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    Default OT: Crawler tractors



    Ok, this is to stop me going way OT on my own Bristol 22 thread:http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...er-196103.html

    Jim,
    at one time crawlers were really popular in the UK, Im not sure if there were tax or austerity advantages (during and after the war, wheeled tractors were more available on lugged steel wheels, so they could not be used (abused and wasted)for personal transport!).

    All of the tractor makers seemed to have their own crawler models, or third party conversions.

    The single cylinder 2 stroke track marshall was a particularly individualistic one (I think Lanz also had a crawler on their Bulldog). David Brown used to produce very nice crawlers, and both County and Roadless produced crawler and four wheel drive conversions of Fordsons. There were also half track conversions (with mid mounted axle) for fordsons and fergusons.

    Probably the cutist crawler was the little Ransomes, which was little bigger than a motorised wheelchair. http://www.google.ie/search?q=ransom...ient=firefox-a

    Another make which springs to mind was the Howard Platypus.

    Peter points out that a later Bristol went on to become the "Track Marshall" newer Track marshall models continued up into about the 1980s under the nationalised "British Leyland", with ever increasing HP put through a transmission designed for 65HP. I'm told that the 65HP ones are still the most desirable. I think there are still some working in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, on clay soil that is full of sharp flints!

    Internationally, I think Komatsu is bigger than Caterpiller. I heard a rumor, perhaps someone here can confirm or deny, that Komatsu machines continued to be made in the USA during WWII?

    I believe that Caterpiller bought their track design from Hornsby, who produced IC (top) and steam "chain tractor" prototypes.

    I need to look up the name of the guy in England who modelled the steam version. I'm told the original was used for a short while to haul coal to the Yukon.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In3N54bfuhE

    Keith

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpacca Fortyfive View Post
    [IMG] Jim,
    at one time crawlers were really popular in the UK, Im not sure if there were tax or austerity advantages (during and after the war, wheeled tractors were more available on lugged steel wheels, so they could not be used (abused and wasted)for personal transport!).

    All of the tractor makers seemed to have their own crawler models, or third party conversions.

    Internationally, I think Komatsu is bigger than Caterpiller. I heard a rumor, perhaps someone here can confirm or deny, that Komatsu machines continued to be made in the USA during WWII?

    I believe that Caterpiller bought their track design from Hornsby, who produced IC (top) and steam "chain tractor" prototypes.

    Keith
    Don't think Komaatsu was in the US until after WWII.

    Caterpillar was created in 1925 as a result of a merger of Holt and Best, both of which were based a few miles from each other in San Leandro, California (accross the bay from San Francisco)

    the roots of bothh companies were in making equipment needed to farm the Sacramento Valley.

    the valley was and still is an immensely productive agricultural area, and with the California Gold Rush in 1849 and the arrival of the railroad in the 1860's vast numbers of people flooded into California, and the Sacramento valley was a local option to hauling all the food stuffs for literally thousands of miles.

    the valley was a rich delta, but rainfall was light, and humidity low, with the best growing ground being the soft sub irrigated lands.

    The crawler tractor was developed by Best and Holt to provide a low ground pressure vehicle that could function on soft ground

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    Komatsu history:

    http://www.komatsu.com/CompanyInfo/p...e/history.html

    The history only shows a "joint venture" with International Harvester, but I know Komatsu is the supplier for IH dozer parts. By the way, my avatar shows my 2 babies, an IH500C and an Allis Chalmers HD11. Daisy and Big Momma.

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    There was a Ruston undercarriage dug out of the Muskeg here in the last year or two and was being displayed a group or a Museum in BC that had been a steamer.
    Hornsby experimented with putting this undercarriage on cars, also built steam and several different engine designs with similar undercarriage.
    I believe that Holt bought out the rights to Hornsby!
    Daniel Best Steamers of this period were all of round wheel design not until CL Best "Daniels son" went into business did Best build crawlers around 1913.

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    Angry Lombard Held the First Track Patent

    Holt? Best? Hornsby?

    BAH! HUMBUG! The first U.S. patent on a tracked vehicle was held by LOMBARD.

    The A.S.M.E. affixed a "National Mechanical Engineering Historic Landmark" plaque to the cab of the Lombard Log Hauler preserved at the Patten Lumberman's Museum in Patten, Maine, to recognize this.

    http://www.lumbermensmuseum.org/inde...&id=6&Itemid=7

    Lombard fought a long litigation with Caterpillar. Caterpillar outlived him.

    Notice that the machine looks sort of like a cross between a saddle-tank switching locomotive and a bulldozer, with some snowmobile bloodline thrown in. (The steerable skis on the front.) Actual contruction of the beast was subcontracted to the Baldwin Locomotive Works.

    Several of these survive; at least one was steam-able at a fairly recent date.

    (I'll bet this post stirs up a hornet's nest !)

    John Ruth

    P.S. This thread is emphatically not off topic. If the machines being discussed are not "Antique Machinery", then what is ???

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    I understand the first Lombards were built, 1880 or so, he hadn't figured out a steering mechanism yet. The skis were hitched to a team of horses that were used to steer the skis. The one in that photo must be a fairly late unit, the first with steering didn't have a shelter over the man that steered.

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    Hornsby



    First Holt tracklayer



    Best patent



    Pre tracklayer Best steamer

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1_68301_5_hornsby.jpg   1_68301_3_1904_holt.jpg   1_115749_49_bestideas.jpg   1_146589_7_beststeamer01.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post
    Holt? Best? Hornsby?

    BAH! HUMBUG! The first U.S. patent on a tracked vehicle was held by LOMBARD.

    The A.S.M.E. affixed a "National Mechanical Engineering Historic Landmark" plaque to the cab of the Lombard Log Hauler preserved at the Patten Lumberman's Museum in Patten, Maine, to recognize this.

    http://www.lumbermensmuseum.org/inde...&id=6&Itemid=7

    Lombard fought a long litigation with Caterpillar. Caterpillar outlived him.

    Notice that the machine looks sort of like a cross between a saddle-tank switching locomotive and a bulldozer, with some snowmobile bloodline thrown in. (The steerable skis on the front.) Actual contruction of the beast was subcontracted to the Baldwin Locomotive Works.

    Several of these survive; at least one was steam-able at a fairly recent date.

    (I'll bet this post stirs up a hornet's nest !)

    John Ruth

    P.S. This thread is emphatically not off topic. If the machines being discussed are not "Antique Machinery", then what is ???
    Cat has no history of inventing much. they couldn't even figure out that
    ifyou put a blade on the front of one you could push something with it.

    LeTourneau created the aftermarket business of selling blades for them.

    Cat's pattern is not to invent much, but let someone else develop the product and then swoop in and make the money on it.

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    Sorry but even Lombard is a Johnny come lately! The Minnis Crawler built in 1867, Go back further and you find the Miller traction road locomotive built in Marysville CA. 1858.
    One other point of interest is that C.L. Best bought Alvin Lombard's patents to ward off Patent infringements during court battles with Holt. Lombard hated Holt as he denied ever copying Lombard. rvannatta is right about caterpillar they utilized a lot of others ideas to make them there own.

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    Thumbs up Glad I asked!!!

    Thanks Keith and everyone else for the response!

    Enjoying it immensely, keep it coming. BTW, saw the Lombard claims when I went to Maine to pick up the Flathers shaper. There was a bunch of news paper clippings, patent paper, etc. put up in a restaurant we went to. (Think maybe an Applebees? maybe it was just Applebee-ish) It was fun to read and I wondered then if they were really the inventors of crawler tracks. Perhaps Restore49 can chime in on this as he's local to the area I'm referring to.

    So was there a specific builder in the UK who out sold all the rest? You mentioned tractor conversions. Was there a "John Deere" of the UK? Rubber tracks are really taking over the market here in mid-western US, they were somewhat of an oddity (for agricultural use) ten years ago when we left for the East. The funny part being, IIRC my tractor manufacturer history book rightly, many of the early gas tractors were tracked. Can't recall any tracked steamers.

    Cheers,
    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post
    Holt? Best? Hornsby?

    BAH! HUMBUG! The first U.S. patent on a tracked vehicle was held by LOMBARD.

    The A.S.M.E. affixed a "National Mechanical Engineering Historic Landmark" plaque to the cab of the Lombard Log Hauler preserved at the Patten Lumberman's Museum in Patten, Maine, to recognize this.

    http://www.lumbermensmuseum.org/inde...&id=6&Itemid=7

    Lombard fought a long litigation with Caterpillar. Caterpillar outlived him.

    Notice that the machine looks sort of like a cross between a saddle-tank switching locomotive and a bulldozer, with some snowmobile bloodline thrown in. (The steerable skis on the front.) Actual contruction of the beast was subcontracted to the Baldwin Locomotive Works.

    Several of these survive; at least one was steam-able at a fairly recent date.

    (I'll bet this post stirs up a hornet's nest !)

    John Ruth

    P.S. This thread is emphatically not off topic. If the machines being discussed are not "Antique Machinery", then what is ???
    I have been to the museum in Maine. There are a couple of gas Lonbards there. Actually Lambard stole the idea of tracks from a company in Ca. the first Lombards were screw driven that is they had long bullet shaped tubes on each side with auger blades on them. Live Steam magazine had several issues dedicated to Lombard and Holt a few years back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8D-132 View Post
    Sorry but even Lombard is a Johnny come lately! The Minnis Crawler built in 1867, Go back further and you find the Miller traction road locomotive built in Marysville CA. 1858.
    One other point of interest is that C.L. Best bought Alvin Lombard's patents to ward off Patent infringements during court battles with Holt. Lombard hated Holt as he denied ever copying Lombard. rvannatta is right about caterpillar they utilized a lot of others ideas to make them there own.
    Holt and best spent a fair amount of time suing each other. they even fought over the trademark "caterpillar", but at the end of the day they made a fatal error---they both got their financing from the same bank, and in 1925
    their banker became concerned that eventually one or the other would prevail which would cost the banker a loss, so the banker called
    them together, and ordered a shotgun wedding, and thus Caterpillar Tractor was born.

