For nearly two decades the mighty Linn
‘HafTrak’ was without peer. Approximately
2,500 examples of the ‘torque monster from Morris’ were produced
and 1948, and thanks to a rabid fan base, they remain popular today,
a crowd whenever the handful of remaining operational Linns are shown
Linn's early tractors were visually similar to the logging tractors
manufactured by his former employer, Alvin O. Lombard, the track
systems differed enough that both men received US Patents on their
respective designs; Lombard favored a rigid track - Linn a flexible
one. Clearly Linn's tractors were based on Lombard's concept, but a
close examination of the respective patents reveals no infringement, at
least where the tracks are concerned. If either inventor had bothered
to apply for a patent on the overal design of the two units, the case
would not be so cut and dried.
H.H. Linn’s patented ‘Flexible Traction’
units gave the Linn
tractor a distinct advantage over a conventional motor truck enabling
it to traverse rock-strewn,
muddy or hilly terrain previously inaccessible by a motor vehicle.
transmitted to the ground via the rear crawler tracks which included a
steel triangle, pivoted at its apex, which allowed the track bed to
conform to the contour of whatever surface the Linn might encounter.
The Linn proved popular with loggers,
and municipalities, serving double duty as a road-building machine
summer months and a snowplow during the winter. Under ideal conditions
claimed the Linn could travel up a 50% incline and some customers,
Barrie, VT’s Vermont Marble Co. stated their Linns regularly carried a
load up a 22% grade.
When equipped with skis a snow-going Linn
road train, (1 or
2 Linn tractors towing from 10 to 16 log sleds) could increase
10-fold, with numerous North American logging and mining outfits
their efficiency in Linn advertising. One Linn snow train, operated by
Bay Mining & Smelting Co., Ltd., pulled a 120 ton load from their
to its Flin Flon, Manitoba/Saskatchewan, outpost and the Amtorg Trading
exported numerous Linns for use in the Russian province of Siberia.
Linns were also popular in warmer environs,
a number of
units were exported to the Middle East, as well as the Panama Canal
they were used for canal, roadway and railway maintenance. During the
equipped with 5-10 ton rock bodies were used by contractors engaged in
construction of the Bonneville, Chickamauga, Guntersville and Grand
Coulee Dams and helped construct the Canadian Oil (Canol) oil pipeline
Linns were delivered fully-equipped, with
offered a vast assortment of bodies which included the standard 8-9
body, side-tipping rock bodies from 5 to 15 yard capacity, and
haulers equipped with Gar Wood and St. Paul hydraulic hoists. A 25-yard
37-T flexible-tracked dumping semi-trailer was also offered, but there
Numerous New York municipalities owned Linn
could be equipped with their choice of snow-fighting equipment
for the Linn by Champion, Frink and Sergent. Early models
with bi-lateral wing plows required from two to three operators, plus
driver, but later units offered hydraulic control, allowing a Linn plow
operate with just a single operator (plus the driver – a necessity as
could be a handful to drive in inclement weather).
Early Linns were equipped with 4-cylinder
Continental Red Seal engines while later editions could be ordered with
variety of power-plants
ranging from four- and six-cylinder Waukesha and Hercules gasoline
engines to the
six-cylinder Cummins diesel torque monster. From 1929-on Linn was owned
American LaFrance and a handful of Linn prototypes were equipped with
V-12 gasoline engines. Early Linns were limited to a top speed of 5-6
although later units equipped with the big Hercules 6-cylinder could
reach a top
speed of 12 mph.
The firm’s swan-song was the 1939 Linn C-5
tractor truck, which could be operated as a standard Linn off-road or
as a conventional truck (albeit with
on the road. Unfortunately the C-5 came one decade too late as Linn’s
customers - municipal highway departments - were already bandoning
their Linns in favor
of more modern
and versatile road-building and maintenance equipment offered by Walter
and shortly after War’s end, Linn quietly withdrew from business.
Linn's founder, Holman Harry Flannery, was
born on May 7,
1877* in Washburn,
Aroostook County, Maine, to William J. and Lucretia A. (Currier)
father was a farmer in rural Washburn which was located just west of
better-known communities of Caribou and Presque Isle, Maine. (*His
burial records states he was born on
May 4, 1878.)
His mother, Lucretia A. Currier was born on
Dec. 4, 1852 at Fort
County, Maine to Henry C. and Mary (Stevens) Currier (farmers)
being the youngest of 8 children.
parents’ marriage ended in divorce in 1883, and
his mother left
Washburn and moved to Old Town, Penobscot County, Maine
(North of Bangor) to re-establish her life. In 1892
she married a Scottish-born confectioner named Robert D. Linn (b. June,
1850) and shortly after their marriage, 16-yo Holman left his father’s
to live with his mother and stepfather in Old Town, securing employment
weaver at the Old Town Woolen Co. Linn's meager income was supplemented
by a part-time job at a local shoemaker where he became proficient at
operating a McKay leather
Linn also joined Herbert Percy's Band and on
holidays and weekends toured the
region providing musical entertainment to the culturally deprived
residents of rural New England. The 1900 US census lists
his name as Holman H. Flannery (occupation, musician), but shortly
thereafter he changed his last name
to Linn. The Linn household also included Elery C. Currier
(b. Jan. 1880)
who was also listed as a stepson of Robert D. Linn – his occupation
confectionaries (aka Ellery C. Linn).
On one playing engagement in Berlin, New
Hampshire, Linn became infatuated with a divorcee named Mrs.
Edward Wheeler (Grace Goravilla Gay
b. Nov. 9, 1870 in Tunbridge, Vermont to Orrin Albert and Estella J.
[Richardson] Gay), and the two married on June 2, 1900. Grace was
a musician and singer and her enterprising husband decided to form a
roadshow to showcase her considerable talents.
Performing canines were popular at the time
and within a few short months Linn had trained a number of pups to
perform various tricks,
with the performance augmented by the newlyweds singing the
latest popular songs accompanied by Grace's portable reed organ backed
by scenic views projected by a magic lantern. Soon after Linn added
motion pictures to the attractions, projecting such crowd favorites as
the Great Train Robbery (1903) and Uncle Tom's Cabin (1903).
In their early days 'The Linns and their
Wonderful Educated Dogs and
Monkeys' travelled by horse-drawn wagons, which was later acccompanied
by H.H. Linn's horseless carriage, which could be seen in return for a
10¢ fee. As the size of the entourage increased Linn became engrossed
with building his own road locomotive and in 1906 designed a road going
vehicle which utilized two upright
Brennan gasolene engines
connected via a jackshaft and bi-lateral chains to the two rear
wheels. The road locomotive was constructed in the carriage shop
of John Gould in
Old Town, Maine and created a sensation wherever the Linn's performed.
By 1908 black face comedian G.E. Follette,
wire artist Mavolio, and serio comic Princess Madeline had joined
Linn's entourage, necessitating an even larger road locomotive, which
tasked with hauling three trailers full of equipment. The second
iteration of Linn's road locomotive would be fully enclosed for
travelling during inclement weather and in the fall of 1909 he
commissioned the Lombard
Tractor Co. of Waterville, Maine to construct it.
In 1908 Lombard had constructed a
prototype based on the a 5-ton Lombard steam tractor using a
50-hp Brennan engine powering the twin ‘lag beds’ or ‘lag tractor
treads' (better known today as
a 'Caterpillar treads'). The flywheel resided at the
rear of the engine, the front-mounted driveshaft delivering power to a
2-speed transmission (2-forward, 1-reverse) that were connected to the
sprockets via chain drive. Cooling was supplied by four cast-iron house
radiators with an expansion tank created from a wooden barrel. Unlike a
standard Lombard steam tractor, the driver of the gas-powered Lombard
sat at the very front of the vehicle directly above the front
a second gasolene-powered
tractor in 1909 that was equipped with a Brennan
4-cylinder engine that fit between the two frame rails, allowing for a
load floor. A third machine, based upon the second prototype,was
constructed for H.H. Linn in late summer, the November 1909 issue of
Automobile Dealer and
Repairer providing the details:
“New Use for the Automobile.
“C. Lombard Company of Waterville, Me.,
manufacturers of the
famous Lombard log hauler, has made one of the most unique arrangements
traveling circus that has ever been seen. It is a car for the use of
the H. H. Linn
dog show. A car 26 feet long and 6½ feet wide has been
completed for the proprietor of the show, and is set over a gear
that which propels the hauler. By means of this car, which is fitted up
comfortable traveling home, the carts containing the equipage of the
show will be
taken from place to place. A Brennan 4-cylinder gasoline engine of 50
horsepower propels the running gear, and the machine can travel over
of a road at the rate of four miles an hour. By means of a truck in
turned by a work gear, the car can be steered, and it can also be run
winter time by placing runners in front instead of the wheels.
“The car is divided into two parts, the
living quarters and
the operating room. In the latter are repair kits, dynamos and all that
necessary for the mechanical part of the business. A dynamo capable of
furnishing power for 150 sixteen candle power lights will supply the
illumination for the car and also for the interior of the tent.”
A typical Dog Show performance was covered
in the August 8, 1912 issue of The Hour
“Linn's Dog Show
“The first performance of the Linn Dog
at the Capt. Lamb lot, Main street., last night, drew a large audience
and the satisfaction expressed afterwards indicates that the tensts
will be crowded tonight. The entertainment consists of moving pictures,
illustrated songs and a skit introducing a musical specialty. The
performing dogs do wonderful tricks, some of which have never been seen
with any other show. The outside show which precedes the regular
performance, attracted a large crowd. The wonderful dog which jumps
from a ladder 40 feet in height and is caught in a blanket, came in for
his share of the applause. The show is the quietest, cleanest and most
elaborately equipped of any which has ever visited town. The
appointments are all first class condition and the big tractor which
furnishes power for the lights and draws the train from town to town,
came in for it share of interest. The show will be seen tonight and
tomorrow night when it will move to Fairfield. No afternoon
performances are given. The program is changed at every performance.”
Lombard constructed a second
machine for Linn, the second, being a purpose-built
demonstrator that Linn used to advertise Lombard tractors, as he had
now taken a part-time position as a Lombard representative when his
was on haitus. Equipped with a single rear lag bed, the second vehicle
looked remarkably similar to the tractors that H.H. Linn would soon
produce under his own name, albeit Linn's would be quipped with a pair
of lag beds for better stability.
working for Lombard, Linn (aka 'The Showman') spent his
winters visiting New England logging camps where he demonstrated
Lombard's latest gas-engined tractors, providing much-needed feedback
to the Waterville factory as to improvements in future products.
Linn parted ways with the Lombard
organization in 1915 due to his displeasure with the fact that Lombard
had applied for a number of U.S. Patents on improvements suggested by
Linn without giving him credit.
Linn resolved that he would build his own
gasolene-powered caravan and in the summer of 1915 he commissioned
Syracuse's Brennan Motor Co. to construct a prototype chassis which
included a new fully flexible track unit of Linn's design which allowed
the tracks to maintain full contact with the road surface regardless of
The Linn's also decided to leave Maine for
good and in October of 1915 they purchased a home in the small
Otsego County, New York village of Morris, which was located 70 miles
southeast of Syracuse. The latest local celebrities were granted
permission to house their animals and show equipment at the Town of
Morris fairgrounds during the winter and Linn set about completing his
latest caravan in a Lynn
Kenyon's carriage shop.
