Birk Petersen built this 1/2 scale 1919 Samson “Iron Horse” tractor. The model was based on a prototype that was owned by Bill Oester of Scappoose, OR. Samsons were built by General Motors Corporation, and powered by a 490 cubic inch Chevy engine. (Birk’s model is powered by a lawn mower engine, although it does have 4-wheel drive.) The prototype that Birk measured for this model is one of only four known to exist. The Iron Horse tractor was an early attempt to ease the fear of farmers who were used to walking behind a team of horses for farm work. It was operated by a set of reins that were pulled to steer the tractor. At the time, the tractors were less costly than a team of three horses, but reliability problems led to poor sales.

The 1/2 scale 1919 Samson “Iron Horse” tractor.

Exhibit added: May 7, 2016 - Last modified: January 18, 2024

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship