THE COMING OF THE HART PARRS

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Parr 60 owned by Glen W. Thomas of R. D. 4, Ottawa, Illinois.

Route 4, Ottawa, Illinois

It was in the year 1908. Hart Parr Company, builders of the
first successful gasoline traction engine were standardizing on
their sixty brake horsepower kerosene tractor. This was perhaps the
real beginning of the decline of steam power for farm work, for
plowing and field work more-so than threshing.

The Hart Parr 60 tractor was built for plowing and heavy drawbar
work. From 1908 and the years that followed these Hart Parrs were
shipped into the northwest to break the virgin prairies in ever
increasing numbers. The coming of the Hart Parrs into the pioneer
lands was almost as significant as the coming of the steel rails.
In not a few cases was it that the 60’s arrived ahead of the
rails, being used for the grading of many a mile of new railroad
right-of-way. One of the main lines into the new northwest used
these 60’s in fleets for this heavy work.

In my collection of history on the development of farm machines,
almost invariably will the Hart Parr be mentioned. I have before me
here a letter written some time ago ana a letter written to me some
time ago for the historian, Mr. E. R. Potter of Saskatchewan,
Canada, on the history of farm power on the plains of western
Canada, in which he writes in part, ‘The Coming of the Hart
Parrs.’ Mr. Roy Ross of Alberta, in his article in one of the
issues of the IRON-MEN ALBUM tells us in one paragraph, ‘The
Hart Parrs were beginning to show up in increasing numbers’.
While visiting the Northwest Development Company museum in
Saskatoon on one occasion, a gray haired pioneer Canadian farmers
pointed out one of the old 50’s and said, ‘There was the
tractor.’

Whether on the ‘Bonanza’ wheat farms of the Red River
Valley of the north, the plains of western Canada, or wherever the
virgin soil was turned up by the plow, these Hart Parrs became
known as ‘The Old Reliable Sixty’.

I own one of the Old Reliable 60’s at the present time. It
shows little wear and is in good condition after being in use on a
large farm for plowing, threshing and sawing for a period of
forty-two years. To those of you who are not familiar with its
construction, it has horizontal oil cooled 10×15 twin cylinders.
Low tension ignition, hit and miss type governor. Idling and at
light loads this engine fires only one cylinder, and as the load
increases both cylinders fire if necessary to maintain governor
speed of 350 RPM. Instead of opening a small priming cock to
relieve compression for starting, on this tractor engine you open
one and one-quarter inch pipe valves. There are four 3 inch exhaust
pipes on this two cylinder engine. The massive flywheel is five
feet in diameter, belt pulley 40’x12′, rear wheels 34 inch
face. The overall width of tractor is 10 feet 10 inches.

I also own an Advance Rumely ‘Oil pull’ tractor, a 30-60
Aultman-Taylor tractor and a 16-50 hp. Nichols & Shepard steam
engine.

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