The new caravan was completed by spring of
1916 and the Linns embarked upon their annual tour of New York and New
England. Midway through their summer tour a serious outbreak of
Polio occured among Italian immigrants in the city of New York forcing
the NY State Health Department to enforce a travel ban in a number of
counties boardering Westchester County and Manhattan. In the interests
of public health neighboring states quickly followed suit and the
Linn's were forced to abandon the remained of their 1916 summer tour.
They returned to Morris and Linn decided to embark upon the manufacture
of his own tractor utilizing the new track system he had developed for
his latest caravan.
Linn found a number of willing investors in
and around Morris and by late fall had made arrangements for the
incporation of the Linn Manufacturing Corp. Original investors included
Lynn Kenyon, R. R. Ripley, Dr. L.R. Morris and George Whitman, cashier
of the Morris First National Bank, and the village fathers offered up
an old abandoned
grist/lumber mill for a factory site.
Production of the prototype commenced
in an old Morris machine shop located on Grove St. that January, the
February 22, 1917 issue of the Oneonta Star
“Linn Tractors Sold
“The Linn tractors are becoming very
popular after they have
been seen working. Last week a representative of a state road firm was
Morris witnessing demonstrations by the machine and were so well
before they left they contracted for a machine to be delivered May 20,
would have taken another of the could have gotten one, but the company
in shape to furnish it so soon. This makes five tractors that have been
and delivered as soon as they can be made. The shop will start up about
1, and will turn them out as fast as possible. As it looks now they
to work some to make them as fast as the can sell them.”
The firm's incorporation was announced in
the trades that spring, the April 1917 issue of the Cycle and
Journal giving the firm's location as Lincoln, Nebraska:
“Linn Mfg. Corp., Lincoln, Neb., organized
with a capital of
$50,000 to manufacture autos, tractors, etc. Incorporators are H.H.
Linn, G. Whitman and L.R. Morris.”
The May 1917 issue of the same publication
(Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal) offered the following correction:
“Linn Mfg. Corp., Morris, N.Y. has been
organized with a capitalization of $50,000 to manufactured autos,
tractors, etc. We
inadvertently stated in our last issue the company was located in
Lincoln, Neb. Incorporators: H.H. Linn, G. Whitman, and L.R. Morris.”
The old wooden mill was torn down
and a modern 300' x 50' one story concrete block factory was erected in
its place, the July 25, 1917 issue of the Oneonta Star reporting:
“The old saw and grist mills near the fair
grounds have been
torn down to make room for the new buildings of the Linn Tractor
foundations for the new buildings will be started this week.
“Fitch Gilbert of Gilbertsville purchased
Linn tractor last week.”
The new factory was located adjacent to
Butternut Creek wher they constructed a hydroelectric
generating plant that was powered by a 12' x 13' diameter 60 hp Fitz
steel overshot waterwheel which
was hung by Linn's own hand. The excess power generated by Linn's
hydroelectric plant was sold to the local municipality through the
Linn-controlled Morris Electric Light and Power Company.
Unlike most manufacturing plants of it's day
which featured stationary engine-driven shaft and belt
power tools, Linn's adoption of electric power created a much cleaner
and safer factory environment, as each piece of
machinery was powered by its own electric motor.
Linn exhibited a new Linn tractor at the
1917 Oneonta Fair, the September 19, 1917 issue of the Oneonta Star
“At the Oneonta Fair
“A new Linn tractor out of the shop for
first time on Monday, is on exhibition at the Oneonta Fair this week,
of Cooperstown has bought this machine, the second one inside of a
The first production Linn tractor was sold
to Charles Brook, a Mt. Upton logger; the second, to Fitch
Gilbert, who used it to haul material from Gilbertsville to a hillside
tract where he was constructing a new
By year's end a
dozen machines had been turned out and a grateful Linn held an open
house for the citizens of Morris the following March, the March 27,
1918 issue of the Oneonta Star reporting:
“Open Night at Tractor Plant
“Last Thursday night was visitors’ night
the Linn tractor
plant and a large number of people took the opportunity to make their
visit to this busy place. The plant was running full blast and lighted
large dynamo, which made it as light as day. The men were all busy at
various machines and the wood workers were building trailers. There
were six of
them in various stages of completion, and six or seven tractors were
assembled, from completed ones down to just the frame. Many of the
surprised that such a large manufacturing institution was in their
they did not know much about it. It is a big thing for Morris, and they
very busy turning out the machines and selling all they can make.”
Additional local pruchasers of Linn
equipment appaered in the ‘Otsego County News’ column of the April
3, 1918 edition of the Oneonta Star:
“Edmeston, Pittsfield and Exeter have each
purchased a Linn Tractor to use on the highways.”
Less than two years after its
increased sales forced a recapitalization, the November 20, 1919
issue of The Iron Age reporting:
“The Linn Tractor Corporation,
Morris, N. Y., has
been incorporated with an active capital of $50,000 by H. H. Linn. G.
and R. R. Ripley, to manufacture motor tractors and parts.”
The tracks on the very first Linns suffered
from a poorly designed
hollow-steel rollers whose wood cores crumbled under hard use.
were quickly replaced with solid Manganese rollers furnished by the
Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Co. of Highbridge, New Jersey.
By late 1919 business had improved to the
point where Linn hired a dedicated salesman, the ‘Otsego County News’
column of the
December 11, 1919
issue of the Oneonta Star reporting:
“Engaged As Sales Agent
“The Linn Manufacturing corporation has
engaged Albert H.
Nichols of this village (Morris) as sales agent to go on the road and
Linn Tractor. Mr. Nichols will make a good agent as he is familiar with
working of the machine, having been engaged in the plant when it first
and for the past year has used one on the highways of this town as
superintendent of highways, and can demonstrate one in all it
Although no mention of a snow plow is made,
the Wednesday January 28, 1920 issue of the
Oneonta Star reported that a Linn tractor had cleared a 14-ft path
through the snow:
“The experience over in the Butternut
worthy of more than passing notice. As noted in ‘The Star’ of
it became impossible for the trucks to carry the milk from Morris and
to Mt. Upton, the shipping point, a Linn tractor was hitched to a
road machines and the highway was cleared to a width of 14 feet and
other motor driven vehicles are passing over it. The cost was trifling
with the monetary value of the use of the highway.
“It is understood that the town of
one of the tractors for its use. It is not improbable that other
be found along the Sidney, Cooperstown and Cobleskill highways which
available for use in clearing the roads of snow during the winter
Linn tractors were now frequently called
into action whenever a major snowstorm struck the northeast, the
February 3, 1920 issue of the Oneonta Star reporting:
“To Continue Highway Work
“Progress Made On Otego Road Today
“Commissioner Youngman spent most of the
a force of men at work on the Otego road endeavoring to open it to auto
traffic. Below the Plains schoolhouse a drift was encountered in the
and the tractor was thrown out of the roadway. It required some time to
it and then the work was abandoned for the day. Last evening Mr.
Thompson, who has
had some experience with the tractor, communicated with the Linn
at Morris and they advised mounting the front end on runners, which it
would aid in keeping the road machine on the roadway. This morning an
will be made to rig the Linn Tractor of the town after this fashion and
in the day it probably will be in use again.”
The following day's paper (February 4, 1920
Oneonta Star) provided additional details:
“Tractors Do The Work
“Otego Road Cleared To Nichols Farm and
Colliers Road to
“Linn Tractor when equipped with runners
“With the Linn tractor mounted at the
upon runners and
guided by the sturdy team of Charles E. Thompson of South Side and a
machine in tow the state road from Oneonta-Otego was opened yesterday
shape for light motor cars as far as the farm of Charles E. Nichols.
permitting, the town superintendent, aided by Mr. Thompson and others
force, will continue on this road today with every indication that it
opened to Otego and perhaps beyond. The tractor was kept in the road
means of guidance and it performed admirably, demonstrating that the
be cleared from the highways in first class manner by this method. Of
Oneonta delayed until the snow was packed in the roadway, which
task extremely difficult.
“From the Pond Lily corner to the farm
of H.L. Day the
second road machine was kept in motion during the greater part of the
the contrivance was being rigged for guiding the tractor. Attached to
the teams of M.G. Keenan and Charles Nichols and they pulled true, and
drifts in that section had been lowered when the tractor arrived
1 o’clock. The roadway is well packed where the snow could not be cut
the macadam and while it was not deemed advisable to attempt to use the
with big trucks or motor buses, the light cars will make it
Below the Day farm there were encountered few drifts and road is in
condition except in one stretch for a few rods were a bit of shoveling
done early today.
“All engaged on this job were confident
snow can be
controlled on the state roads in this section excepting in the event of
blizzard. Snow fences erected at points where trouble is likely to
with the tractor ready as soon as any large snowfall occurs, it is
that the roads will be kept passable for the entire winter. Preparation should be made for the task
during the coming summer.”
B.H. Baird, 786 Michigan St., San Francisco,
California. Linn's west coast distributor,
saw to it that the Linn was well-publicized in the region's
automobile trades, its first appearance being in the February 15, 1920
issue of Motor West:
“Linn Tractor Appears on Coast
“A newcomer in the tractor field on the
Pacific Coast is the
Linn tractor. B.H. Baird, Pacific Coast distributor, has demonstrated
machines hauling sugar beets, plowing and logging with great success.
most tractors, the Linn has a carrying capacity of 5 tons on its own
might be more correctly termed a tractor truck, as the design is
similar to an
automobile truck with the exception of the rear self-laying track in
wheels. The power plant is a 45 H.P. Red Seal Continental engine, and
four speed model 60 Brown-Lipe transmission and Brown-Lipe-Chapin
the Linn is one of the most powerful hauling propositions on the market
The normal load for tractor and trailer is 16 tons over an 8 per cent
The maximum speed is 6 miles an hour.”
Now that production began to keep up with
demand, Linn began advertising in the national lumber trades, the
following - which appeared in the July 31, 1920 issue of American
Lumberman - being representative of the advertisement/articles that
were popular at the time:
“An All Year Tractor
“An All Year Tractor More than once the
Truck and Tractor
Department of the ‘American Lumberman’ has been asked where a machine
obtained of the track laying type which will operate winter and summer
snow sand or any other such conditions. The Linn tractor made by the
Manufacturing Corporation, Morris, N.Y., serves as a very good answer
question for it is so built that in the summer time front wheels,
motor truck wheels, are used; but these wheels are removed in winter
sled runners substituted therefor. One lumberman in New York State uses
fleet of Linn tractors the year around. He has found they work with
facility in the summer or in the winter. In the winter time ice roads
and with the sled equipment the tractors proceed as dependably and
during the summer. The accompanying illustration shows a Linn tractor
to show both sled and wheel steerage.”
