Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tractors in the rain

Image: John Deere tractor ad, from MOTAT sign

Well, it was a wet day, and I was standing in the rain at MOTAT when I spotted these, but -- don't worry, the tractors are sheltered. I was the one dripping, and juggling to keep the camera relatively dry.

John Deere Model B tractor. According to MOTAT's sign, this was the best selling 2-cylinder tractor produced by that company, designed for smaller farms. This one was imported here by Brown and Dureau in 1937, used in Coatesville, then went to Glenbrook where it worked for 15 years before reaching MOTAT in 1967.

Image:  "Holt 75 model gasoline-powered Caterpillar tractor used early in World War I as an artillery tractor ", from Wikipedia.

The Caterpillar Company, according to the signs, "was formed in 1925 by a merger of the Holt Manufacturing Company and C L Best Tractor Company." In turn, the Holt Manufacturing Company, Wiki says, stemmed from a company called Stockton Wheel Service, dating from the 1880s, which fabricated wheels, as in carts and wagons, while C L Best came from Daniel Best's manufacturing company in the 1870s, initially turning out grain cleaners and combine harvesters. The trademark name Caterpillar came from Holt, in 1911. The company Caterpillar Inc. is still going strong.

Above is a Caterpillar 22 tractor, originally purchased by a Urenui farmer in Taranaki in 1935. It pulled a set of giant discs over 7000 acres during its working life, preparing the land for planting in pasture, along with general farm work, and dragging logs from a forest. Over 15,000 of these machines were manufactured between 1934 and 1939.

Caterpillar Thirty tractor.  The colour scheme for the Holt Manufacturing Company, according to MOTAT, was grey and red, but this was replaced (too drab) to the "Caterpillar yellow" associated with work done by the machines on highways worldwide. This one, although it was originally the Best 30, has been restored by MOTAT to the grey and red livery. Only 18 Caterpillar Thirties were imported into the country between 1925 and 1928.

The Caterpillar Thirty after restoration, 1979, from the MOTAT sign.


  1. I was driving tractors long before I was driving cars. First one was a Fordson, which was started on petrol and the you switched over to kerosene. Later a John Deere and occasionally a grey Massey Ferguson. Did you have Fergie tractors there? I didn't drive it, but there was also a Caterpillar to knock all those nasty trees down. It may have been a Case? Stylish design was not high on the list at the time was it?

  2. Massey Fergusons are part of the Kiwi rural landscape. I'm pretty sure MOTAT has one of them elsewhere on the site. As for the lack of stylish design, yeah -- they probably put power ahead of looks.

  3. ...and for those REALLY into Caterpillars, check THIS place out, when you're next in Rotorua...
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