The Museum’s collection features a 25-45 Sawyer Massey kerosene tractor. The 25-45 was donated to the Museum in 1960 by J.M. McCrindle of Foxwarren, Manitoba.
Sawyer Massey was formed in 1892 when the Massey family bought into the L.D. Sawyer Company. The Massey family was also a major shareholder in the Massey Harris Company however there was never any further connection between the two companies.
Sawyer Massey was a major Canadian manufacturer of steam engines, threshing machines and other implements. Through the 1890s to 1910 Sawyer Massey was successful however the emergence of gas tractors posed problems for Sawyer Massey. The Massey family felt gas tractors were the future however the other partners in Sawyer Massey felt steam engines still had a place. The Massey family felt strongly enough about the issue, they sold their interest in Sawyer Massey. After the departure of the Massey family, Sawyer Massey changed its mind and moved into production of gas tractors.
Records indicate the first Sawyer Massey tractor model built was rated as a 20-40 but it was discovered the engine actually turned out 51.85 horsepower on the pony brake, a belt driven dynamometer. The design was then re-rated as a 25-45. Sawyer Massey designed and built the engines used in the 20-40 and 25-45 tractors.
The 25-45 design did evolve over time as the 20-40 and the early 25-45 tractors used a tank type radiator in which engine exhaust was ducted into a stack on the top of the square cooling water tank. As the exhaust escaped upwards, cooler air was pulled into the tank and drawn upwards through the exhaust stack. Along the way the air was directed through baffles in the tank over which hot coolant from the engine was being trickled. While this arrangement cooled the water, the loss of cooling water was substantial. The Sawyer Massey 25-45 also featured a trombone type arrangement in the piping which took heated cooling water from the engine to the tank for cooling. This arrangement appears to have been installed to increase the cooling capacity. Later 25-45 tractors featured an automotive type, non-pressurized radiator cooled by an engine driven fan.
Sawyer Massey also produced two smaller tractors, an 11-22 and a 17-34 using engines from outside suppliers. Sawyer Massey tractors were sold in Western and Eastern Canada.
Sawyer Massey continued to build steam engines, threshing machines, clover hullers, saw mills and road machinery along with gas tractors. By the mid 1920s, Sawyer Massey along with other small manufacturers of farm equipment began to find it increasingly difficult to compete with larger concerns such as International Harvester Corporation (IHC) which were better financed, had integrated manufacturing facilities, offered complete machinery lines, larger sales organizations and could afford the increasingly expensive research and development costs associated with new farm machinery. Sawyer Massey exited the farm machinery business in the mid 1920s and concentrated on road machinery. After World War Two, the Sawyer Massey Company was wound down, liquidated and entered history.