By this time most of the parts used in
Linn's patented tracklaying system were being supplied by
Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Co. of Highbridge, New Jersey, and
like most early vehicles, the remainder was assembled from parts
supplied by various
third-parties, the only item manufactured in-house was its wooden cab
which was hand-constructed by an old Swedish carpenter named George
The August 15,
1920 issue of the Commercial Car Journal provides the sources of many
of the Linn tractor's components:
“Linn Geared-to-the-Ground Tractor
“The Linn tractor, manufactured by
Manufacturing Corp., Morris, N. Y., is a self-laying track machine and
especially adapted to work on wood or lumber jobs, or heavy
contracts, because it can do the work of ten teams, and it can travel
roadways in the woods and on soft ground where horses cannot go and
paying load. The tractor is claimed to be able to pun four times its
over ordinary roads, winter or summer. To perfect the traction power of
revolving track, a flexible traction member was invented, which will
at all times to any unevenness in the road or field which it might
This is an improvement over the rigid self-laying track as they often
spots or depressions and they have no traction at all. The construction
track has been simplified, as not a bolt or nut is used in this
aside from the hangers which carry the axles. The sprockets and
said to have an unusually long wearing surface. The track link joint
15-16-in. hardened pin, 13 in. long, that floats and has bearings its
length. The anti-friction rolls are of ample size and strength and
weight on their axles.
“The Linn tractor is made of such
units as a
Continental, Red Seal engine, Bosch magneto, Schebler carburetor,
transmission and Brown-Lipe-Chapin differential, and Sheldon front-axle.
“The four-cylinder, vertical, L head type,
engine, has a bore and stroke of 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 in.,
Engine speed is controlled by a Pierce governor. The crankshaft
measure 3/4 in. front, in. middle, and 4 15/16 in. rear Gasoline is fed
from a fuel tank having a capacity of 3054 gal. through a Schebler
carburetor, which is equipped with a hotspot manifold. Ignition is
Bosch magneto. The splash and force feed system of lubrication includes
Continental, double-plunging oil pump and a Morris oil indicator on the
“Cooling water is circulated over the
cylinder head and valve
seats by a centrifugal pump. The radiator is honeycomb type and is a
Cooling air is sent through the radiator by a large Oakes fan driven by
“The sliding gear transmission- system
speeds forward and one reverse is the Brown-Lipe, fourspeed, Model 60
transmission. This transmission provides the following speeds and
in lb.: First or low, 1 mile, 12,000 lb.; second, 2 mile, 8000 lb.;
mile, 3500 lb., and fourth, 5 1/2 mile, 2000 lb. Differential
Brown-Lipe-Chapin and final drive is internal gear.
“The front axle is a Sheldon, equipped
with roller bearings and carrying two front wheels equipped with 36 x 5
“The length of a Linn tractor is
198 in., width 74
in., height 36 in., to the top of the cab, wheelbase 111 in., size of
ft. by 5 ft. 4 in., outside turning radius ft., weight packed for
“The price is $5000 f.o.b. Morris, N. Y. A
front sled for
winter use can be secured for $50 additional.”
Linn could be equipped with a wide variety of bodies and equipment
which included stake beds, fifth wheels, fuel tanks, and dump bodies
which ranged in sizes from 5 to 15 yards. Purpose-built
Linn loggers and logging trailers could be equipped with racks for
carrying 4-foot pulp wood bolts or massive bunks for handling logs up
to 16 feet in length. Most early Linn users were regional highway
departments with the next largest group being businesses involved in
harvesting or processing of timber, as evidenced by the following list
of North American Linn
Users - circa 1920 - supplied by Rene Elliott:
Clark Estate, Cooperstown, N.Y.
Iroquois Farms, A. Treyl & Co., Livingston, Manor, N.Y.
Root Bros. Otego, N.Y.
Highway Supt. Town of Oneonta, Oneonta, N.Y.
J.J. Smith, Limestone, N.Y.
C.A. Goff & Sons, Kenwood, N.Y.
Highway Supt. Symra, N.Y.
C.W. Peak, Peaksville, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Edmonston, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Exeter, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Schuyler Lake, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Pittsfield, N.Y.
Highway Supt., New Berlin, N.Y.
Arthur Leighton Co., Cooks Falls, N.Y.
James Mfg. Co., Kane, Pa.
Vandilla Chemical Co., Olean, N.Y.
Fitzpatrick & Weller, Ellicottville, N.Y.
A.B. Smith Chemical Co., Red House, N.Y.
Oswayo Chemical Co., Genesee,Pa.
Highway Supt., Town of Middlefield, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Cooperstown, N.Y.
Highway Supv., Mr. Button, Town of Columbus, New Berlin, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Howard McPherson, Town of Bovina, Bovina Center, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Town of New Berlin, N.Y.
Corbett & Stewart, Corbett, N.Y.
E.R. Washburn, Franklinville, N.Y.
J.E. Cannan (Camp #7), Forestport, N.Y.
Oxford Basket Co., Oxford, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Town of Smithville, Smithville Flats, N.Y.
Highway Supt., McDonough, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Worchester, N.Y.
Wyman Chemical Co., Port Alleghany, N.Y.
Moyer & Pratt, Lyonsdale, N.Y.
Blount Lumber Co., Laconia, N.Y.
United Block Co., Crogan, N.Y.
United Block Co., Chaffee, N.Y.
Warner Sugar Refining Co., Roulette, Pa.
Highway Supt., Sidney, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Unadilla, N.Y.
B.H. Baird, 786 Michigan St., San Francisco, Cal.
Carter Oil Co., (Mr. Cooper) Parkersburg, W.Va.
Highway Supt., Town of Burlington, West Burlington, N.Y.
Clyesdale Motor Truck Co., Pearl St., Toronto, Can.
Potter, Burton Lumber Co., Fort Ann, N.Y.
A. Sherman Lumber Co., Potsdam, N.Y.
Young Bros., Lumber Mfrs., Elmira, N.Y.
Hugh Nawn Contracting Co., Gilboa N.Y.
C. Fred Johnson, (Mr. Burton) Johnson City, N.Y.
Charlotteville Creamery Co., Charlotteville, N.Y.
Mr. Geo. Polley, Andes, N.Y.
Baggs Machinery & Supply Co., Baggs, Wy.
L.L. Sornberger, Masonville, N.Y.
Mr. LaPorte, Brandreth, N.Y.
J.S. Avery, New Milford, Pa.
Dale Engineering Co., Mann Bldg., Utica, N.Y.
Dale Engineering Co., East Springfield, N.Y.
Brooklyn Cooperage Co., St. Regis Falls, N.Y.
Highway Supt., Town of Norwich, Norwich, N.Y.
Chas. P. Root, Gilbertsville, N.Y.
Highway Supt. (Mr. Robbins) Bainbridge, N.Y.
E.A. Schubert, Room 312 MacClain Bldg., Roanoke, Va.
A recent Linn purchase by the Durham Lumber
Co., of Brownsville, California was mentioned in the November 1920
issue of The Timberman:
“Logging With Linn Tractor
“At its camps near Brownsville, Cal.,
Lumber Co. has
recently installed a Linn tractor, the reports on which have been
The Linn is a machine of the tractor-truck type. The track laying
the driving wheels insures a maximum of traction power on all kinds of
Economy trailers go to make up the train and total load so moved
feet of green logs. Good time is made on the 24 mile haul on which
grades of 15
to 20 per cent are encountered. B.H. Baird of 786 Mission Street, San
is the western distributor for the Linn tractor.”
late 1920 Linn's growing backlog of
signaled the need for additional capital and the Taylor-Wharton
Iron and Steel Co., one of the firm's primary suppliers,
stepped up to the plate. Taylor-Wharton's directors bought up a
portion of outstanding Linn shares for $175 per share, which provided
Linn's original Morris-based investors a substantial return on their
$100 investment. H.H. Linn, who held a substantial number of
shares, was retained as plant superintendent while Taylor-Wharton's
George R. Hanks, became Linn's president as well, the
December 8, 1920 issue of the Oneonta Star reporting:
“Linn Tractor Corporation
“Widely Known Morris Manufacturing Concern
Under New Management – Stock Sells at $175
“Morris, Dec. 7. – The Linn Tractor
Corporation, which was
established here several years ago and by steady growth has become the
manufacturing industry of the Butternuts Valley, was reorganized on
last. Much new capital from New York City and vicinity has become
the enterprise and the new investors have purchased the stock of local
in the beginning aided in putting the business afloat. The former
have disposed of their holdings at $175 per share, which is now being
in addition to this sum, the old stockholders will receive a dividend
percent, payable January 15, from the business of the past 11 months,
the actual selling price up to $186 per share.
“Satisfactory as this is from a business
residents of Morris are even more gratified to know that the business
continued in this village and that the output will be greatly enlarged.
It is a
good business, paying good wages; and additional men are being put to
“The following are the officers of the
“President, T.R. Hanks, president of the
and Steel company of High Bridge, N.J.; first vice president, H.H. Linn
Morris; second vice president, H.H. Salmon jr., of Garden City, L.I.;
secretary, R.G. Thatch of New York City; Treasurer, George Whitman of
Superintendent, H.H. Linn.”
Adirondack lumber and paper companies were
amongst the first businesses outside of Otsego County to embrace the
Linn, the ‘Otsego County News’ column of the
January 6, 1921 issue
of the Oneonta Star reporting on a recent demonstration in New York
State's 'North Country':
“To Demonstrate Linn Tractor
“H.H. Linn, superintendent of the Linn
and Earl Southern and Ralph Porter, employees, left last Friday for a
camp in the Adirondacks, where they will demonstrate the efficiency of
tractor to interested parties in that section. Tractors have already
placed in several lumber camps up north and are giving satisfactory
according to reports.
“The tractor plant here was closed for a
days last week
but is now running again.”
used Linn tractors to
replace teams of draft horses which had been used for over a century to
haul sleds of harvested timber out of the inaccessible backwoods of the
Adirondack and Catskill mountains. Linns were often called upon to haul
a half-dozen or more leds, which were often equipped with a
sled-mounted shanty at the rear (aka caboose) which contained a pot
belly stove to keep the operators warm (and alive) in case of blizzard
or mechanical breakdown.
Although the reorganization was old news, it
was reported to the trade in the February 1, 1921 issue of the Chilton
“Linn Tractor Corp., Morris, N. Y.,
undergone a reorganization. The following are officers of the
company: President, T. R. Hanks, Taylor-Wharton Iron & Steel Co.,
Bridge, N. J.; first vice-president, H. H. Linn, Morris, N. Y.; second
vice-president, H. H. Salmon, Jr., Garden City, L. I., N. Y.;
secretary, R. G.
Thatch, New York City; treasurer, George Whitman, Morris, N. Y.;
superintendent, H. H. Linn.”
The February 1921 issue of The Timberman
reported on a recent sale to a Hawaiian sugar plantation:
“Linn Tractor Invades Hawaii
“B.H. Baird, distributor of the Linn
tractor, San Francisco,
spent the latter part of January in Hawaii in connection with the
of a 65 H.P. Linn sold there for use on a large sugar plantation. The
is to be used in hauling supplies to and from the plantation over roads
have been rendered impassable by ordinary means of transportation.”
A classified ad in the May 21, 1921 issue of
the Olean Times
Herald reveals Olean, New York's Vandalia Chemical Co. owned a fleet of
“For Sale – Three Linn Tractors, models
and 1919, all
in good repair. Also a number of wagon trailers for use with same.
be seen at the plant of Vandalia Chemical Co., Vandalia, N.Y.”
Without mentioning it by name, the May 31,
1921 issue of Pulp and Paper
Magazine reported that a Linn tractor had recently completed an
efficiency test with Quebec's St. Maurice Paper Co.:
“Successful Tractor Test On Timber
“The St. Maurice Paper Co. of Cap
recently completed a test of Tractor Efficiency in the movement of logs
their operations carried on at St. Donat, which is located 35 miles
north of St.
