STEAM DOINGS ON THE WEST COAST


| January/February 1952



Elder Best Daniel

Picture from an advertisement of the elder Best Daniel

Announcing his deal with Marquis de Lafayette  Remington (son of the sheriff of Carthage, III., at the time of the mob slaying of the Mocrmon leaders who were in   jail there at the time), to build under Remington patent rights this steam traction engine to power the Best combined; harvesters.

(From collection of F. Hal Higgins)

I went over to the funeral of C. L.. Host, Chairman of the Hoard of the Catterpillar Tractor Co., and the man who unhitched more oxen and mules in the western woods and ranches than any other man. I rate him No. 1 tractor man of the world in its 184 years development wince Col. Cugnot's 1769 steam job. Best was 73. HP was born at Albany, Oregon, where his father, Daniel Best, was a pattern maker at the Cherry Iron Works for a few years after he began building grain cleaners at Marysville in 71. I stopped in at Slate's ranch just south of Albany one day in 1944 and got old Nathaniel Slate, then 92, to check his memory and records on the Rests when they were at Albany.

'Dan Best was a, pattern maker and a good one,' said Clate. 'I had him help mo get up a combine in 1882. That was when we found out it would take a field full of horses and mules to pull it and began talking steam traction engines. Young Leo Best was out to the ranch with his father a time or two. He must have been 6 or 8 at that time.'

The Bests went back to California in 1885 and began building' their grain cleaners, combines and steam traction engines for the whole, grain ranching job. Don knew Remington (Marquis de 'Lafayette who ha 1 a shop up the road at Woodburn, of course. Remington took a boiler and made a steam tractor in '85, and three years later built a bigger

one he named Rough and Ready and took it down to San Leandro for demonstrations at the Best plant. They worked out a deal that sold Best the right to build under Remington patents for the entire Pacific coast. Remington told his steam tractor story in a full page in the Pacific Rural Press, illustrated with portrait of himself and 3 column cut of the Best built Remington pulling a Best combine.