Jacob Price: 1895

Original 1895 Catalog for the Legendary Jacob Price Field Locomotive: Part Eight

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This issue presents the eighth, and final, installment of our reproduction of the 1895 Jacob Price Field Locomotive Catalog.

This last section contains pages 23 and 24 of the original catalog, plus a bonus we received from steam historian and frequent contributor Jack Alexander, Gilroy, Calif.

When we first launched this reproduction in the November/December 2004 issue of Steam Traction, we noted the cover of the original catalog (graciously supplied to us by John Davidson, Bristol, Wis.) was in poor shape and not a good candidate for reproduction.

As luck would have it, Jack also has a copy of the Price catalog and he has kindly supplied us with a scan of the cover. Additionally, Jack found an old engraving of Jacob Price that was published in the June 1890 edition of Farm Implement News. The engraving is noteworthy, if only because it enables us to put a face to the man. According to Jack, the accompanying article described the results of Price's first trial run.

Jack also notes that Price made changes in the boilers from 1890 to 1895, suggesting Price may have had problems with his early boiler designs.

By the time this catalog appeared, Price had already sold his patents to J.I. Case to settle outstanding debts.

The last two pages of the Price catalog present fairly dry, but still interesting reading, describing as they do the "proper method of laying off a tract of land for steam plowing."

As with the rest of the catalog, the language used in describing proper plowing methods is at best authoritative, if not slightly condescending. The catalog notes, for instance, that "Nearly every purchaser of one of these outfits is at first determined to go entirely around a large tract … but it should never be done."

Even so, the discussion and accompanying drawing are both interesting, and the final table of "useful knowledge" certainly provides information every farmer needed to have at the tip of his tongue.

Special thanks to John Davidson, 8250 200th Ave., Bristol, WI 53104, for generously supplying his original 1895 Jacob Price catalog so we might share it with our readers.