Agathe des Monts, Quebec. The test was carried on over woods roads -
opened this season - and over a governing grade of 18 per cent. It was
possible to continually haul three trailers over this four mile route
180 logs on each trip, and with a minimum of four round trips each day,
of 720 logs a day, and by the same schedule 4,320 logs per week. It is
estimated that with one tractor and three trailers to each train (9
all) one of these tractors can accomplish the work of 12 teams. The
used were not special equipment but were built complete by the St
Co. in their blacksmith shop at St. Donat. They are of the conventional
heavy duty sled as manufactured by the Adams Wagon Co. at Woodstock,
slight changes made for purpose of proper tracking with tractor on
“During the entire test the tractor was
operated by an
employee of the St. Maurice Paper Co. The machine used in this test was
developed in the timber hauling business in the Catskill mountains and
probably the only heavy duty tractor developed purely to meet
the timber producer. The St. Maurice Paper Company have placed an
for one of these machines.”
B.H. Baird, Linn's west coast
representative, successfuly place a Linn tractor into service in an
Alaskan Gold mining operation, the June 1921 issue of The Timberman
“Linn Tractor In Alaska
“B.H. Baird, San Francisco distributor for
has recently shipped a late model Linn to Fairbanks Gold Dredging Co.,
Fairbanks, Alaska, where it will be used for hauling wood and oil over
impassable to an ordinary truck because of snow and ice conditions. The
was equipped with extra wide flanged front wheels and these will be
sled runners when snow is unusually heavy.”
Northern New York's 'snowbelt' - which is
concentrated along the Tug
Hill plateau, a geographic feature that extends east from Lake Ontario
into the Adirondack
snowfall than any other section of New York State. While
Linns had been used in downstate New York to
help traverse snow-bound roads, no mention of a snowplow-equipped Linn
can be found prior to the winter of 1920-1921 when Jefferson County's
F.W. Carpenter, owner of the Black River Bus Lines,
placed a Linn into service as a dedicated snow plow using an all-steel
V-blade plow manufactured in the tire and machine shop of Carl
H. Frink, of Clayton, New York. Carpenter's plow was not Frink's
first, as one year earlier he had constructed a similar apparatus
for Fred I. Dailey's
Clayton to Watertown bus line.
The news did not escape H.H. Linn who
immediately set about constructing his own prototype V-blade plow
out of wood. Once tested, he made arrangements with the
Marathon, New York plant of the Good Roads Machinery Co. (headquartered
in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania) to supply Linn with a plow designed
for use with the Linn. Five years later Linn chose to partner with Carl
Frink, who by that time was manufacturing a line of plows far superior
to the Champion.
The Linn's rear tracks could be fitted with
3 different styles of tread (aka grousers or creepers); 1) Rubber Pad -
cushioned for everyday use on paved, poured or brick roadways; 2) Ice -
agressive metal feet that provided traction on glare ice; and 3) State
Road - a less-agressive metal pad that provided sure footing in mud,
dirt, or snow.
The February 7, 1922 issue of the Oneonta
Star reported on a unique arrangement where a group of Cobleskill
residents purchased a Linn which was then rented out to the
cash-strapped municipality at $20 per day:
“Cobleskill Buys Linn Tractor
“Herbert Sweet, superintendent of highways
in Cobleskill, went
to Morris last week where he purchased a Linn tractor for road work for
The transaction was financed by 10 men of the town and will not cause
in tax rate. The town will pay $20 per day for each day the machine is
and considering the power of the machine this in considered cheaper
hire horses. Thus the machine will pay for itself. The tractor arrived
The ‘Morris Events’ column of the March 22,
1922 issue of
the Oneonta Star reported that a Linn tractor had successfully towed an
'engine house' 3 1/2 miles from Morris up Patrick Hill to its new home:
“An Old Landmark Gone
“The old engine house building which has
stood for so many
years near the creek bridge on Main street and which was recently
David Fenton, was hitched behind a Linn tractor on day last week and
on log runners up the state road. It is now located part way up Patrick
the farm recently purchased by Mr. Fenton, to be used by him as a
The March 27, 1922 issue of the Oneonta Star
reported on the purchase of a new Linn tractor by the Town of Tompkins,
Delaware County, New York:
“Tompkins Buys Tractor
“The Tompkins town board at a meeting
voted to buy on
the lease plan a Linn tractor equipped with a hydraulic hoist and dump
on both the dirt roads and on new highway construction. The rental of
each day of actual use is applied on the purchase price of $5,800.”
The ‘Jefferson News Jots’ column of the
April 17, 1922 issue
of the Oneonta Star reported on the purchase of a Linn by the Scoharie
County, New York town of Jefferson:
“Linn Tractor for Road Use
“Drive Home Linn Tractor
“Superintendent F.D. Hubbell,
F.H. Foote and George Fitzpatrick went to Morris Wednesday, and on
drove a Linn tractor home, which the town board recently purchased for
The acquisition of the Town of Jefferson's
another creative fininacing scheme, the ‘Latest Vicinity Notes’ column
of the April 22, 1922 issue of the Oneonta Star reporting:
“Twelve public spirited citizens of
Jefferson have signed a
note whereby it is possible for the township authorities to secure a
Linn tractor. Town and state join in the rental price and eventually
rent pays for the machine.”
The June 21, 1922 issue of the Oneonta Star
announced Linn was constructing a small addition to the factory:
“Building a Storehouse.
“The Linn Tractor corporation are
building a lumber shed and store-house on the vacant lot across the
road from the tractor plant for their use.”
A display ad placed by the Berskshire
Garage, the local Linn distributor, in the January 20,
1923 issue of the North Adams Transcript (Mass.) encouraged local
residents to come out and take a look at
“For the Linn Tractor which will arrive in
town on Sunday
night or Monday morning. The Linn Tractor is a heavy duty, heavy
machine of track-laying type. This tractor has been purchased by Vad’s
to run between North Adams, Williamstown, Pownal and Bennington,
“For information, specifications and
catalogues apply to
Berkshire Garage, Telephone 1490.”
The April 16, 1924 issue of the Oneonta Star
reported that a Linn tractor was being demonstrated in Syracuse, New
“Tractor To Syracuse
“The Linn Tractor Corporation have sent
one of their tractors to Syracuse Tuesday morning, which is to be used
demonstration purposes there.”
The May 21, 1924 issue of the Oneonta Star
reveals H.H. Linn was demonstrating a tractor to another Tug Hill
“H.H. Linn is in Denmark, Lewis County,
week demonstrating the Linn tractor in competition with other makes.”
The January 7, 1925 issue of the Oneonta
Star reports that Linn had sold a pair of tractors equipped with
“Tractors With Show Plows.
“The Linn Tractor corporation sold
two tractors last week with snow plow attachments. One to the town of
Otsego and one
Another Champion-equipped Linn tractor
helped plow a roadway following a mid-January snow storm, the January
19, 1925 issue of the Oneonta Star reporting:
“Franklin Road Open
“Town Superintendent Conklin, with Linn
Tractor Plow, Does Trick
“The Oneonta End of the Franklin turnpike
road is open, Town
Superintendent Conklin having finished a good job on the highway
and with the Linn tractor plow, recently purchased, plowed out the road
Drifts of no mean dimensions are always encountered when there are
anywhere between the Dye home and the watering trough and in that
has been impracticable to secure turning out places, so that persons
over the road should be alert to see that no one else has entered the
ahead. At all other points on the road is open full width so that no
turning out is experienced. Safety first should be the motto of all who
use the highway.”
The February 18, 1925 issue of the Oneonta
Star reported a sale to the Delaware County, New York town of
“Harpersfield Buys Tractor.
“It is currently reported that the town of
Harpersfield purchased a Linn tractor for delivery in the spring.”
The March 19, 1925 issue of the Oneonta Star
reported on another sale to a Delaware County municipality:
“Linn Tractors Sold
“The town board of Franklin at a meeting
last week voted to buy a Linn tractor for work on the highway at a cost
of $6,600. All but
one or two towns of the nineteen in Delaware county now have
tractor. The report says the tractors save expense of teams and are
in summer and winter, and are believed by many to be the best tractor
To aid the sales of Linn snow-fighting
equipment, the factory produced a 2-reel short which featured the
Linn in action, the April 2, 1925 issue of the Oneonta Star reporting
on a recent screening:
“Clearing Belden Hill
“Excellent Movies of Linn Tractor Working
During Heavy Snows of Past Winter Shown at Theatre.
“In conjunction with the picture program
shown at the Oneonta theatre last evening were two reels depicting the
work done in
clearing the heavy snows of the past winter from Belden Hill by Linn
Not only because of the particular interest of Oneonta and vicinity
pictures of territory which they know well was the picture appreciated,
well because of the work of the Linn tractor made at Morris, which has
host of friends throughout the vicinity where the powers of that
particularly well known.
“The film was of two reels and showing the
Linn tractor with its special plows arriving on the scene at Belden
Hill, which was
blocked with snow. The main ‘V’ type plow opened the roadway through
drifts while the side wings were operated by the members of the crew of
machine to make a double pathway through the drifts.
“There was very little shoveling as is
common with most road plows, the big Linn with its weighted body making
its way into the
deepest of the snow and plowing steadily along with scarcely a pause.
And due to
the fact that the plow operated to push the snow on both sides there
tendency to sideslipping as is common with many plows of other types.
“Following the Linn plow over Belden was a
sizable string of motor cars pointing its own lesson, that highways
must be kept open
during the winter months for the accommodation of an increasing number
motorists who find use of the roads imperative. And the picture also
shows that with
the Linn tractor, this work is easy.”
Once H.H. Linn became successful he
encouraged his extended family to relocate to the Morris area and by
1920 his step-brother Elery C. Linn had begun working for the Linn
company. The passing of his step-father was annoucned in the ‘Otsego
County News’ column of the April
16, 1925 issue of the Oneonta Star:
“Attended Funeral of Robert Linn
“The funeral of Robert Linn, who died at
Edmeston, was held at that place Saturday afternoon and was quite
largely attended by
Morris people. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Linn, Mr. and Mrs.
Gage, Mr. and Mrs. Scott Lull, Miss Helen Colvin, Rev. and Mrs. F.G.
“Mr. Linn was a former resident of this
place and moved to Edmeston after the death of his wife. He was the
father of H.H. Linn of
Morris and E.C. Linn, formerly of Morris and Edmeston, but now of
Lake. Rev. F.G. Leonard assisted the Edmeston clergyman at the funeral
“Sell Another Tractor
“The Linn Tractor corporation delivered
of its tractors to the town of German Flats last week.”
The July 22, 1925 issue of the Oneonta Star
announced the sale of one of the firm's first 100-hp 6-cylinder
“A Powerful Machine
“The Linn Tractor corporation have just
turned out a new six cylinder 100-horse power tractor. It is a powerful
The September 23, 1925 issue of the Oneonta
Star reported on the sale of a crane and shovel equipped Linn to a
customer in Florida:
“Sold A Tractor To Go To Florida
“The Linn Tractor Corporation had on
at the State Fair last week their tractors, one of them equipped with a
shovel for road work. This one is sold to parties who will ship it to
Fla. The Linn tractors are becoming famous all over the country.”
