A big ‘un: Big Four wows them at show

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Those attending the Blooming Prairie Tractor Show got a first-time look at a rare bird of a machine.

The Big Four 30, a 4-cylinder gas behemoth of a tractor, called the “Giant Horse,” was on display, thanks to owner Allan Severson, who lives near Bixby.

Severson, said show manager Ron Janning, spent seven years restoring the tractor, found in a farm field in Wisconsin.

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“This is the first show it’s been in; the first time anyone’s seen it,” Janning said. Severson had just left the show for a break when these photographs were taken.

The tractor was built in 1910 by the Gas Traction Co., in factories in Winnipeg, Canada and, Minneapolis, said Janning. It had, for those who understand such things, “30 horsepower on the draw bar and 60 horsepower on the belt pulley,” Janning said.

The huge rear wheels, according to the Farm Collector web site, are 8 feet across and 2 feet wide.

“It runs with the certainty of the perfected automobile,” according to its advertising.

According to Steel Wheels website, the machine had rear wheels that were 8 feet across and 2 feet wide. The company opened its Canadian factory in 1910, “to satisfy Canadian demands for big, powerful tractors.”

Janning pointed to an old photograph of the Big Four in the fields of North Dakota on display with the tractor.

“It could pulled six grain binders,” he said with a shake of his head.

Severson, who owns Countryside Machining, is involved in restoration of other Big Four tractors. In the Farm Collector web story about Severson, it was said that “the Big Four was a member of the class known as prairie tractors, and is a rare tractor; just 25 are known to exist. The Big Four was built by Gas Traction Co., Minneapolis, until 1912, when Emerson-Brantingham Co., Rockford, Illinois, bought out Gas Traction. Emerson-Brantingham continued to build the Big Four for several years.”