A rebuilt Huber steam engine with a 14-foot binder mounted on the front
In this setup the grain and bull wheel of the binder took the place of the front wheels of the tractor as well as the axle. A sort of an extension was made and bolted to the front end of the tractor frame which was offset down to reach out in front of the tractor and through which the king pin passed which allowed the binder to swing or turn just like the front axle when the steering was revalued. The tiller chains were extended and attached to the reinforced under-frame of the binder platform in positions relative to their respective positions on the tractor axle.
After my father had designed and built his five 11-inch plow bottoms with small grain seeding attachment and tried it behind a Case and Gaar Scott he bought a 12 HP Huber. But this was hard put to hold steam so he took it all apart and rebuilt the engine. He took two channel irons from a U shaped frame. Then he mounted a porcupine boiler with a large super heater coil. The super heater had about 200 running feet of common, one inch, black pipe bent into a continuous coil which surrounded the quill section of the boiler. A one inch valve let steam into the top end of the super heater from the top of the steam dome of the boiler and was only opened about turn. Lower end of the coil went to the engine throttle. The steam was extremely hot.
This combination worked so well that he added another engine of similar size to make a double engine. It handled very nicely.
The harvester, noted in the photograph, with a 14-foot cutter bar, would do the work of three ordinary harvesters in the field. The harvester acts as front wheels for the traction engine and is pushed in front of the tractor. Power for the tractor and harvester is supplied by steam from the tractor boiler. A small steam engine on the harvester operates the cutter bar and binding machinery. Therefore, all controlled by one man on the tractor.
The same tractor with wheels on the front, instead of the harvester, plows continuously with a five bottom plow on sandy land.
An outstanding feature of this tractor is the fact that three pails of water in the boiler is sufficient to raise a working head of steam. Another feature of this boiler, or steam generator, used on the tractor is that the boiler design is of a water tube type utilizing the principle of the dead-end-tube or quill, which produced circulation, explosive in nature. The explosive circulation eliminated the old difficulty of liming up inside the tubes. It further accounted for the fact that a full head of steam could be raised from a cold boiler in three to five minutes. A safety factor was produced, since the construction eliminated entirely any water-leg or crown sheet. As a result, the boiler could not be blown up even if run dry of water and the tubes allowed to be heated red hot and water then pumped into the boiler again. Experience has proven the longevity of this type of boiler is very great. The boiler noted in the attached photograph was in use without repair for 20 years.