In 1925 H.H. Linn commenced construction of
a $17,000 private coach dubbed the 'Linn Haven' for use as a mobile
office while he traversed
the country drumming up attention for the Linn tractor. The September
30, 1925 issue of the Oneonta Star provided details on the vehicle's
“Best In The World
“H.H. Linn of Morris To Tour South in One
of Finest Motor Coaches on Highways.
“Selling The Best Tractor
“Sumptuously Furnished Body on Safeway Six
Wheel Coach Allows Combination of Pleasure With Trip in Interest of
Manufactured at Morris – Bus Weighs Seven Tons and Will Cost $17,000
“Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Linn of Morris will
about November 10 for a winter trip through the South, combining
pleasure and since Mr. Linn will establish agencies for the best
tractor in the
world, the Linn Tractor made at Morris, it is only fitting that the
trip should be
made in one of the most sumptuously equipped Pullman busses on the
chassis is to be the Safe-Way Six wheel type, costing about $7,000, and
body will cost about $9,000. This will bring the total cost of the
equipage to about $17,000.
“And before any extended description of
new Pullman is given it might be well to tell about the traveling
bungalow in which
Mr. Linn visited Otsego county in 1907-1908. At that time he owned a
circus, and had an especially equipped vehicle, quite as much of an
in those days as is the splendid coach in which he will travel and live
“The machine was built to his
and the chassis was 30 feet long. It was powered by a 100 horse-power
motor which gave
a road speed of four or five miles an hour. The car steered on four
“But the rear two wheels were not round.
The rear traveled
on tracks similar to those in use as driving wheels on the Linn tractor
“The body was made by a ship cabin
builder, and the bus was
fitted with a ship stove, refrigerator, and other conveniences. About
obstacle to traveling wherever business led was the fact that the body
high for many of the bridges in use at the time, and detours were
“Description of the Latest Bus.
“And now for a description of the Pullman
type bus in which the trip this winter will be made:
“After much deliberation and investigation
of the larger motor busses, Mr. Linn decided on the purchase of the
wheel chassis manufactured by the Safe Way Coach company of
is powered by a six cylinder 110 horsepower motor and has a wheelbase
“Two complete driving axles of the
worm type and four driving wheels are located at the rear of the
chassis. The axles
are connected at the center with a very large torque tube of sliding
type, allowing perfect action of the long side, three stage springs
connect the (missing text) frame pivoted at the spring center, making a
flexible driving unit and giving each tire of the four rear wheels it
proportionate share of the load as well as of the drive.
“The very latest Westinghouse air brakes,
operating internal expanding shoes are used on all four driving wheels.
are manually operated.
“The chassis was driven from the factory
Philadelphia to Cleveland, Ohio, a distance of approximately 500 miles,
in less than
two days by Charles E. Gage of Morris to the Schaefer Coach works,
special body is now being built according to specifications of Mr. Linn.
“The body is 23 feet six inches in length
back of the cowl and seven feet seven inches wide inside. It is
equipped with two
complete lighting systems, the regular equipment connected with the
motor and a
special Delco 12 volt system to supply current for the iceless
cooking utensils, electric fans, and other conveniences.
“A Presto-Lite three-burner stove is
installed in the very complete kitchenette, which has extensive
cupboard space, and padded
compartments for dishes and for the utensils for cooking three square
meals a day.
There is plenty of room provided for serving the meals.
“The latest type of Pullman beds, equipped
with air mattresses, a shower bath with hot and cold water, lavatory,
toilet, clothes closets, and extra storage space have also been
windows are large and provided with plate glass and fine copper
“The Pullman beds and five comfortable
wicker chairs are
upholstered in genuine taupe leather. With the bed folded, the coach
16 people comfortably.
“A brown khaki canvas 25 by 12 feet
fastened to the baggage
rail on the top of the coach will provide a comfortable perch when the
ends of the canvas are supported on for small tent poles. Moving
equipment with camera and projector and radio apparatus of latest type
also be included.
course, as those who know Mr. Linn and his ability as a
salesman and of the Linn organization as manufacturers are well aware,
most luxurious motor coach is not wholly a pleasure vehicle. It is the
intention of Mr. Linn enroute to establish agencies for the Linn
tractor, which is fast becoming famous as an economical hauling unit
and which is
adapted to all kinds of heavy work, both winter and summer.
“Mr. Linn will be accompanies by Mrs. Linn
and Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Gage, also of Morris, Mr. Gage acting as his
Linn sold his share in the firm to the Republic Motor Truck Co. in
1927, he traveled up and
down the eastern seaboard in his coach which continued to be manned by
chauffeur and personal steward, Charles E. Gage.
Linn's untimely 1937 passing his estate sold
the coach to Purcel Kingsley of Cohoes, New York, whose Hudson River
Night Line operated a showboat steamship called the Buccaneer. Kingsley
modified it into a roving billboard/shuttle equipped with a search
light and sound system in which he picked up customers for Kate
Parson's "Show Boat Revue”
a risqué burlesque that took place onboard the Buccaneer once it left
its mooring at Manhattan’s Battery Park. During Franklin Delano
Roosevelt's 1932 presidential campaign, the Linn Haven ferried the
future President and his entourage around Manhattan.
1948 ownership of the Linn Haven passed to Hollis M. Briggs of Troy,
York, who used the vehicle for private excursions. The vehicle was
retired in 1962, and was purchased a decade later by automobile
collector John Rich. The vehicle was recently purchased at Kruse’s Fall
auction in Scottsdale, Arizona and currently resides in the Martin
collection in Houston Texas. Kruse advertised the vehicle was used by
Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932, and was used in the production of
Showboat. It has sleeping quarters, a kitchen and a stage on the back.
a reported 5-year restoration the bus sold for $58,000 at Kruse’s 1998
Spring auction in Auburn, Indiana. It crossed the block later that year
at Kruse’s Fall Auburn auction where it sold for $81,000. Nine years
later it made an appearance at Kruse’s 2007 Fall auction in Auburn
where it was hammered sold at $155,000, purchased by a Houston, Texas
collector named Martin.
The firm’s exhibit at the 1925 Morris Fair
was covered in
the October 7, 1925 issue of the Oneonta Star:
“Linn Tractor Lifts Itself
“The Linn tractor makers, whose factory is
closed by the
entrance to the grounds, makes as usual a fine exhibit. One of the big
six-cylinder machines, weighing 14,000 pounds is within a fenced
by the use of cables lifts itself by its own engine several feet from
ground at frequent intervals. It is a spectacular stunt and interests
“The company has on display one of its big
on chassis but uncovered and its every feature indicates power
abundant. It has
two new features designed by the Waukesha Motor Company which are
is a device which introduces hot air into the carburetor until the
become heated and the other is to secure anchorage on the block above
compression chamber with which guards against the ganger of
sometimes encountered with high power motors.
“There is also shown one of the latest
improved snow plows attached to the big six
cylinder 100 horse power chassis with longer and higher side wings
enabling it to clear the snow from a
highway 18 feet in width.”
its introduction the Waukesha-powered 6-cylinder Linn - which had an
advertised top speed of 7 1/2 mph - was called the
‘County & Township Special.’ The Waukesha-powered 4-cylinder model
was renamed the 'Contractors Special' and the benifits of itsshuttle
gears forward - 4
in reverse) and 360 degree pivoting driver's seat highlighted in
The ‘Dexter News’ column of the February 16,
1926, issue of the Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine) reported on a Linn
that had recently arrived for a demonstration in the home territory of
its chief competitor, Lombard:
“The Linn Tractor arrived Monday from
Morris, N.Y., and will
be used at once for road breaking, a snow storm coming for the purpose
demonstration. Oniel Stedman, of Morris, N.Y., a former employee of Fay
Scotts, arrived to demonstrate the ability of the tractor as a road
The ‘Latest from Otego” column in the March
6, 1926 issue of the Oneonta Star revealed the Town ahd just purchased
“Buys Linn Tractor
“Leon Gardner, highway superintendent, was
in Morris the
first of the week and brought back the new Linn tractor which has been
purchased for the town.”
The ‘Town News” column of the March 8, 1926
issue of the Oneonta Star reported on a planned demonstration of a
“At the meeting of the town board of the
town of Maryland…
H.E. Whiteside of Oneonta, a representative of the Good Roads Machinery
Company of Marathon, requested consent of the board to demonstrate a
which is designed by the Linn tractor people and manufactured by the
Machinery Company at Marathon. This snow plow, which is known as the
plow, is used in conjunction with the Linn tractor, which is in service
town at the present time.”
president, George B. Hanks, made a presentation before the Oneonta
Rotary Club on March 25, 1926, which was covered in the next day's
“The Linn Tractor
“Rotarians Hear of Capabilities of Machine
Morris and See Movies of it at Work
“G.B. Hanks of New York City, president of
Manufacturing Corporation of Morris, was the speaker at the Rotary
yesterday noon at the Elks club and after speaking briefly of the
characteristics of the Linn tractor, moving pictures were shown of
those machines hard at work on a construction job. The meeting was an
instructive one and a number of interesting facts were brought out by
in his address and through the pictures.
“In his talk, he said that H.H. Linn had
tractor, not only for heaving hauling, but for heavy hauling under
conditions and said that he was confident that Mr. Linn had had the
experience in this line of any automotive engineer. Mr. Hanks
the tractor was not built to sell and that the constructional details
changed to reduce sales resistance: rather that the company built them
experience of Mr. Linn, confident that greatest satisfaction would
“He emphasized the fact that the tractor
must not only have
a powerful motor, but must be able to place a large part of it upon the
where it would be of service. He remarked upon the importance of the
the Linn tractor, 3,500 pounds of manganese steel being used in the
parts of every machine.
“The pictures shown were taken by the
Wharton Iron and Steel company of High Bridge, N.J., which supplies
and depicted Linn tractors at work, hauling a load of 65,000 ponds in
scene and in another two steel girders, 76 feet long.
“In another part of the picture two Linn
machines were shown hauling a load of 60 tons, the burden being carried
19 miles over
rough, muddy, and winding highway.”
The April 2, 1926 issue of the Oneonta Star
reported on another impassable road reopened by a snowplow-equipped
“Mt. Vision-Hartwick Road Open
“The highway from Mt. Vision to Hartwick
opened on Tuesday. A large snowplow was attached to a Linn tractor
owned by the
town of Laurens. The work was done through the efforts of the recently
organized Otego Valley Auto club.”
County News' column of the April 23,
1926 issue of the Oneonta Star reveals the town of Bovina (an early
Linn tractor purchaser) were still using their now 7-year-old Linn:
“Driving Linn Tractor
“M.R. Lyon west to Bovina Center Tuesday,
where he has employment with the highway superintendent of the town of
driving a Linn tractor for the summer.”
The Dexter News column of the April 29, 1926
issue of the Daily Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine) reported on a
highway that had been passable through the use of a Linn:
“The Linn tractor has opened the road
between this town and Dover-Foxcroft, much to the satisfaction of many
business men who make
the trip through here weekly.
“The road was said to be in very good
condition Tuesday, but it is expected that as soon as the frost starts
there may be a few
places that will worry the motorist, but on the whole it is considered
road will be passable and will drain in a few days now that the drifts
cleared from the roadway.”
