Maryland tractor collector Jim Gargani owns one of the most unusual tractors ever built, a Case 10-20. Designed as transitional power from large and bulky steam engines to smaller-size gas engine tractors, the 10-20 has many peculiar features, including a 22-in. wide by 52-in. tall main drive right rear wheel, a 12-in. secondary drive left rear wheel, and a single front wheel. The secondary drive wheel was mainly an idler but could be engaged by a temporary clutch for extra traction.
Gargani says the tractor’s 4-cyl. gas engine, the same one used on Case automobiles at the time, is mounted crosswise on a sturdy I-beam frame. It has a high-tension magneto ignition and an impulse starter. Running at 800 rpm’s, the engine produces about 29 hp. on the belt pulley, enough to power a 26-in. threshing machine or easily handle a 3-bottom plow. The radiator and fan on the left side of the frame cool the engine with splash and pump lubrication.
Gargani says that the unfortunate position of the operator’s seat behind the right wheel fender doesn’t allow the driver to see the front wheel to observe which direction the tractor is turning. Engineers solved the problem by adding a weather-vane type arrow on top of the wheel shaft.
Just over 6,500 of the tractors were built from 1915 to 1918 and because newer, smaller, and easier-to-operate tractors had been launched, dealers needed almost 6 years to sell off all their inventory. Much of that production was sold to the Italian government, according to Farm Implement News in 1918.
Priced at just $800 FOB, Racine, Wisc., Case advertisements noted that the 10-20 was “the handiest small machine you could buy, getting in all the corners, working in orchards, and easily pulling 3-bottom plows. You’re on par with the big fellow if you’re the power farmer.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Gargani, Federalsburg, Md. 21632.