Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Roots of Motive Power Steam Up #6: The Best Tractor

This 19th century beauty is as tall as the giant modern-day harvesters, but was used in some logging operations in the 1880s. The rear wheel is about six feet in diameter, and the trolley cradling a log has wheels even larger. The demonstration log is a fraction of the size of the trees this would have been removing from the virgin redwood forests.

More photos of this monster are on my Overflow blog. This post is dedicated to Wayne of Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Dina said...

What a strange tractor! Never seen such a thing.
Did people really log the virgin redwood forests? :(

Anonymous said...

It is a steam engine or looks like one. Nice photos. Never saw them used in logging. Around here they were used in preparing and harvesting operations.

Ming the Merciless said...

What a beautiful piece of machinery! Even the font type on the front is so artistically done.

Kym said...

I cracked up when I really looked at the picture and saw the stick that is supposed to be the demonstration log. I'm not sure the loggers from the time of that machine would use that for anything but a toothpick.

Paul Bunyan stories run rampant in these hills.

(But Great photo of the machine.)

Wayne said...

What a beauty Elaine. This looks like what we would call a skidder today. Have their people get in touch with our people and maybe we can find them a real log.

Slightly off the topic. Imagine an airplane hangar full of machines like this. In Saskatchewan there are four branches of the Western Development Museum. I've only been to the one in Yorkton and I was a kid but they had dozens and dozens of steam tractors all lined up. My brothers and I climbed all over these things for hours.

It seems nobody ever scrapped these machines, they just parked them in a field.

Hilda said...

Wow, that's huge! But it also looks dainty, actually, if it weren't for the size.

USelaine said...

Dina - There are only tiny remnants left in this county. Everything is second, or third, or fourth growth. Those trees were huge!

Abe - Yes, it is a steam tractor. It must have been hot up in the cab.

Ming - It really is spectacular to see. Every inch was restored with such care.

Kym - You're old enough to remember the single log loads on the trucks too, aren't you?

Wayne - I think they just wanted something they could lift into place by hand. 6^) Our logs are bigger than your logs, any day of the week! The Great Plains needed armies of tractors, I would guess. Glad you got your fill.

Hilda - Now that you mention it, the elegant paint flourishes, and the countless little spokes are sort of lacy.

Thanks everyone!

Kym said...

Yes, I remember those. One enormous log and nothing else on the back of a semi. Sometimes there would even be a convoy of a couple trucks and, by the tapering of the log, you could tell each had just a piece of the whole thing.

Virginia said...

I imagine we will need a 12 Step Program to get Wayne off this high. Lordy, he'll be hard to live with.
Thanks E for sharing these neat shots with us.