Steam Plows and Plowing!

A lot of plowing information and images are spread through many threads here; but I wondered if it would be worthwhile to have a plowing thread to have this theme studied a little closer? It does seem to me that someone had started a plowing thread quite some time back? I have searched and not found anything so far? Not wanting to steal anyone else's thunder, if there is a thread already on the go, perhaps the moderators could combine this with the existing thread (our moderators can perform wonders, miracles I tell ya!:O).
At any rate, this is open to any pictures, new or old on steam plowing. Also, information on the different plows made for steam breaking, hints on plowing, etc.. To start is a 1912 item from Farmer's Advocate magazine on the plows used at the famed Winnipeg Trials. They just didn't judge engines and tractors but plows, reapers, threshers and other equipment.
The second picture is the Ben Smith outfit from Boharm, Saskatchewan. This was taken in 1901. Mr. Smith has rigged 3 regular plows together for a nice load for the Huber. The 1st and 3rd plows are Imperial gangs and I believe they are from the Verity Works (Massey-Harris) of Brantford, Ontario. The center gang is a different make. So, when were the first actual steam engine gang plows made? Mr. Smith has done the best he could with what he had available at the time and probably plowed a lot of Prairie in his day. Note the pinion gear hanging on the 1st gang - musta needed a bit of weight here to start the furrow?
G.
 

Attachments

Here are a couple more views from the August 7, 1912 issue of Farmer's Advocate printed in Winnipeg. The pictures are quite dark and grainy as the Advocate was printed on dull paper and doesn't scan well.
The 1st is of a group of experts analyzing an Avery Patent lift plow. The second is from a Case ad. They were using Case-Satley(sp?) plows - anyone know anything about that type?
The plowing at the Winnipeg Trials that year was judged by Prof SA Bedford, Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Manitoba, assisted by Angus MacKay, WC McKillican and GH Hutton from the Dominion Experimental Farms.
Each outfit had 4 rounds or 8 times across the field turning a furrow 3,955 feet long, in all 6 miles not including turns! Steam and gas/kerosene tractors both competed.
G.
 

Attachments

It seems like Cockshutt Plow Company out of Brantford, Ontario was one of the pioneer builders of engine gang plows. And their plows have always been well thought of.
From the April 1907 Canadian Thresherman are some Cockshutt pictures.
The 1st is probably taken right down the road from their factory near Brantford. It shows them running-in a brand new Waterous engine also built in Brantford. The Waterous is a 26-30hp rear mount. They had double-simple motors and if memory serves were 7x12 bore/stroke or better. At least I think the plow is a Cockshutt - Verity works were also just down the road and they also made engine gangs?
The other two photos are from a Cockshutt ad in the same issue. The one shows behind a 32 Reeves likely in Saskatchewan. The ad says: WE PLOW THE PRAIRIE!
G.
 

Attachments

G...
Here are a few more. The first is of an Advance pulling a Reeves steam lift plow with an Advance engine. Notice the plume of steam where they just let it into the ground.



The second is of an Aultman-Taylor plowing in Montana, I believe, and from my A&T catalog. This has the rear bunker like Chatfields, too.



The third is a 30hp undermounted Avery pulling an Avery steam lift plow, courtesy of my late friend, Richard Rorvig.



This last one is of a 110hp Case pulling disk plows at Benchland, Montana. This makes two 110hp Case pictures I've placed on SS today and neither one had cabs.
Gary

 
The first engine is a Buffalo-Pitts in RevJJ's Texas prairie country, pulling disk plows.



This second one is of the Wettles Brother's 110hp Case plowing in Minnesota, courtesy of my late friend Slim Rennewanz, a nephew of the Wettles'



This third picture is of Don Bradley's 110hp #24151 plowing in eastern Montana, in its original element... And before it got restored with a cab.



This last picture is of a Montana Special 25hp double simple rear mounted Gaar-Scott plowing near Lewistown, Montana, where I was born. Again, pulling disk plows.
Gary

 
This first picture is one friend Melvin Kestler sent me of his father, George's Montana Special 75hp Case plowing engine.



This second picture is of the Holst Brothers plowing with their Avery Return Flue engine in Sheridan County, Montana.



This third picture is of a 30hp(?) Minneapolis double simple pulling plows near Helena, Montana and courtesy of friend Bob Giles.



This last picture is from a postcard of friend Carl Mehmke's showing a 35hp Nichols & Shepard plowing and disking in one operation.
Gary

 
Actually, G... I'm waiting for my supper to heat up, in case you wondered? This first one is of a 30hp Nichols & Shepard plowing here in Montana and again, courtesy of friend Carl Mehmke.



I didn't want to slight the Torske Brothers with their 110hp Case oil burner plowing near Conrad, Montana. That should put a smile on Suden 1's face!



This third is a picture is of a Reeves25hp cc with Reeves steam lift plow near Havre, Montana and judging from the automobile, I'd say 1905?



This last picture was taken on the ranch now owned by Austin Monk's brother, about 40 miles west of Kalispell, Montana. A Mr. Stillman owned this 25hp Reeves double simple with "dual driver wheels" and this #106 Reeves steam lift plow.
Gary

 

20Avery

New member
A question just came to my thoughts looking at all these wonderful pics. I have never asked anyone nor have I heard the answer to this question just in normal conversation. So I am going to ask it.