    for a long time in the 20th century, Deere and Cat had an odd relationship.
    They shared a number of dealerships, and conspiciously didn't not offer produccts that competed with one another. Deere didn't pursue the track market and Cat didn't make tractors with wheels. But that has drifted away now.

    Deere backed into the tracked market. --- Linderman--- a dealer in Yakima Washington, developed an 'aftermarket kit' to convert Deere wheel tractors to tracked tractors to work on the steep slopes and irrigated orchards in the Palouse.... ULtimately Deere bought out the rights from their dealer.

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    There are several books about Caterpillar that discuss the Best and Holt companies and their competition. One is the Caterpillar Century by Orlemann which has lots of nice pictures to go with the text. Can't vouch for it's accuracy, but appears to be pretty well documented.

    Without giving any secrets away, member 8D-132 is pretty well versed on Caterpillar history, mechanics and restorations and knows a number of the people involved in collecting them. (how is the shop coming along?)

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    To address Jim's question, from a UK perspective, after WW2, Vickers-Armstrong made a concerted effort to compete with Caterpillar, but failed:-

    http://www.contrafedpublishing.co.nz...180+Vigor.html

    One problem was that the track system was more suited to fast-moving tanks than bulldozers!

    Marshall/Fowler were reasonably successful:-

    http://tractors.wikia.com/wiki/Track_Marshall

    Some Caterpillar machines were built in the UK. I think Euclid and International also made dozers in the UK, some with Rolls-Royce engines, IIRC.

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    I've only seen pictures of the Vickers, but I have seen the old Belarus crawler with its' tank derived running gear
    http://www.tractordata.co.uk/others/...1973/index.htm

    Apparently, there is a new, road legal rubber tracked version:

    http://www.minprom.gov.by/eng/fair_p...ion_ID=1.05.01

    I wouldn't buy one, however cheap! hideous stalinist dictatorship that the place is... it won't even let it's citizens travel to the west.

    My brother bought a post knocker from a bunkruptcy auction a few years back, and when it arrived home, it had a 1980s belarus 4wd tractor attached The one with the adjustable width front axle. He actually quite likes it, as it is entirely set up for home maintenance under soviet conditions of primitiveness, there is no engine oil filter, as such, it uses a centrifuge that you just wash out with petrol, the fuel filters are likewize gauzes that you wash, rather than elements that the soviets would never have delivered. It also seems to be set up for operation by collective farm muppets - very useful for the seasonal labour.


    Ok, enough commie crap.

    I mentioned David Brown's crawlers. They are not painted commie red, they are "hunting pink" a totally diferent thing.
    http://www.davidbrowntractor.com/pho...ler%20Tractors

    I'm not sure when they stopped producing the crawler models.

    Following Rolls Royce's collapse into insolvency in 1972, British banks suddenly pannicked about their industrial clients and David Brown's bankers forced the sale of his tractor division to Tenneco International, who re badged them as Case, a shame as they were a particularly innovative maker, with hydroshift transmissions and much better top link sensing than their competitors at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asquith View Post
    To address Jim's question, from a UK perspective, after WW2, Vickers-Armstrong made a concerted effort to compete with Caterpillar, but failed:-

    Marshall/Fowler were reasonably successful:-

    Some Caterpillar machines were built in the UK. I think Euclid and International also made dozers in the UK, some with Rolls-Royce engines, IIRC.
    Thank you sir.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpacca Fortyfive View Post
    I've only seen pictures of the Vickers, but I have seen the old Belarus crawler with its' tank derived running gear
    http://www.tractordata.co.uk/others/...1973/index.htm
    Love it!! A truck cab on a tractor! I can see a Mom and Pop Ruskie taking a trip into town, maybe even in their church attire, grinning from ear to ear in that.

    ,
    Jim

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    Wish I had a picture of my dad's AC Alis-Chalmers with the truck cab. The windows had a pull strap to get them up, like our school busses. Kenny

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    Any help with the maker of this? I think it is British in WWI


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    Quote Originally Posted by recoilless View Post
    Any help with the maker of this? I think it is British in WWI

    John Fowler of Leeds possibly.

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    100 % a Holt, The Manifolds and engine are Holt. Front steering wheel also.

    I run one very similar, The tricycles used as artillery prime movers by US and GB.

    Also we have around here, a smaller armored one used to move smaller artillery.

    Drivers position is still open, no cab, or protection for him...


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