Monday, 24 June 2013

Back in the Day: King of the Field - Aultman Taylor 30-60

With all the huge, high-powered, computerized tractors on our colony today, hardly anybody
remembers that there used to be another amazing machine here, proudly puffing along many years ago. Like me, most don’t even know what it looked like, unless they’ve seen pictures. Only the grandpas, who worked with it in their younger days share mostly fond memories.

The Aultman Taylor 30-60 was the King of tractors back in the day. During harvest it was out in the field all day long, purring along happily, driving the threshing machine while six, two-man teams took turns pitching sheaves for all they were worth. “Dependable! I should say!” one of those former sheaf pitchers chuckled. “We were secretly hoping it would break down, so we could catch a break. No such luck.”

When I contacted the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin for information on this tractor, I was put in contact with Mr. Alex Campbell. “The Aultman Taylor 30-60 was a well-built, very powerful and reliable tractor for that time and could drive very large threshing machines - 50 inch cylinder width or more. To operate such a large threshing machine economically, meant a large number of sheaf wagons, men and horses were required to feed the threshing machine.” Mr. Campbell informed me in an email.

Courtesy of MB Agricultural Museum
 No surprise then, that this was the preferred tractor for Hutterites. The acquisition of the Aultman Taylor proved to be a sound investment for Elm River Colony, as it served them well from 1934 to 1948. Over the years, many different tractors have come and gone, most forgotten as quickly as the newest wonder rolled in. Only the remains of one found a final resting place at a museum.

This piece of Elm River history sits at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum. In the early 1960’s the museum learned about this antique, which had run out of steam and had been parked for more than a decade. By that time, many of its parts had been removed, some most likely sold for a few dollars, which sadly, included all the brass, radiator and fan. Nevertheless, the museum was happy when Elm River Colony donated their rather sorry looking 30-60. The museum was hoping to acquire parts for it, however that still hasn’t happened and with each year the chances get slimmer.

Thus, this skeleton of a tractor sits forlornly on the museum grounds, while other antiques entertain big audiences at the Thresherman’s Reunion every summer. The odd visitor stops by occasionally, lingers at its side for a while and reminisces about this beloved 30-60. However, nobody yearns to return to those ‘good old days’, what with a long line of high-tech machines, each reigning as King of the Field – for at least a few years.

Comparing the staying power of today’s state-of-art tractors, with that of the trusty Aultman Taylor 30-60, it seems that they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Or else, back then they didn’t have the means, nor saw any need to replace their machinery as regularly as they’re traded off nowadays.



  1. We love tractors, particularly antique ones in our family. A great post!

  2. We have a neighbor who farms in Germany and here too. He claims that
    tractors in Germany don't Break down
    for 20+ years!


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