In Memory of Amos Rixman

| January/February 2000

  • Amos Rixman
    Amos Rixman
  • Tractor
    I am enclosing a picture of one of these tractors ready for shipment to California in the spring of 1969. This tractor was called the Rix 4000. Standing by the tractor, left to right, John Reutter, Bernard Steffes (shop foreman) and Chady Atteberry. I do not remember the man's name who is sitting in the operator's seat, as he was the truck driver.

  • Amos Rixman
  • Tractor

Amos was born on May 26, 1925, at Huegely, Illinois. He died on June 24, 1999, at Washington, Missouri. Amos had traveled to Washington, Missouri, to prepare a TD18 I.H.C. crawler tractor for loading on a low boy. One of the brakes was stuck. Under the tractor is an inspection plate with six or eight bolts you can remove to free up the brake band. When they found Amos, he was lying under the tractor, with his tools around him. Amos' heart had stopped just like closing the throttle on a steam engine.

I first met Amos at the Wichita, Kansas, show in the early fifties. At that time, Amos lived in Oklahoma City and he was a district manager for International Harvester industrial machinery. When he was traveling for Harvester, he would stop to see Ly-man Knapp and myself at Blackwell, Oklahoma.

In the early sixties, Amos was one of the founders of the American Thresherman show at Highland, Illinois. This show was at Highland two years, then moved to Pinckneyville, Illinois. When this show started, they wanted only steam engines the owners would work.

Lyman Knapp and I attended the first three years of this show. We hauled Lyman's 6 HP Russell and the prony brake to Illinois each year. It was really an action show that attracted a lot of good steam men. I remember at Highland there must have been 25 or 30 of us steam guys sleeping in the horse barn. Some of the better known names were Harry Wood man see, Lyman Knapp and Justin Hengtin. I do not believe the lights were out much over one hour each night. These guys ran the engines all day and talked engines all night. This show was no smoker. They had a belting contest, brake test, saw mill, and outstanding threshing. Lots of beautiful Keck engines and engines of many major threshing machine companies.

If my memory is correct, Amos was president of the American Thresherman the first two years.

Amos Rixman and Lyman Knapp designed and built a large crawler tractor in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The company was Rixman Knapp Incorporated. Stock was sold. This project started in the early sixties. The first production tractor was built in 1968. This was a large crawler tractor, about the size of a D7 Caterpillar, using a flexing track on walking beams. This tractor could run over a railroad tie at 6 to 8 M.P.H. and not shake the operator. The tracks would go over the tie much like a snake. This tractor was powered by a large Caterpillar diesel engine and was a real performer. I helped Lyman and Amos test the first tractors on the Knapp Farms, Blackwell, Oklahoma, pulling a 20 bottom plow. This tractor was built for Agri use; all but two were sold in the states of Washington and California. This was the only tractor ever built in the State of Oklahoma.


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