet-1-inch and the front wheel measures 66-1/2 inches. If anybody has any information it would be greatly appreciated.

- Brian Flatmoe
Meadow, SD
(605) 788-2881 

Larry's Letter: Big 'beast' sighting

My uncle was an adventurous sort in his early years. In the early 1900s (1900-1925), he ventured out on the northern plains from Wisconsin and drove some of the large tractor/plow combinations that were used for breaking the prairie sod. He talked of running large rigs that pulled 16-bottom plows, which had a gangplank for the plow operator to raise and lower each bottom at the headlands prior to turning around.

He was an avid photographer and took numerous pictures that were sent to his relatives (including my Dad) in the form of picture postcards. On one postcard, he wrote, "Just a glance at me and the old horse that I was driving this past spring. Notice the school in the background."

I recall him talking about some experimental tractors, which were sent out by manufacturers that he had seen operating (or he had operated). This may be one of them, however, on this picture no notations were written. It certainly looks like a cumbersome beast. I had the postcard photos computer-enhanced and enlarged since age and the sepia-type print has faded over the years. I hope someone can shed some light on this mystery.

- Larry Ketteler