Two-wheel tractors existed in the U.S. at least as early as 1913, when the Detroit Tractor Company advertised a tractor whose operator, riding on the implement, controlled the tractor via reins, just as he would a horse team …………..More from Wikipedia on history of earliest pedestrian tractors in the US
In 1915, Rush Hamilton of Healdsville, California, designed grouser drive wheels for his tractor, which came with an articulated two-iron-wheeled sulky to which wagons or plows could be attached. It was about this time that he formed the Hamilton Tractor Company. The two 46-inch diameter drive wheels were at the front of the tractor and each had 16 10-inch U-shaped grousers around its periphery. His machine’s two front wheels have a series of steel projections about a foot long which, as the tractor advances, dig their way into the soil, thereby getting traction for the pulling of plows or whatever other machinery being used, and by agitating the ground as it moves along loosens up the soil for the plow. Bands are furnished to go over the lugs on the drive wheels so the tractor can be put in shape for road driving within a few minutes. About 10 years later, the wheels were called “Hamilton wheels” when used on a Fordson tractor. In 1916 he helped form the Fageol Motor Company, where he assisted in the development of the Fageol tractor.
Homemade Tractor is a Survivor.
Last fall I came across a barn that was being cleaned out. Outside was this gem of a homemade tractor I saved from the scrap heap. The tractor is a great example of “necessity is the mother of invention.” A Model A Ford supplied the running gear with a cut-down rear end, and angle iron welded on the wheels formed tire cleats. It has a Model A Ford transmission and homemade throw bearing for the clutch, which is mounted over the rear end, and a huge chain-driven sprocket that would drive the tractor. The engine is missing and nowhere to be found. I think the engine had to be an air-cooled unit. The front end of the frame is not extended for a radiator. It must have been a large engine, based on the size of the starter. Several engine and tractor enthusiasts have thought that this was a single plow tractor or rock-and-stump puller. The “man-killer” may have been used to drag out firewood logs, but not during Maine’s mud season. It will be used as a flower box this coming spring.
By Kind permission of Paul Baresol, Buxton, Maine , 2016
One Man’s Collection
Jeff Lauber of Columbus Junction shows his collection of vintage walkbehind, two wheel tractors and talks about some of their uses. Here , on this YouTube clip he discusses 23 models of David Bradley 2 wheel tractors and a lot more.