Was it quite a bit more straining on a set of differential gears when a machine had those really wide extension rims on the rear drivers? It had to become a real bear to steer a very short corner with them. The extra weight and extra traction had to be plenty straining on the drive gears.

Jace
 

Mike McKnight

New member
Guys,
Cool, awesome old plowing pics! Here's a couple of new pics of my 8 bottom JD plow I bought off the 'stak awhile back....being pulled by a 20 HP DRM G/S, SN 16,643. Thanks to all my buds in Iowa (and elsewhere) who were able to get the parts freed up, hitch built, and deck built in quite a short period of time. :D

I can recall only a couple of the folks on the plow...Kory Anderson and Craig Dobbins up at the front of the plow...the back two I can't remember. On the engine is good 'ol KR firing, and Russell Farmer (the owner) steering.

Mike M
 

Attachments

Last edited:
A question just came to my thoughts looking at all these wonderful pics. I have never asked anyone nor have I heard the answer to this question just in normal conversation. So I am going to ask it.

Was it quite a bit more straining on a set of differential gears when a machine had those really wide extension rims on the rear drivers? It had to become a real bear to steer a very short corner with them. The extra weight and extra traction had to be plenty straining on the drive gears.

Jace
Jace,
I'd imagine it put undue strain on the differential when turning and it certainly gave extra traction, likely straining the drive gears. It provided better floatation, as much of an engine's (or tractor's today) power is robbed by the amount of soil the wheels push and the deeper the wheels sink, the more they push... Maybe not putting more strain on the differential, but definitely the whole gear train. I've always tried to imagine in my mind how much strain the master gear on the crankshaft is placing on an intermediate gear. Intermediate gears took great punishment, as that upper gear is trying to spit that gear right out of the gear train. I also remember my old friend Lyle Hoffmaster grumbling about the rear wheels and wide extension rims on a 40hp Reeves (56" in width per wheel) putting undue strain on the rear axle, when the outer ends of the extensions are resting on higher ground, such as following a slight coulee.
Gary;)
 
Mike,
Since you placed modern photos on, I'm going to place one here. It was one of the first times I took the Peerless plowing. I think it was my second year plowing with it. That old 20-bottom plow is still awesome when I look at it from this angle.



My late friend Harold Ottaway sent me this picture of a 32hp Case plowing on the Schwager farm near Dundurn, Saskatchewan.



This is another 32hp Case plowing near Fort Benton, Montana, the world's innermost port.



Slim Rennewanz let me photocopy his postcard of these two Colean engines plowing.
Gary

 
This is a Carl Mehmke photo or postcard showing a Holt plowing, likely in California.



This is a copy of my postcard showing a Holt steam traction engine with wide steel drivers pulling a width of 44', plowing and seeding. These may bother a differential, Jace?



The Dotseth Brothers are plowing on Montana's highline with a 30hp Huber return flue.



The late Mort Christensen of Conrad, Montana had this picture of a Jacob Price engine and plow, believed to be the one at the Manhattan (Montana) Malting Company.
Gary

 
Last edited:
This first picture is of I.V. Wagner's Minneapolis breaking sod at Galata, Montana.



This second picture is from friend Dean Alling, showing a 25hp Reeves double simple pulling a Reeves steam lift plow.



This third picture is of Joe and Anton King's Z-3 Peerless plowing in Montana's Judith Basin, between Moore and Lewistown.



This last picture shows three 40-(140)hp Reeves Canadian Special oil burners owned by the Kersons Brothers and plowing with Brush plows in Oklahoma.
Gary

 
Some more from the April 1907 Canadian Thresherman.
The gentleman is A. Burneiss Greig. He was a prof at University of Saskatchewan and was one of the leading gurus of mechanized farming. He went on to establish the famed Winnipeg Trials. He was well ahead of his time in advocating the light gasoline powered tractor; but also promoted steam plowing in the breaking of the Prairie lands.
The 2nd picture is a sample of a day sheet for the plowmen and this has the hand of Greig all over it. He liked to see things done in a scientific and orderly fashion. I cannot find reference to the J Wilson on the form or what kind of outfit he had. At the bottom he has written (in case the scan isn't clear) "land easy to work, a few small stones. Pump gave out. Water dirty - bolt in plow head broke. new mouldboard a great improvement. Boiler steams better with Galt coal.". Not sure about Galt coal, will have to look that up???
Last picture is, I think, the Miller and Carnahan outfits at Osage, Saskatchewan. In the lead is a 25 Case (?) with 8x14" plows followed by a 32 Reeves with 10x14". Both are Cockshutt plows. In four months they broke 1900 acres, 1400 of prairie and 500 stubble. Five men and 2 teams with each outfit, burned 2 tons of Crowsnest coal (Alberta/BC) per day, averaged 20-30 acres/day. Best day was 33 acres @ $1.00/acre.
G.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

GaarScott

New member
Mike and others,

The fella next to Craig Dobbins (2nd in from the left) is Jerred Ruble. I'm not sure who the first fella is though. Obviously, third in from left is Craig Dobbins and the last person is "Prince" Kory!:O Nicholas has another name for him...but we won't repeat that one in mixed company!:D

Lawrence
 
Top