Pioneer Village Features Early Farm Tractors
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That model was followed in 1921 by the Frick 15-28. Both models used a 4-cylinder crosswise vertical engine. However, the 12-25 used an Erd power plant while the 15-28 used a Beaver engine. The 12-25 was rated as a 3-plow tractor with a drawbar pull of 2,500 pounds at 2-1/2 miles per hour. A second gear of 3.8 mph was also provided.
An early Frick tractor ad states that “the Nuttall transmission, with roller bearings, auto-truck steering mechanism, operator having full view ahead, safety brake and that other very essential point, a light-weight tractor, the cost of which is within reach of every farmer.”
Frick ended tractor production in the late 1920s, but continued to sell tractors built by the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co. for a few more years.
1920s-vintage Nichols & Shepard 16-32
Nichols & Shepard Co., Battle Creek, Mich., was well known in the late 1800s for its Red River Special line of threshers and steam traction engines. In 1911, the company announced production of its first gasoline tractors, a 25-50 and a 35-70 — both heavyweight models that had a lot in common with the company’s steam tractors.
The tractor line was eventually expanded to include a smaller 20-42 model in 1923. However, the trend toward lighter tractors convinced management to turn to John Lauson Mfg. Co. in the late 1920s for three more models, including the 16-32 (shown on opposite page). Like the Lauson 16-32, it initially used a Beaver engine with the cylinders in a single block. That was soon replaced by a LeRoi JA 4-1/2-by-6-inch unit with cylinders cast in pairs and an operating speed of 1,100 rpm. A similar Lauson 16-32 tested at Nebraska in the spring of 1927 produced almost 29 hp on the drawbar and nearly 37 hp on the belt.
In 1929, Nichols & Shepard merged with several other companies to form Oliver Farm Equipment Co.
1929 Rock Island — Heider G2 15-25
Rock Island (Ill.) Plow Co. was established in the late 1800s with a product line that included farm machinery and stationary engines. In 1914 the company began to sell tractors built by Heider Mfg. Co., Carroll, Iowa, eventually purchasing the company in 1916. However, Rock Island continued to use the Heider name on its tractors until the late 1920s.
Over the next few years, Rock Island-Heider tractors were marketed in several sizes, including the Model C 12-20 hp (later advertised as a 15-27), the Model D 9-16 hp and the Model M 5-10 hp motor cultivator. In the late 1920s a new series was launched, including the Model F 18-35 and the Model G2 15-25 (shown on opposite page). Among the tractors’ common features was a 4-cylinder Waukesha engine that ran at about 750 rpm and friction drive. One early Heider model was advertised as having seven different speeds up to 4 miles per hour – something completely unheard of at a time when most tractors had only two gears.
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