Farm Collector


By Hans J. and ersen

The increased capitalization enabled them to greatly increase
the production of Baker steam traction engines, expanding the line
to include additional sizes over the original sixteen horse.

Sales seemed to be readily made from either the factory or by
the jobbers in various sections of the country. Some of the jobbers
were small builders of threshing machines who lacked a traction
engine of their own manufacture. They found that sales came easier
when they could furnish the entire rig. The company was able to
dispose of their entire output each year in spite of a yearly
increase in the number made. By the year 1907 they had built nearly
four hundred.

The features which enabled the BAKER engines to sell so readily
were the steam jacketed cylinder, the counterbalanced clutch and
their new improved reverse gear which was one of the- radial type.
The engines were built of the rear geared type which was growing in
popularity at that time. Baker’s years of experience rebuilding
threshing machinery had stood him in good stead for his engines
proved to be successful and popular in the field.

The great improvements made in threshing machines at the turn of
the century, such as the addition of self-feeders and band cutters,
windstackers, as well as grain handling equipment, made the
replacement of the older types a necessity. This created – a great
demand for new threshing machinery. To drive these new threshing
machines with all their accessories required more power, hence more
powerful engines were required. To come at a time when there was
such demand for new and larger engines was a lucky coincident for
the Baker Company.

By 1905 Baker engines were built in sizes 16, 18, 20, and 25
horse power. This was a range of sizes which covered the needs of
most threshermen. The 25 horse size was also built as a special
Straw-Burner for use in the Northwest regions where the threshing
engines used were mostly of the larger sizes. The greatest
percentage of Baker engines were sold in sections requiring coal
and wood burning engines.

In 1908 a threshing machine bearing the name ‘Baker was
introduced. The company had been experimenting with them for a few
years back. They were a radical departure as far as the straw rack
design was concerned. Described in their catalog as a train of
seven alternating, oscillating, agitating racks; counter-balancing
each other by moving upward and downward in alternating motion in
opposite directions, breaking the straw flow eight times in the
length of the machine as it passes rearward through.

The threshing machines made of the usual wood construction, were
painted red with green framing and neatly striped in yellow.

The Baker steam traction engine now had a worthy companion in
the threshing field.

Abner D. Baker did not limit his liking for steam to the
agricultural field but his fondness for locomotives led to adapting
the reverse valve gear for their use also. For this he was granted
a patent in 1907. In a short space of two years the demand for
these ‘Baker’ valve gears from railroads was so great that
it was decided to separate it from the threshing machine business.
A new firm called the Pilliod Company was formed to handle the
railroad valve gear business.

In about 1910 the A. D. Baker Company entered a new field, that
of building road rollers. This they did by adding a front roller
attachment and cast rear rollers to their sixteen horse traction

  • Published on Jul 1, 1954
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