Short-Lived Tractors with Odd or Unique Names
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The Steel Hoof tractor
Another curious name for a tractor was one made by Lambert Gas Engine Co. of Anderson, Ind., and called the “Steel Hoof.” C.H. Wendel writes that the Steel Hoof’s “unique drive wheels were designed to contact the ground much like a horse’s hoof. As the wheel turned, the pads retracted, thus providing a self-cleaning wheel.” The Steel Hoof was made from 1912-1916.
The C.O.D. tractor
Today the initials “C.O.D.” typically mean “collect on delivery,” but the tractor of the same initials made by C.O.D. Tractor Co. of Minneapolis, and built from 1916-1919, had no such meaning. In fact, it’s unclear how the name for this tractor was formed, or what it meant, but it probably was short for the last names of three of the major stockholders of the company: Conrad, Ogard and Daniel.
At least two models with several more variations were made of the C.O.D., the original 13-25 and the later 10-20. Several hundred of the tractors were made, but only five exist today. One of the dangers of these many companies before 1920 was how quickly they could go out of business; one North Dakota family invested heavily in the C.O.D. and, when the company went out of business, nearly lost their farm.
The Common Sense tractor
The Common Sense tractor carried another unusual name. It was designed by H.W. Adams, who said in Farm Implements, Dec. 31, 1917: “I knew that too many tractors were the result of theoretical experts who worked on drawing boards, instead of the results given by tractors under actual working conditions in the hands of farmers. I saw where such tractors could not help but fall down, so I decided to start from the other end. I learned first the practical features necessary, and then worked out the proper mechanical methods of obtaining those results. One day I was explaining my ideas to a farmer, and he said, ‘Well, now you’re talking common sense. A tractor like that ought to run.’ So I decided to call my tractor the Common Sense. ...”
So Adams went out into North Dakota fields for two years, driving his tractor, watching others drive it, testing it, talking with farmers, before he brought the Common Sense tractor to market in 1915. The company lasted until 1922.
The Burn-Oil tractor
The Burn-Oil tractor was manufactured in 1920 and perhaps 1921 by the Burn-Oil Tractor Co. of Peoria, Ill. Today the name is a distinct turn-off, with its smell reminder.
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