Half-track Bates Steel Mule Works Hard
(Page 2 of 2)
Over the years, three different engines were supplied for the Model F. A Midwest engine with a 4-1/2-by-5-1/4-inch bore and stroke was used from 1921 to 1925. A Beaver engine with a 4-1/4-by-6-inch bore and stroke was used from 1926 to 1928. A LeRoi with a 4-1/4-by-6-inch bore and stroke was used from 1929 to 1937.
Ron’s Steel Mule uses the Beaver engine and is rated at 18-25 hp. The tractor has two forward speeds and one reverse and weighs 4,850 pounds. Bates advertising claimed that the tractor was “The most efficient tractor in America, with crawler traction, quality construction, pulls 3-4 plows, and handles a 28-32 thresher.”
This tractor has two wheels for front-wheel steering, but it also has heavy-duty brakes at each rear wheel to aid in turning. A foot-operated clutch enables the operator to shift gears. The gear shifter is within easy reach.
A malleable link chain track encircles the main drive gear, and a center idler keeps downward pressure on the track and around a front idler. The track’s shoes have cleats for improved traction. Each track has a separate adjusting screw and a spring-loaded tensioner to keep the track tight over rough terrain.
Lansing-built Bates tractors came on the market in 1911. In 1929, Bates Machine & Tractor Co. became a division of Foote Bros. Gear & Machine Co. The line resurfaced as Bates Mfg. Co. from 1935-’37; production of Bates tractors appears to have ended in 1937. Many early tractor manufacturers did not last as long. FC
James N. Boblenz grew up on a farm near New Bloomington, Ohio. He now lives in Marion, Ohio, and is interested in antique farm equipment, particularly rare and lesser-known tractors and related items. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page: << Previous 1
| 2 |