Posts Tagged ‘Walking Tractor’

1928 – Meccano Walking Tractor – A. L. Spilhaus (Sth African) and C. Lee (British)

1925 Nilsson Walking Tractor

It is not always possible to use vehicles with wheels, especially when the ground is heavy and the surface uneven. The problem of overcoming the difficulty has long occupied the attention of inventors, and a new type of transmission was evolved when caterpillar action was used for the tanks during the War. One of the latest inventions in this connection is that of Mr. Nilsson, of Stockholm, whose novel "walking tractor" has recently been tested by the Swedish Government.
  This tractor moves forward, and hauls or carries a load, without the use of driving wheels or caterpillar action.
It uses levers or legs to retain a fixed grip on the ground, and is driven by a motor, mounted midway between the legs and a pair of wheels, which run free.
Power is transmitted through gearing to produce a movement of the legs, and this movement is almost identical with that of the legs of a horse, when the animal is hauling a load. The addition of a heavier load to the tractor causes the legs to take an increased grip on the ground. It is only necessary, therefore, to provide the tractor with suitable shoes, which vary according to the nature of the ground on which the vehicle is working.
  The legs are directly-geared members without cams, springs, or chains, and their movement is so timed that both legs are always planted on the ground before a leg is raised.
When a leg is lifted, the movement is speeded up and then is greatly decreased, until the leg reaches the ground again, at which point the speed is the same as at the beginning of the step. Thus the action does not force the shoe into the ground, as it might do if it came down with full force in places where the ground is soft.
  The method by which the tractor is steered is interesting. The gearing from the motor is connected to the legs in such a way that, when it is so desired, one leg moves forward more swiftly than the other. This movement is under control of the driver, so that the tractor will move forward in any desired curve. Apart from this, the tractor may be steered by the front wheels.
 It is anticipated that the tractor will be particularly useful for agricultural work, for it may be used for hauling ploughs and harrows over rough land, and used also for other farm duties.

Source: Meccano Magazine January 1925


1928 Meccano model of Nilsson's Walking Tractor.

Above model built by Brian Elvidge of the South East London Meccano Club.


Trivia: The above 1928 Meccano Magazine article was co-authored by [the now late] A. F. Spilhaus, who is famous for his Mechanical Toy collection of over 3000 pieces and book.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

1917 – Fageol 9-12 “Walking” Tractor – (American)

A Tractor that Walks?

Originally posted here on August 11, 2011 by heidrickaghistorycenter

The Fageol 9-12 “Walking” Tractor, 3500lbs, 1919. Heidrick Ag History Center.Our collection here at the Heidrick Ag History Center includes this little tractor.  Nestled in a line of other comparably sized tractors, you might first notice its because of its brown color.  But what really makes this tractor distinctive are its back wheels.  These back wheels are oddly shaped with grousers that look like spikes, and differ from the wheels of any other tractor that we have in our collection.

—Notice the spiked or wedged legs on the Fageol Walking Tractor. These kept the wheel rims from touching the ground, and made the tractor seem like it was "walking" on it. Heidrick Ag History Center Archives.
When farmers began working the fields in California, they quickly realized that the tractors they had been using on the East coast and in the mid-West were not suited for the soft California soil.  The rims of the wheels of many of these tractors sunk into the ground, and were difficult to get out once stuck. 

First manufactured by the Fageol Motor Company in 1917, the Fageol 9-12 was an early attempt at trying to prevent tractors from sinking into the soft California soil.  The spiked grousers, or legs, prevented the tractor from sinking into the soil, and in fact made it seem like the tractor almost floated above the soil.  The wedged grousers ensured that the wheel rims never even touched the ground.  The way that the tractor moved above the ground made some people think that the tractor was actually “walking” on the soil, thus earning the Fageol 9-12 the nickname as the “walking tractor.”

—Fageol Walking Tractor in use at a home orchard. No date. Heidrick Ag History Center Archives.
The Fageol 9-12 “Walking” Tractor design was unique not only because of its “walking” wheels, but it was also small enough to navigate small orchards and vineyards.  Advertisements for the tractor celebrated its “Tom Thumb” size, and marveled that at 3500 pounds it weighed only as much as a few horses.  The wheel design and size worked well on California’s orchards and vineyards, but its price tag of $1575 was too expensive for small farmers for the tractor to really catch on.  Even though the “walking” tractor design was discontinued by 1938, this unusual tractor is a great piece of California’s agricultural history!


Source: Popular Science, January 1923.


Other similar Walking Wheels

Source: Popular Science, May 1918.  Machine is a Hamilton-Fageol. The wheels are self-cleaning.


Walking Garden Sprinkler

Source: Popular Mechanics, October 1939.


See all Walking Machines including Walking Tractors and Walking Wheels here.


Tags: , , , , ,

1814 – Walking Wheel – Lewis Gompertz (British)

In 1824, Gompertz became a founding member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) which later became the RSPCA. He acted for many years as the president of the society prior to resigning for reasons that may have been connected to his radical views or to his Judaism. He went on to found the Animals' Friends Society.

Gompertz was a vegan and refused to ride in horse-drawn carriages.

Inspired by his desire to minimize animal suffering Gompertz invented a hand-crank drive in 1821, which he applied to the bicycle design of Baron von Drais. He also invented the expanding chuck, and , of most interest to us, in 1814 he designed ‘scapers’, which were substitutes for wheels, keeping the carriage at the same height off the road, reducing friction.


Source: Locomotives and Cars Vol 4.
A  novel machine was a few days ago exhibited in the Kensington and Clapham roads. It consisted of a sort of carriage-wheel which carries a railroad for itself, upon which the carriage travels with great facility and quickness. – It was composed of a jointed square instead of a circle, and has four rollers, not touching the road, and four feet which alternately come to the ground, producing a kind of walking and escaping obstacles. We understand it is the invention of Lewis Gompertz, Esq. Should these machines be adopted, probably common Railroads may be partially or wholly dispensed with.


Gompertz, L. , "Sundry Improvements in Carriages (and Substitutes for Wheel Carriages) and Other Machines", 1814 British Patent #3,804


Gompertz' idea was later improved by Diplock's "Pedrail" of 1900.


See other Walking Wheels at the bottom of the Walking Machines page.


Tags: , , , , ,

1922 – Walking Tractor – S. T. Corbitt (American)

Source: Popular Mechanics, March 1922

Patent number: 1287643 – see full patent details here.
Filing date: Dec 12, 1917
Issue date: Dec 17, 1918


Tags: , , ,

1922 – Mechanical Ox (Walking Tractor) – (American)

Source: Popular Science, September 1922 


Tags: , , , ,