June 28, 1926 issue of the Oneonta Star annoucned that H.H. Linn and
his entourage were making a tour of Maine and Quebec where they hoped
to establish additional Linn distributors:
“To Tour Maine and Canada
“Messrs. Linn and Gage with Wives Leaving
Today for Six Weeks in Pullman Bus.
“Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Linn and Mr. and Mrs.
C.E. Gage, all of
Morris, leave that village today in the sumptuous Pullman but which Mr.
designed and had built according to his specifications and costing some
and in which the two couples toured through the south to Florida last
and have as their objective cities in Maine and thence to Canada, where
various places it is planned to establish agencies for the Linn
plan to be gone about six weeks and with the Pullman of the highways
with every convenience they will occupy it much of the time during the
stopping at hotels only when they find it more convenient or desirable.
“The Linn tractor has many uses but it
brightly than when in use in big lumbering operations where the
poor and there are big logs to handle. Many of them are now in use by
the big lumbering firms in both Maine and Canada, but Mr. Linn is
that this branch of the business can be largely increased and it is
to be his plan to establish agencies at certain central points so that
business can be more expeditiously and satisfactorily cared for.
“The big Pullman with its 125 horse power
motor and every
equipment from electric lights to lavatories and to a complete radio
set has been put into first class condition for the trip and with its
well stocked the members of the party are anticipating much pleasure as
a successful trip from a business standpoint.”
August 12, 1926 issue of the Daily
Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine) reveals that the Linn company planned
on investing in a Bangor to Portland (ME) to Boston (MA) air service:
“The Maine Aerial Service Inc. which
operates an aviation
school at Bangor, and which contemplates the establishment of an air
between Bangor, Portland and Boston will probably add three new
airplanes to its
squadron soon. This was the report of Lieut. Fred W. Rowell, secretary
treasurer of the company who stopped in Portland while on his way from
Field to Bangor. Lieut. Rowell was assured by the Linn Tractor Company
Morris, N.Y. that they would buy three planes for the Bangor company,
have expressed much interest in the enterprise.”
October 22, 1926 issue of the Oneonta Star reported that Mussen's
Limited, Linn's Canadian distributor, had delivered a reported 30 Linn
tractors to Canadian logging and mining operators:
“Linn Tractors In Snow
“Mussen of Montreal Uses About 30 Tractors
Made In Morris for Logging
“B. Taylor, representing Mussen of
Canada, passed through Oneonta last evening on his way from Morris to
having visited Morris to be certain that three tractors ordered by that
would be shipped at once for use in Canadian logging operations this
Mussen firm has nearly 30 Linn tractors in use in its Canadian
has found no other hauling equipment that will do the work.
“The three tractors mentioned are to be
shipped from Morris Monday so that they will reach Montreal and Quebec
as soon as possible.
They are to be used on northern logging operations, the last boat to
island being made November 16. And it frequently happens that the boats
not make the last scheduled dates. The island is completely isolated
winter and until the next April, giving an idea of the conditions under
the Linn tractors are performing very satisfactorily.”
“The Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co
a Linn logging train to carry supplies on the ice of Hudson Bay to Ft.
the caboose served as the actual sleeping quarters for the crew.”
After a half-decade at Linn Mfg.'s helm,
B. Hanks, realized further capital would be needed to successfully
compete against its competitors, such as F.W.D. and Walter, which were
growing in popularity year
after year. Inquiries were made and Alma, Michigan's Republic
Corp. seemed eager to get into the 'crawler business'. In addition to
fresh capital the acquisition provided access toRepublic's
well-established world-wide dealer network which included12 factory
branches, 105 direct US
and 49 overseas agents in 25 foreign countries
Republic's $1,250,000 all-cash offer was
accepted by the Hanks-controlled Linn Mfg. Corp. board on August 9,
1927 and the
news was released to the trade via the August 13, 1927 issue of The
“Republic Purchases Linn Tractor Plant
“ALMA, MICH., Aug. 9 –Republic Motor Truck
Co., Inc., has
purchased the entire capital stock of the Linn Mfg. Corp., Morris, N.
tractor manufacturer, and is now the sole owner of that company,
plant, equipment, goodwill and exclusive selling rights. The operation
Linn company will be continued at Morris as a division of Republic. The
personnel also will be maintained. Announcement of the purchase was
Chicago by O. W. Hayes, president of Republic, following a meeting in
offices of M. Rothschild, chairman of the Republic board.
“The Linn Mfg. Corp. has been building a
special type of
tractor since 1916. The Linn tractor is a heavy hauling machine,
either a 75 hp, or 100 hp. engine. It resembles a heavy motor truck
revolving tracks take the place of rear wheels. The motor and front
identical with those of any heavy duty truck.”
September 17, 1927 issue of The Automobile /
Automotive Industries reported that Republic planned on offering a new
issue of $1,250,000 ten-year 6 ½ per cent bonds to finance the
“Republic Issues Bonds to Expand Linn Sales
“NEW YORK, Sept. 18 – National
of Linn tractors is contemplated by Republic Motor Truck Co., Inc.,
which has just
announced a new issue of $1,250,000 ten-year 6 ½ per cent collateral
fund gold debentures in connection with the purchase of all the issued
outstanding capital stock of the Linn Mfg. Corp. of Morris. N. Y.
“Sale of Linn tractors has hitherto been
about 90 per cent confined to New York State. In view of the
will be effected through 12 factory branches , 105 direct factory
in the United States, and 49 in 25 foreign countries, in addition to
appointed by distributors.
“Debentures are priced at 95% and
to yield over 6% per cent. Nondetachable stock purchase warrants are
attached to each
$1,000 debenture, entitling the holder to purchase common stock in
amounts up to June 30, 1930, at prices from $5 to $7.50 per share.”
The October 15, 1927 issue of Automotive
Industries reported that Linn would retain its current sales
organization within New York state:
“Outlines Linn Sales Plan
ALMA, MICH., Oct. 12-Distribution of the
Linn tractor line, recently acquired by the Republic Motor Truck Co.,
will be through the
regular Republic dealer organization, except for New York State, where
company developed an extensive selling group which will continue to
The Linn company will continue manufacturing operations at Morris, N.
Y., as a
division of Republic and the present personnel will continue, according
to O. W.
Hayes, president of Republic.”
Republic, Linn continued to relay their latest sales propoganda to
Otsego County residents as evidenced by the following item in the
December 22, 1927 issue of the Oneonta Star:
“Linn Tractors Do The Job
“Move Fifteen Ton Boulder Down Andes
Mountain to Foundation
“The much talked about boulder is at rest
at Andes and was brought down the mountain in just a little less than a
and placed. The work of getting it loaded was the longest process as
drawing of it took only about four hours, it being drawn by the two
tractors belonging to the town of Andes. Harry Larkin, town
highways, did the job, assisted by Andrew Coulter and they are to be
complimented on their work as there were several here to look the job
most of them were afraid to tackle it by contract. There were no
trouble of any kind and these men will now be in line to move anything
loose so if you are thinking of moving anything smaller than a
these men before doing so.”
Linn retained an executive position in the Republic-controlled Linn
organization (as a vice-president) and, based on the following article,
is believed to be an active participant in the organization, the
January 29, 1928 issue
of the Billings Gazette (MT) reporting:
“Factory Head Makes Western Tour in Bus
Built Like Pullman,
“When H.H. Linn recently decided to make a
trip from his home
at Morris, N. Y., to the west coast he didn't pick up a time table and
when the next westbound train left. He merely called in his chauffeur
and told him
to oil and grease his private car - a de luxe bus which is literally a
“This private bus is luxuriously equipped
with all the
conveniences of transcontinental trains, and Mr. Linn has found it much
his liking for long distance traveling than railroads. Two comfortable
double beds of the folding variety provide
sleeping accommodations for Mr. and Mrs. Linn, as well as for the
his wife. Electric power is furnished by a generator for lights, as
well as for
an efficient refrigerating plant, electric fan, electric heater—and
also for an
eight-tube radio which keeps the travelers In touch with affairs back
miniature bathroom, including shower, bath completes the homelike
Comfortable reclining chairs afford relaxation against travel fatigue.
“The rear end of the bus is equipped for
office work, with
desk, typewriter and files, here Mr. Linn conducts his business each
maintaining constant touch with his home office.
“Mr. Linn is vice president of the Linn
corporation, at Morris, N. Y., manufacturers of Linn tractors. The Linn
was recently acquired by the Republic Motor Truck company, Inc., of
Mich., and is now a division of that company. Mr. Linn is making a tour
west in the interests of his company. He is the original designer and
of the Linn tractor, which combines the outstanding features of the
with those of the heavy-duty truck.
“Republic-Linn factory branches are
on the west
coast at Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, and Mr. Linn is
each of these branches during his tour. He left New York State in
stopping at Indianapolis, St. Louis, Tulsa, El Paso, and Phoenix.
“Mr. Linn is an ardent advocate of modem
transportation. In addition to his private bus, he operates two
automobiles, and also personally flies a Stinson-Detroiter airplane
with a Wright whirlwind engine.”
The Linn was mentioned in Lewis C. Dibble’s
Gabble’ in the April 19, 1928 issue of Motor Age:
“The way two Linn tractors performed in
recently, in clearing the roads of veritable mountains of snow is
Hayes, president of Republic Truck, a great deal of satisfaction.”
with the sale to Republic, Linn entered into an arrangement
with the Frink Snow Plow Co. of Clayton, NewYork to supply the tractor
manufacturer with specially-designed snowplows. Up
until that time Frink's plow used a
single, full-height, non-elevating wing on the driver's side for
pushing the snow farther back along the tractor. For the Linn, Frink
bi-lateral wing set-up which was controlled by as many as three
operators riding in the Linn's
equipment bed which was equipped with three steering wheels, one fore
and two aft. The front-mounted wheel
at the center operated a baffle plate which rode along the roadway just
central-V-blade; the left and right steering wheels at the rear
controlled the angle
and elevation of the 12-foot long, two foot high side blades.
thereafter the steerable baffle plate (and its operator) was
abandoned, the plate becoming a permanent part of the V-plow
assembly. With the plow priced at $1,550 a fully equipped 1929
Linn-Frink snow plow was priced between $8,500 and
$10,500, f.o.b. Morris, N.Y.
Frink's main competitor was the Sargent, a
hydraulic V-plow with bi-lateral wings manufactured by the Maine Steel
Co. of South Portland, Maine. Priced at $2,090 complete, the larger and
heavier Sargent was the plow of choice in New England, and the
additional cost could be quickly offset by the savings in manpower as
the Sargent could be run with a single operator - the Frink required
Dwindling sales in their home market forced
Linn's chief competitor, the Lombard Tractor
& Truck Co. of Waterville, Maine, to seek a buyer in late 1928. In
an ironic twist of fate (Lombard being the very same firm that once
employed H.H. Linn as a
salesman), Linn Mfg. purchased Lombard's good will and assets from H.J.
current owner, the December 20,1928 issue of American Machinist
“The Lombard Tractor
& Truck Corporation of Waterville, Me., had merged with the Linn
Manufacturing Co., Morris, N.Y. Officers have been elected as follows:
President, G.R. Hanks, who is also vice-president of Taylor-Wharton
Iron and Steel Co., N.J.; vice-president, George Whitman; treasurer,
H.J. Charles, Waterville, Me.; secretary Lincoln Johnson, New York. The
directors consists of: J.A. Bowers, vice-president, New York Trust Co.;
McQuire, formerly of the Wayne Pump Co., New York; C.H. Jones, George
Ware, G.R. Hanks, D.E. Stalter, and S.T. Callaway.”
