100 Years of Cletrac

Hart-Parr/Oliver collectors celebrate Cletrac centennial at a summer show in New York.

| December 2016

  • An Oliver HG wide track owned by Dave Hilliard, Sarver, Pa.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • Owned by Roland Bleitz, Grants Pass, Ore., this 1917 Model R (serial no. 101) Cleveland Motor Plow was the oldest Cletrac at the show.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • A 1953 Oliver Model 100 wire tie baler owned and restored by John Langless, Avon, N.Y.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • A 1755 Oliver Front Wheel Assist owned by George Coryn, Canandaigua, N.Y.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • A 1940 Cletrac Model BG with cargo winch owned by Dick and Carol Monkelbaan, Sheldon, N.Y.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • A 1937 Oliver Hart-Parr 70 high-clearance tractor with corn cultivator owned by Dean and Nancy Pannebaker, Landisburg, Pa.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • This 1945 Cletrac Model FDE, owned by Bob Burkhouse, Bradford, Pa., was the biggest Cletrac crawler at the Canandaigua show.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • This 1938 Cletrac Model EHD2-68 is owned by the Winslow family, Sandston, Va.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • 1929 General Model D with a 2-cylinder engine owned by Landis Zimmerman, Ephrata, Pa. General serial number tags read, “The General Tractor Co., Cleveland, Ohio,” but many suspect The General was built by Cleveland Tractor Co. Although no patent for the tractor itself can be found under the name of Cletrac founder Rollin White, two of the tractor’s components were patented by White. The General’s hood is also quite similar to those of Cletrac crawlers produced in the same era. The General is a 2-wheeled machine operated from an attached sulky or from the seat of a horse-drawn implement, and has a 2-cylinder water-cooled engine apparently produced in-house.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • A 1918 Cletrac Model H owned by Landis Zimmerman.
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge
  • This salesman’s model of a Cletrac rear-end was used to show prospective buyers how Cletrac’s controlled differential steering impacted Cletrac Tru-Traction. “In turning an Oliver Cletrac, there is no disconnection of power to either track,” a Cletrac ad says. “No jerking, no twisting, but smooth, even turning with power delivered to both tracks at all time.”
    Photo by Paul Trowbridge

The Hart-Parr/Oliver Collectors Assn.’s annual Summer Show, celebrating 100 years of Cletrac, was held during the New York Steam Engine Assn.’s 56th annual Pageant of Steam, Aug. 10-13, in Canandaigua, New York.

The event was said to be the largest showing of Cletrac and Oliver crawlers ever. I counted more than 300 pieces of Oliver-related exhibits, ranging from a very unique Oliver baler to many Hart-Parr tractors. The feature tractor was the Cletrac Model F.

The two host organizations (and numerous vendors) were housed in a beautiful new barn that will be used for feature tractor displays in future shows at the Canandaigua grounds. Landis Zimmerman had a nice vendor spot and was a huge wealth of information on Cletrac tractors. He displayed Cletracs outside as well as all his vendor parts, and he was the keynote speaker at the banquet Friday evening. Landis is quite the historian on anything Oliver-Cletrac.

Marc Shuknecht, a member of the Empire State Oliver Collectors, said that club was very excited to host the event this year. In addition to helping with his fellow club members produce the show, Marc and his family transported at least 30 tractor exhibits to Canandaigua.

The oldest and the biggest

Bob Burkhouse, Bradford, Pennsylvania, displayed a 1945 Cletrac FDE – the biggest Cletrac I’ve ever seen, and the biggest Cletrac at the show – once used in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. I watched him unload it, put the blade back on and go push dirt alongside a Caterpillar D6, and the FDE did the same or better than the Cat.


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