The Pioneer tractor in the Museum collection was originally owned by R.D. Lang who farmed south of Stonewall, Manitoba. Mr. Lang did some contracting as well as farming and the Pioneer was used by Mr. Lang to dig the basement of the Eaton’s Mail Order Building in Winnipeg. This building still stands and is now used by the Manitoba Public Insurance Company as an office building. George Lang, R.D. Lang’s son, donated the tractor to the Museum in the late 1950s.
The Pioneer Company was in business from 1909 to 1920 and was located in Winona, Minnesota. Canadian tariffs on imported farm machinery added considerably to the cost of imported tractors so Pioneer built a small factory at Calgary, Alberta in 1912. Pioneer hoped to build 30-60s at this plant using components brought from Winona and in so doing, avoid the Canadian tariffs. Significant numbers of Pioneers were sold on the Prairies, particularly in Saskatchewan.
This tractor is a 30-60 Model equipped with a 4-cylinder double opposed engine. The engine was laid flat. The cylinders possessed a 7 inch bore. Everything about this tractor is large. The fuel tank holds 100 gallons. The length of the tractor is 20 feet, 2 1/2 inches, the width 10 feet, 10 inches. The drive wheels have a 8 foot diameter with a 24 inch face. The front wheels have a 5 foot diameter with a 12 inch face. The tractor is equipped with a 3 forward speed transmission. The cab came from the factory equipped with a front and side windows. It is thought that the tractor, when new, could handle a 44 x 66 thresher or a 10 bottom plow (14 inch bottoms).
Pioneer claimed some firsts in tractor design; an entirely enclosed and oil-bathed drive gear train, a three speed sliding gear transmission, all machine-cut steel gears, automobile – type front axle and steering, enclosed operator’s cab and upholstered seats. One should note that while Pioneer claimed these firsts, the truth in tractor ads at this time period was somewhat elastic!
Pioneer attempted to enter a 30-60 in the 1912 Winnipeg tractor trials however some confusion within the company resulted in the entry forms not getting in on time. The Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition which operated the trials refused to let the Pioneer 30-60 compete. However after some negotiation, the Pioneer was allowed to go through the plowing and brake tests but the tractor would not be scored in the test. The Pioneer’s results compared well to the winning tractors of the 1912 trials and Pioneer used this material in ads. One ad claimed the 30-60 “Skinned ‘em Alive” with a world record for fuel economy for pounds of fuel consumed per horsepower hour produced by the big flat four cylinder engine. Pioneer also claimed the 30-60 was on the brake three times as long as the official competitors and maintained full horsepower for that time. The Pioneer pulled a 10 bottom John Deere plow with ease in the plowing segment of the contest.