12498 14th Ave. N. Haney, B.C., Canada
The Bryan light steam tractor was made about 1920, until
depression days in 1933 when lots of good companies folded up.
This tractor was made by the Bryan Harvester Company, Peru,
Indiana and sold for about $2000. which was a good price in those
days. It had outstanding qualities not possessed by the
conventional traction engine and by the gasoline tractor.
It could be steamed up in about 20 minutes, did not have to have
1 or 2 teams hauling water, nor a fireman to be firing it with
straw. Its fuel was kerosene or distillate and being a condensing
type of steam engine, the water was used over and over again. The
engine was a 2 cylinder, simple double acting one with piston
valves of Shepheson and reversing gear. The speed of the engine was
about 220 r.p.m. and the bore was 4 inches and the stroke 5 inches.
It had few working parts and was enclosed against dust and dirt.
Lubrication was by means of Madison Kipp force feed pump. The
crankshaft operated in roller bearings.
The boiler was a water tube type. It had interchangeable tubes,
had no shell and no stay bolts or crown sheet to get hot or crack.
Each tube was removable, independent of all others. It had a steam
pressure of 600 psi. automatically controlled. Before reaching the
cylinders, the steam was superheaded to 750 degrees. The boiler was
the 3′ drum-type.
The fuel burner was the vaporizing type. A pilot light was used
to ignite the main burner. A double acting water pump was used.
After the steam had done its work in the cylinders, it was passed
through a radiator type condenser assisted by a fan and turned back
to warm water and returned to the water tank to do its work again.
In this way, very little water was lost through evaporation.
The tractor carried enough water and fuel for a days work and
would pull a 3-14′ furrow plow and drive a 24-46 thresher.
The specifications were: Brake horsepower, 20; total length, 11
feet 8 inches; height, 5 feet 6 inches; rear wheel face, 12 inches;
turning radius, 15 feet; belt pulley diameter, 24 inches; fuel
tank, 35 gallons; crankshaft speed, 20 to 800 rpm; road speed, to 5
m.p.h.; width, 6 feet 6 inches; rear wheel diameter, 52 inches;
weight, 5500 lbs.; water tank, 60 gallons and face 6.
Mr. Matthews of South Dakota asked for information on this
tractor in the May-June issue of IMA and other boys might also be
I would like to get a picture of rear view showing controls and
steam and water gauge of this tractor and a picture of it
I don’t think any of these tractions were sold in Canada. In
any case it looked like a real steam tractor. I never saw one