Following the acquisition Linn’s
officers were as follows: G.R. Hanks, president (also v-pres.
of Taylor Wharton Iron & Steel Co.); George Whitman,
vice-president; H.J. Charles, treasurer (former pres. of Lombard); and
Lincoln Johnson, treasurer.
Shortly thereafter Republic merged with the
American-LaFrance Foamite Corp., forming the LaFrance-Republic Corp.,
the 'News of the Industry' column of the April 13,1929 issue of
Automotive Industries reporting:
“Truck Firms Unite
“American-LaFrance and Republic Merged
“The boards of directors of the Republic
Motor Truck Co., Inc. Alma, Mich., and the commercial truck division of
the American-LaFrance & Foamite Corp. have approved an agreement
consolidating these two companies, it was annoucned yesterday.
“This agreement is subject to ratification
by the stockholders at a special meeting called for May 15.
“The consolidation of these companies,
also includes the Linn Manufacturing Corp., of Morris, N.Y., a Republic
Truck subsidiary, brings together two of the oldest and best-known
truck companies in the industry.
“The consolidated company will be know as
the LaFrance-Republic Corp. Charles B. Rose, president of
American-LaFrance & Foamite Corp. will be president.”
Automotive Industries 'News of the Industry'
column of May 25, 1929 annnounced the completed merger to the trade:
“Republic- LaFrance Combine Completed;
Products of New
Companies Cover Entire Motor Truck Field
“Detroit, May 22 -The consolidation of the
Truck Co., Inc., and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Linn Mfg. Corp.
commercial truck division of the American-LaFrance and Foamite Corp.,
completed a few days ago at a meeting held in the law office of Clark,
Cook & Williams, Detroit, and hereafter the new corporation will be
as the LaFrance-Republic Corp.
“The sales subsidiary will be known as the
Sales Corp. Preliminary details of this merger were announced in
Industries, April 13.
“The combined facilities of the new
corporation make one of
the strongest companies in the motor truck and tractor field. It has
branches throughout the country and a large number of distributors,
domestic and export. The line of heavy trucks manufactured by
aFrance and the lighter Republic vehicles gives the new company
the entire motor truck field.
“The balance sheet shows a ratio of
liabilities of seven to one. The officers are: Joseph A. Bower,
chairman of the
board; Charles B. Rose, president; George R. Hanks, Franklin T. Pierce,
M. Canter and Thomas M. House, vice-presidents; Glenn S. Crisp,
Ralph W. Stark, treasurer.”
As the corporate structure presented above
indicates, H.H. Linn was effectively stripped of his management duties
at Linn's Morris plant, and he took the opportunity to start another
The Linn Trailer Corporation was organized in
late 1929 and capitalized at
$100,000 – The officers of the firm were: H.H. Linn, president; E.W.
Wheeler, vice-president ; C.J. Smith, treasurer, and H.W. Naylor,
All four men had been either investors in or
employees of the Linn Mfg. Co.
Originally from Boston, Edward William Wheeler had served as Linn
Manufacturing’s chief engineer and purchasing agent. C.J. Smith was
cashier of the First National Bank of Morris (N.Y.) and Howard Wing
Naylor was the founder of the H.W. Naylor Co., a veterinary
pharmaceutical manufacturer which is still in business today at drnaylor.com.
Oneonta attorney D.J. Kilkenny served as the new firm’s attorney.
The firm's product was an innovative one-wheeled
trailer that Linn had seen on a recent trip to France. It was currently
being manufactured by a French manufacturer*, and Linn acquired a
license to manufacture the trailer in the United States.
(*I was unable to locate the name of the French
firm, the most likely
candidate was Chaigneau, a bicycle manufacturer who is known to have
manufactured single-wheeled trailers in Suresnes, a western suburb of
William W. Capron., the Secretary of Oneonta’s
Chamber of Commerce was also
given credit for bringing the Linn Trailer Corporation to Oneonta. The
June 30 1929 Oneonta Daily Star reported:
“A fund is being
railed by the Chamber of Commerce to purchase a site for the proposed
Linn Trailer factory.”
Linn applied for a US patent for his trailer on
September, 10, 1930 and on
July 31, 1934 was awarded Patent No.1968046 for his one-wheeled
trailer, which he dubbed the "U-Can-Back" auto trailer. Advertising
stated that the “New Linn Trailer … Backs Correctly With the Car.”
Literature stated that the trailer had a weight capacity of 800 pounds,
a remarkable amount considering its small size and single tire.
The November 30, 1929 Oneonta Daily Star
announced that:“Work has been
completed on construction of the Linn Trailer factory at West End” The
article went on to state that the modern 50 x 150 ft steel and brick
structure had been built by local contractors and included “individual
motors for all machines”. The article also stated that due to local
interest a further $25,000 in stock was being made available to local
The April-13-1930 issue of the Daily Star stated:
approval of specifications for the mass production trailer which is to
be built at the West End plant of the Linn Trailer company is now being
given and it is expected that within a few weeks the factory will be
established on a definite schedule.”
outward appearance of the Linn changed little during its two decades of
production save for the subsititution of cast steel wheels for the
originally wooden-spoked rims - heavy duty Linns were equipped with
two-piece steel rims and baloon tires somtime in the late 1920s.
However notable inprovements were made under the skin, particularly in
regards to power, speed and carrying capacity.Linn's distinctive, yet
antiquated all-wood cab was remain the sole offering until 1939 when an
cab, supplied by the Orrville Metal Specialty Co. of
Orrville, Ohio, was offered as a n ectra-cost option.
One welcome change was the reversing
transmission which allowed an
operator to run the Linn in reverse from a running-board mounted seat -
using the same gears forward as back - which somewhat compensated for
its ungainly 30-foot turning radius. Another time saver was the
introduction of the self-dumping tailgate which was offered as standard
equipment on Linn 5-yd dump bodies.
In 1930 Linn Mfg. Corp.built a one-off
purpose-built tractor-trailer to deliver Linn tractors, called the
Linn Transporter. Constructed of mostly off-the shelf Linn components,
the mostly conventional tow vehicle featured a heavy duty
Meade-Morrison Winch mounted at
the rear of the extra-wide cab which included a sleeping compartment
that extended over the winch. behind the winch was a massive fifth
wheel to which was attahced a drop-frame gooseneck trailer manufactured
by Oneonta's Linn Trailer Corp. Equipped with bi-lateral 50-gal. fuel
tanks, the Transporter could cruise at a reported 40 mph when
loaded up with a trailer and a new Linn tractor. The original
6-cylinder Wauksha was replaced by a Cummins Diesel powerplant in 1935.
Rene Elliot reports that the Transporter was retired in 1936 and sold
it to the Musson Bros., an Otsego county tree surgeon, who equipped it
with an articulated boom cherry-picker boom.
4, 1930 issue of the Oneonta Star reports that Linn salesmen were
treated to airplane rides on H.H. Linn's Stinson bi-plane while
attending a sales conference at the factory:
“Linn Tractor Salesmen Enjoy Airplane
“Pilot Carlton J. Hinman has been busy the
past two or three
days with the Stinson planes of H.H. Linn of Morris, meeting salesmen
Linn tractor company of that village arriving to attend a sales
which was held Monday and Tuesday. One party was met by plane at
yesterday afternoon Mr. Hinman flew to Morris in Mr. Linns’ cabin
returned to Oneonta with his monoplane, leaving the biplane at the Linn
“A number of the guests availed themselves
of the invitation
extended by Mr. Linn to enjoy a flight from the local airport.”
the following month H.H. Linn took his bi-plane on a business trip to
Main, the July 17, 1930 issue of the Oneonta Star reporting:
“Linn Makes Flying Trip to Maine To
“Harry H. Linn of the Linn Trailer
Corporation and the Linn
Manufacturing Corporation at Morris, hopped off from the Morris airport
yesterday afternoon aboard his Stinson bi-plane, on a non-stop flight
Morridgewock, Maine. Carlton J. Hinman of the Oneonta airport was the
they hoped to reach their destination before sundown.
“Mr. Linn made the trip for the purpose of
fleet of Linn tractors, having 14 tractors engaged on one job. Mr. Linn
inspecting the tractors will return and hoped when he departed to be
return late today or tomorrow at the latest.”
a number of years Linn tractors had equipped their rear-dump bodies
with hoists manufactured by Gar Wood's St. Paul Hydraulic Hoist Co.,
the October 13, 1930 issue of the Oneonta Star covered a recent
business trip to St. Paul's parent company's Pittsburgh factory sales
“At Pittsburgh Mr. Linn conferred with
officials of the Wood
Hydraulic Hoist company who are building a heavy duty hoist for the
tractor and with several large tractor users, and the return to Morris
A subsequent trip was made to Wood's Detroit
headquarters, the November 5, 1930 issue of the Oneonta Star reporting:
“One Hop From Detroit
“H.H. Linn returned yesterday afternoon
where he had been on a short business trip for the Linn Tractor Company
Morris with the Wood Hydraulic Hoist company, who are now developing a
heavy duty hoist.
“With Carlton J. Hinman as his pilot, and
flying his Stinson
monoplane, the trip was made to Detroit Monday and the return trip was
one hop, requiring only five hours and a half.”
July 19, 1930 issue of Automotive Industries reported that A.W. Nelson,
Linn's west coast representative would be traveling to Russia:
“Nelson Goes To Russia
“A.W. Nelson, western representative of
Manufacturing Co., division of LaFrance-Republic, is being sent to
four months by his company. He will be attached to Amtorg Trading Corp.
will advise Russian engineers on maintenance and operations of Linn
trucks on various construction jobs.”
The January 27, 1931
issue of the Oneonta Star records that the Otsego county Town of
Westford had purchased a new Linn snow plow outfit:
“Town Buys Snow Plow
“John Lynes of the town board and Road
Pickard were in Morris last week where they purchased of the Linn
Tractor company a snow plow to be used on Westford roads.”
American-LaFrance's takeover of Republic
with a period of ill-health for H.H. Linn. Recently diagnosed with
embarking on a
30-month sabatical where he traveled across the United States
and Canada in the 'Linn Haven'. By 1931 he had grown bored of
travelling and returned home to oversee the activities of his trailer
company. He also returned to work at the tractor company serving as
spokesman and consulting engineer.
Approximately two-thirds of the 2,500
Linn tractors built between 1917 and 1935 were sold for highway
maintenance or construction. Just
as sales of Linn tractors to municipalities plummetted following the
of the Depression, sales to contractors engaged in Federal projects
increased as a direct result of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's
'New Deal' Public Works Administration. Between 1933 and 1936 several
tractors were purchased by contractors engaged in projects overseen by
the Army Corps of Engineers, U. S. Bureau of
Roads and Tennessee Valley Authority. Some of the larger project
construction of the Bonneville, Chickamauga and Grand Coulee Dams.
River levees and the trans-Alaskan Canadian Oil (Canol) pipeline.
