Two of a Kind
Colorado Man Snaps Up Two of Five Prototypes
Photography by Emmett Jordan
If you've never heard of the Krause tractor, that's understandable. Only five - all prototypes - were ever made. Bob Baney, though, can tell you all about the Krause: he's restored two of them.
Krause Manufacturing, Hutchinson, Kan., had been in the farm machinery business for 70 years when the decision was made, in 1955, to build a tractor. Five prototypes - each with a torque converter - were produced.
The five prototypes were all the same model: Model 300. The model had a 331 industrial engine from the REO company. Krause made the frame, but the components came from different tractors: Allison torque converter, Clark transmission, Detroit Timken rear end, John Deere front end, seat and pedestal. After building five prototypes, the company's engineers decided all five had rear end problems. Company officials were quick to sense trouble, and the Krause tractor never went into production.
'The people that were doing the experimenting were given the first shot at buying the prototypes,' says Bob, who lives in Sterling, Colo. 'They were sold for little to nothing.'
Bob happened on to his by chance.
'I went down to Haswell, Colo., to look at a Watusi bull,' he says. 'The fellow there, a nice old gent named George Ansley, asked if I had ever seen a Krause tractor, and of course, I hadn't, so we went out into a 40-acre weed patch that he called his 'shed' and looked at his tractors.
'At first, he didn't want to sell any tractors,' Bob recalls. 'But then he called me about a year later and said to come on down ... maybe he'd sell me some tractors, as he was getting too old and would never get them fixed up. I ended up buying two Krauses, or actually, one and a half; two John Deere A's and one John Deere R.'
The first of the two Krauses hadn't been used since the mid-1950s. George had gotten it from the factory, and had been asked to test it. He'd used it to pull some big equipment.
'They told me to find the weak spots,' he told Bob, 'and I did.' That tractor was basically complete. The second, well, less so.
'George had bought the second one for parts for the first one,' Bob says. 'It was just scattered all over. There was an 8x10 shed out there, and it had blown over, and the rear end parts, planetary gears and transmission of the second Krause were on the floor. Trees were growing up through the frame; the motor was in the frame; the seat and wheels were someplace else. The front axle and torque converter were gone ... a lot of it was gone.'
Bob and his son, Les Baney, restored the complete tractor first. Restoration, Bob says, wasn't complex, just time consuming.
'We tore it down piece by piece and hung it all over like clothes on a clothes line,' he says. 'It was complete, but the motor was stuck. We didn't have to get any replacement parts for it, and the sheet metal was pretty decent, but the paint was not very good.'
Working on the project in his spare time, Bob spent nearly three years restoring the Krause.
The second Krause, though, was a different deal, not only because it was in much worse condition, but also because of intrinsic differences. And on the basis of those differences, Bob's fairly sure that his second Krause was the first of the five prototypes built.
'The second one was quite different from the first one,' he says. 'It was a lot more crude. There was no tag on it, but I think it was Number 1.
'Basically, the motor, transmission and rear end were all the same on the two tractors, but on my second one, the frame, where it fit the grille, the corners didn't fit good,' he says. 'The dash on my second one, there's a pedestal that goes up between the driver's legs, and the gauges are all lined up going up and down on that. The others, though, have a regular dash with the gauges lined up side by side, and the brake lock on the dash. You can see why it was number one.'
Bob's second Krause had no tag.
'That's another reason I think it was Number 1,' he says. 'Where the front wheels were fastened on, there were 21 holes in that frame. There was a very little pinhole drilled on each side of the frame, and it was stamped '1 foot,' '2 foot' on up to '9 foot'. It was for measuring, the pattern from where they drilled holes to fasten the torque converter in; it was a point to measure from.'
Additionally, what Bob calls 'the real number one' has no PTO. 'The other one does,' he says. 'It runs off the transmission. On that one, they had the torque converter off... it looks like they were learning as they went along.'
The torque converter was a fairly advanced concept for tractors of that era, Bob says.
'The engine was built to be between 65-70 hp, but a guy at the factory said he understood, from talking to old timers there, that if you set the governor up, you could develop 120 hp. That was a lot of horse for that era. It's powerful, and it's smooth with that torque converter in there. The governor works off of the Allison torque converter. It was a little bit ahead of its time with that torque.'
Restoration of the second Krause took Bob all over the country - via phone calls.
'We found another motor in Augusta, Ga.,' he says. 'We found the torque converter in San Francisco. The transmission was missing some gears; we got those in Arkansas. It was so scattered out: we got parts from Michigan, Nebraska... It's been interesting. I got one of those 800 number books. I called hundreds and hundreds of people, looking for parts.
'After I got a few of the pieces for the second one, I knew I would be able to get the rest. But Krause made their own water pumps,' Bob says, 'so I had one made at Longmont, Colo., foundry.'
Bob and his son, Les, have restored several tractors, including two Minneapolis-Molines and a Cockshutt. Now that the Krauses are finished, he's looking at an unstyled Oliver 70 and an Allis Chalmers C that he says wouldn't take too much work. Like a man with resolutions on New Year's Day, he's promising a more orderly approach next time.
'This year we had a John Deere R torn down in the shop, and a Minneapolis, and two Krauses,' he says. 'I told my son absolutely nothing else gets started until we get all of those out, and then we're going to do them one at a time.'
For more information: Bob Baney can be reached at (970) 522-2533
By the Numbers:
The Krause Tractor
Capacity: 5-6 bottom plow, 14'
Overall Length: 150' with double front wheel axle (152-9/16' with wide adjustable front axle)
Wheelbase: 104' with double front wheel axle (106 9/16' with wide adjustable front axle)
Width: 66' min., 95' max.
Height: 90' to muffler outlet
Turning radius: 13 ft. (outside, with wide axle)
Weight: 6,800 lbs.
Horsepower: Belt: 65 (manufacturer's rating)
Drawbar: 60 (manufacturer's rating)
Engine: Reo 331-OA-6; 6-cylinder, valve in head'
Bore: 4 1/8' Displacement: 331 cubic inches
Stroke: 4 1/8' Compression ratio: 6.4 to 1
No of main bearings: 7
Replacable wet cylinder sleeves; Full pressure lubrication
Torque Converter: Allison TCRD 376-124
Torque multiplication ratio: 2.5
Governor: Pierce GC979R1-44 belt-driven from output shaft of torque converter
Clutch: Single-plate, dry type, 1/4', spring loaded
Transmission: Clark 235F-1, 4 speeds forward and one reverse.
Rear Axle: Tim ken-Detroit TA 531 DPH 14
Front Axle: Double front wheel row-crop
or 48'- to 80'-wide adjustable tread, in 2-inch increments
Tires: 6:00 x 16 front
15:00 x 34 (optional on rear)
53' to 82' tread power adjusted wheels with
13:00 to 38 size
Steering: Behlen full-time co-axial hydraulic power boost with Saginaw worm and roller gear
Hydraulic System: Oil capacity: 14 qts. Controls: dual valve with built-in relief; one section for single-action cylinders, one section for double-action cylinders
Operating Pressure: 1,100 psi
Pump: Vickers vane-type, 7.0 gpm capacity
Electrical System: 6 volt, 17 amp generator
Fuel capacity: 25 1/2 gallons
Oil Capacity: 6 quarts
Cooling system: 22 quarts
Turning brakes: hydraulic with electric parking lock
PTO: Transmission countershaft driven through torque convertor to cus