Schramm Pneumatractor Still Going Strong

Schramm Pneumatractor does double duty as working collectible

| February 2011

David Ammerman is not generally attracted to odd tractors to add to his collection of old iron, but he admits the first time he saw a Schramm tractor at an auction, he was intrigued. “I couldn’t figure out what it was. It looked like it had an LP tank on it. I looked at it for a while and figured out what it was, and then I was interested in it. The next thing I knew, the auctioneer said ‘sold!’” he recalls with a laugh.  

Starting with a mystery crawler 
Growing up on a farm, David became fascinated by old iron as he grew older. “The first time I thought that way was back when I was interested in the steam-type shows,” he says. “I went to a few, like at Rollag (Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion) and discovered I just like to see that stuff moving and working.”

The first tractor he bought was an unknown crawler. It appears to be a pre-Case 300-type machine. “I don’t know a lot about this tractor and I’d like to find out more,” he says. “I’d appreciate information on it from anyone.”

David’s been told that it fits the description of an earlier Case 300-type tractor, except the tracks are only about half as wide (six or seven inches) as those on the Case. However, he’s also been told it was used for military operations. In that case, smaller, lighter tracks make sense. “I was told that they dropped these machines in by parachute to build runways for airplanes,” he says, “and when they left, the crawlers were destroyed so the enemy couldn’t use them.” He used his for digging and landscaping on his large river lot. “It worked a lot faster than a shovel,” he says.

A versatile machine
Since then, he’s procured quite a line of old iron, like an IH TD-18 with a Bryce dozer, 1947 Caterpillar D8, Farmall F-12, John Deere A and others, but nothing quite as unusual as his 1957 Schramm 125 Pneumatractor, a piece in a class by itself. “The Schramm wouldn’t do well on the farm compared to other tractors of its era,” David says. “It would only be able to do light work and it wouldn’t be able to plow.” (for more on the history of Schramm, click here.)

But the work it could do is demonstrated by the add-ons available for Pneumatractors: front-end loader, snow plow, backfill blade, front and rear winches, mowers, post hole diggers, rotary brushes and pneumajack. The Pneumatractor was a versatile unit on the farm or a construction site.