Rare 1895 Steam Traction Engine Catalog

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This is the illustration from page 10 of the 1895 Jacob Price engine catalog, which refers to its steam traction engine as a field locomotive.
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This is page 10 of the steam traction engine catalog in full.
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This is page 11 of the Jacob Price steam traction engine catalog.
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This is the illustration from page 12 of the Jacob Price engine catalog.
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This is page 12 of the catalog in full.
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This is page 13 of the catalog.

In our January/February 2005 issue, we presented pages 5-9 of the 1895
Jacob Price Field Locomotive catalog graciously supplied by steam
enthusiast and regular contributor John Davidson. In this, the
third installment of our reprint of the original steam engine catalog, we pick
up with page 10 and run through page 13.

This third section of the catalog focuses on plowing with Jacob
Price Field Locomotives, with specific discussion given to plowing
in different types of terrain.

The catalog challenges any question of steam power’s
superiority, noting in its fluid prose that “the advantage and
economy of steam cultivation is such that it cannot be ignored by
those who wish to conduct their farming operations at the greatest
profit.” Steam, the catalog notes with authority, is the
prime mover of agriculture. Noting the tribulations experienced by
beasts of burden, the catalog boasts of Price engines that, “When
steam is turned on, they move.”

Interestingly, in setting forth a thesis of the superiority of
steam-powered plowing, the catalog also qualifies the conditions
under which a steam traction engine experienced difficulties, noting
in particular that, “Miry or muddy ground, if the mud is deep, is
greatly against steam plowing.”

Even so, for the vast majority of American agriculture, the
catalog predicts a steady move to steam-powered plowing, extolling,
not surprisingly, the virtues of the Jacob Price field locomotive
and the role it was set to play in a new era of mechanized
agriculture.

Working to keep expectations in line with reality, the catalog
delves into the specific capabilities of Price engines with various
plow combinations, noting the trials undertaken that took Price to
adopt gangs of independently mounted plows to assure uniform
performance in the field. “These plows conform freely to all
inequalities of soil,” the catalog notes.

In the next installment of this series, we’ll pick up with page 14 of the 1895
Jacob Price Field Locomotive catalog.


Special thanks to John Davidson of
Bristol, WI for generously supplying his original 1895 Jacob
Price catalog so we could share it with our readers.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment