Above: A 1913 advertisement touts Huber steam traction engines.
In some circles, the Huber Manufacturing Co., Marion, Ohio, is best-known for a line of steam traction engines the company produced. All Huber steam engines, including this 16 hp engine advertised in the September 1911 issue of The Thresherman's Review (right), featured return-flue boilers, a design Huber pioneered.
Starting in the late 1870s and ending about 1915, Huber manufactured 11,568 steam traction engines, making the company one of the more successful steam engine firms of its day. For comparison, J.I. Case, the acknowledged leader in agricultural steam engine production, manufactured 35,838 engines (including portables, road rollers and traction engines) before halting steam engine production in 1924.
Both Case and Huber recognized early on the potential for gas-powered tractors. Case worked out its first experimental unit in 1892 and Huber in 1894, but neither company introduced a product to market at that time.
In 1911, however, Case and Huber almost simultaneously announced new gas-powered tractors. Huber beat rival Case to the marketplace when the Huber Farmer's Tractor became available in 1911 - Case's legendary 20-40 and 30-60 didn't become available until the following year, 1912.
Huber rapidly expanded its line of gas-powered tractors, and between 1911 and 1943 the company offered at least 20 different models, not including variations of various tractor models.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Huber Super Four was arguably the company's most successful offering, and by the time this advertisement appeared in the January 1931 issue of The American Thresherman (facing page), the Super Four was available as a 32-45 and 40-62.
World War II put an end to Huber tractor production, and when hostilities ceased in 1945 and America turned its attention to building a new peace-time economy, Huber tractors were no longer available.
For more on the History of Huber Manufacturing Co., turn to page 40.
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