1917 – Walking Tractor – (Unknown) (American)
Popular Mechanics October 1917 p520-1
In plowing and cultivating, a well-trained, intelligent train of horses means much to a farmer. Therefore it is not surprising that many agriculturists are slow in accepting the tractor, with its clumsy wheels and grinding motor, for such work. For these reluctant ruralists, however, a new kind of machine has been invented. It is wheelless and comes as near being a four-legged steel horse as anything ever conceived outside the realm of cartoondom. The ingeniousness of the contrivance makes it humorous. It has feet and legs as well as hips, knees, and ankles, and is designed to amble along as steadily as any sorrel team that ever pulled a disk. The chief difference in the arrangement of the pedal extremities of the machine and those of a flesh-and-blood draft animal, is that there are no forward and hind legs. Instead, there are outside and inside ones, as the two pairs are mounted on opposite sides, rather than ends, of a rectangular frame.
The feet of the steel beast are ski-shaped members and attached to the forelegs by universal joints. The steering is accomplished with levers which cause the limbs on one side to take long steps and those on the other to take short ones, when a corner, for instance, is negotiated. Reversing is accomplished by shifting the kneecaps from the front to the hind sides of the legs, and speed is regulated by shortening or lengthening the steps, as the case may be. The power is supplied by a gasoline motor installed at the front of the frame. It is pointed out that the "horse" is particularly adapted for cultivating corn, for its height is such that it can straddle a row of six-foot corn without touching the stalks. Only a small fraction of the power consumed by an ordinary wheel tractor is required to propel the walking machine, according to the inventor, and the fuel consumption should therefore be low.