The August 1932 issue of The Timberman
reported on a recent sale of Linn tractors in the Dakotas:
“Homestead Mining Company Standardizes On
Linn Tractors For Logging Service
“On the long haul over rough roads in the
pine country, Linn
tractors asks no favors. Homestake Mining Co., of Nemo, South Dakota,
a billion feet of Ponderosa pine in the Black Hills, used for mining
and sale to the trade, has found the Linn one of the best investments
for long distance transportation of logs. The first unit was purchased
The following year another unit was purchased together with four
wagons. In the pine centers of the Inland Empire and along the road of
Oregon the Linn tractor is increasing its list of users.”
the early 1930s Frink-equipped Walter Motor Truck Co. had become the
snowplow of choice in the Northeast, even Gould & Bridges, Morris,
New York's Linn
distributor had taken on a Walter franchise. By this time Linn
was offering a Sargent hydraulic Hi-Wing snow plow outfit, manufactured
by the Maine Steel Products Co. of South Portland, ME, an article in a
1932 issue of Road and Streets reporting:
“New Linn-Sargent Hi-Wing Plow
Manufacturing Corporation, Morris, N.
Y., has announced a new Sargent hydraulically operated snow plow
especially for use with the Linn, to enable the Linn to apply its
for snow removal. Three levers lift the V and control the wings and
of the wing push arms. The power comes from a hydraulic pump mounted on
power take-off of the tractor. The wings may be kept flat for planing
up for setting back the banks. Whatever their position at the top of
they are always flat when on the ground. They can also be folded in out
traffic or lifted so high that an automobile can pass under them.
“There is no piping between the tractor
the plow. The
plow and wings can be demounted by pulling ten separate pins. The
Super-suction cutter bars, which are patented, enable the plow to cut
and the shape of the V makes it "lift" the snow and penetrate
with maximum ease. The hook-up is so designed that the plow cannot
'jack-knife.' The big hydraulic jacks are powerful enough to lift the
against snow without stopping the tractor, so that the wing man can
wing and nose in constant balance when plowing side banks of varying
The July 15, 1933 issue of the Oneonta Star
reported on H.H. Linn's recent trip to oversee a tractor demonstration
in Jeffries, Mississippi:
“H.H. Linn of the Linn Tractor Corporation
flew to Jeffries,
Miss., where for several days he will demonstrate the power and
the Linn tractor to the construction of levees along the Mississippi
The December 14, 1933 issue of the Daily
(Kalispell, Montana) reveals Linn tractors were used in Montana logging
“Linn Tractors Are Being Prepared For
“The Linn tractors used by Mr. Kelly,
logging contractor for
S. Somers Lumber company have been brought in from Dayton, where they
operation during the summer, and are being requisitioned for winter
work in the
town of Marion, where Mr. Kelly has been logging recently.
“The Linns have a caterpillar drive and
1500 feet at a
load, or as much as an ordinary freight car. These immense loads are
possible by the use of trailers in summer or sleds in winter, in winter
front wheels are replaced with runners for operation in snow.
“Mr. Kelley expects to run the trailers in
shifts per day. The logs will be taken to Marion, where they will be
cars on the Marion branch of the Great Northern.
“The caterpillar drive gives the Linn
almost any road conditions, and it is said that they operated with ease
roads where a two-wheel drive truck would bog down.”
By 1934 Cummins' Diesel-equipped Linns
(introduced in 1933) were making gains on their gasoline-engined
bretheren thanks to articles like the following that Cummins placed in
the trades such as the following which appeared in Diesel Power:
“A common belief exists that a Diesel
engine is a hard
starter. But this is not true. It has been found that a well-adjusted
plus a good battery makes starting as easy as with any gas engine. To
illustrate: On one test a Cummins Diesel-powered snow plow manufactured
by the Linn
Tractor Company was left out overnight in subzero weather. The
morning the engine responded to the starter instantly. The engine did
employ any electrical heating elements.”
In the Fall of 1934 Manitoba's God's Lake
Gold Mines Ltd. made an addition to their existing fleet of Linns, the
October 29, 1934 Winnipeg Tribune (Winnipeg,
“Big Freighting Job
“Gods Lake Gold will have a big freighting
job on its hands
this winter. Some 5,000 tons will be taken in over the tractor road,
tractor fleet will be increased from four to seven Linn tractors.
“The company will spend some $750,000 this
winter and spring
in its freighting and various phases of development.”
In a 1977 conversation with historian Robert
C. Ackerson, Carl Smith, a longtime member of the Linn Mfg. sales
force, recalled a 1935 incident that made him realize the days of the
Linn tractor wer numbered. Smith had accompanied the Morris Linn
agent, Percy Gould, to
Windsor, New York where he hoped to sell some tractors to some
contractors constructing an earthen dam across the
Chenango River. They were joined by Linn Mfg.'s chief product
demonstrator, Rupert ‘Dynamite’ Hunt, at the construction site.
Smith recalled the scene as follows:
“‘Dynamite’ and his tractor were down in
creek bed and he wasn’t doing very much… that’s when I first saw those
Tourneau tractors with their giant tires. They were scooping up dirt
the place and dumping their loads as fast as their wheels could turn.
time Dynamite was sitting in the creek bed doing nothing except moving
occasional load of mud… I could visualize then that the Linn Company
was going to
And lose out they did, as Gould exited
the meeting with the contractors he called out to Hunt:
“’Dynamite’ take that tractor out of
lock it up and get my car. We’re going home.”
Despite several years of increased sales due
to President Roosevelt's
establishment of the Public Works Administration, increased competition
from higher capacity
earthmoving equipment manufactured byLa Tourneau and
Euclid eventually brought Linn's contractor sales to a standstill. In
snow removal field competition was just as fierce and one municipality
after another were trading in their Linns on four wheel drive equipment
manufactured by Walter and FWD.
In 1933 a redesigned (or more
appropriately redesignated) Linn lineup - Model A, Model B and
Model T - was introduced. The Model A was the same 10-ton
capacity tractor Linn had been manufacturing for almost two
decades - albeit with more powerful engines supplied by Hercules and
The Model B, or "L-37"
as it was later designated, was a 20-ton capacity tractor which set
all-new heavy-duty frame specifically designed for the mining and
construction industry. The Model B Linn came
equipped with a forged I-beam front axle with two-piece cast rims and
9.75 x 20-inch 12-ply balloon tires. Also included was a 15 inch
clutch, heavy duty four-or five-speed transmissions (which held 14.5
oil) and a double reduction rear axle at the rear of the bogie.
The Model T Linns were military variants of
the Model B constructed in the hopes of
winning potentially lucrative government contracts.
In June of 1933 the US Army evaluated a V-12
equipped Model T Linn
for use as a cross-country heavy equipment transporter at its Aberdeen,
proving grounds. Weighing in at 18,230 pounds, the purpose-built Linn
with American-LaFrance’s 240-hp 754 cu. in. V-12 engine, which provided
capacity of 8 1/2 tons (with a drawbar), or a combined carrying
capacity of 8
1/2 tons while pulling an additional 7 1/2 tons.
Late in the year Linn supplied the Army with
a second Linn,
designated the Model T-3, which shared the same basic specifications
engine of the earlier model, but featured an enclosed cab, a
and a steel cargo body with top bows and tarpaulin.
However, the Linn’s numerous drawbacks,
included an average cross-country speed of only 2 mph (20 mph over the
highway), turning circle of 65
feet (unlike a regular crawler the Linn lacked the capacity of braking
the inside track to assist in
turning), and excessive noise caused by unlubricated tracks and
engine quickly put the T-3 Linns out of contention.
In July of 1934 Linn delivered the T-3’s
successor, the T-6,
to the Army’s Aberdeen proving grounds for another evaluation. The T-6 featured a redesigned track system
that allowed it to turn around in only 36 feet, half the diameter
needed by the
T-3. The T-6’s extra-wide frame now fully encompassed the track
was connected via a new 5-speed transmission to the 174-hp 935 cu. in.
engine. The road wheels of the redesigned 14-inch wide tracks (i.e.,
which rolled over the track as it lay still against the ground) were
a smaller wheels-on-a-track assembly which moved around its own idler
assembly just as the outer track did. The re-engineered tracks
T-6’s cross-country speed to 10 mph, although its highway speed was
reduced (15 mph) when compared to the 1933 Linn T-3. Unfortunately the
re-engineered tracks were even noisier than its predecessor and despite
increased carrying capacity and maneuverability the government did not
the T-6 for production.
In 1935 Oneonta's
Linn Trailer Co. developed a
tracked trailer with a 25 yd
side-dumping body to be towed behind a standard Linn tractor for the
Easton Car & Construction Co. of Easton, Pennsylvania - it was
only known sale of such a unit, which was listed in the Linn catalog as
the Model37-T tracked trailer.
The February 17, 1936 issue of the
Middletown Times Herald
(Middletown, N.Y.) reported on a new Linn snow fighter that had been
purchased by the Sullivan county town of Bethel:
“Ride New Snow Plow
“White Lake – A dozen farmers living on
outlying roads along which snowplows previously had been unable to make
progress came out
Friday at midnight and rode for several hours on the body of the new
tractor plow which was delivered to Bethel township last Thursday just
for the heavy snowstorm. Supervisor John F. Obermeyer accompanied the
on its rounds. It opened farm roads which had not been broken through
Apparently the Orange County village of
Middleton had also recently purchased a Linn, the February 29, 1936
issue of the Middletown Times Herald
(Middletown, N.Y.) reporting:
“Public Works Dept. Tests Snow Tractor
“Fourteen men, four trucks and a grader
assigned to snow and ice removal and clearance of catch basins in city
today by Commissioner Justin P. Gates of the Department of public
Meanwhile department employees made test runs with the new Linn
tractor-truck plow in
several streets in the Randall tract in the South end of town, to
themselves with its operation.
“Tests revealed the apparatus in
satisfactory working condition, Commissioner Gates reported. With its
front V-plow it is
capable of clearing a twelve-foot lane, and with side-wings, a
the 1930s Linn took a number of used Linns in on trade, which allowed
cash-strapped municipalities to purchase a re-furbished tractor at a
substantial discount. One such unit, equipped with a Frink plowing
outfit was sold to the Monroe County, New York town of Perinton in 1937
for $2,950.00, a quarter of the cost of a brand-new Linn-Frink outfit.
For many years H.H Linn had been interested
in private aviation, and owned a small fleet of airplanes that were
promoting his tractor and trailer businesses. By 1928 he had invested
in the Maine Aerial Service of Bangor, Maine and founded
the H.H. Linn
Airplane Corp., of Caribou, Maine. He constructed his own
Morris, New York, and at one time or another owned a Travel Air E-4000
a Cessna AW, a Mono Monarch, a Stinson SB1 (biplane) and a
Stinson M-219 monoplane. When asked about his investments in aviation
in 1929 Linn stated:
“"The time is near when our country will
as mighty on the wings as it is now on the wheels... There’s one great
adventure I find in
flying, I can leave home shortly after luncheon, fly
to New York, spend
2 ½ hours in business and get back home again in time for diner, I
what George Washington would say about that?”
H.H. Linn was a passenger in the
custom-built 4-passenger Stinson M-219 monoplane when tragedy struck on
1937. The event made the
front page of the July 4, 1937 Syracuse Herald:
“Three Killed As Plane Dives To Fiery Ruin
Arthur Hansen, Foreman for I.B.M., Sole
Survivor With Severe Burns; Capt Stead Is Pilot; Other Victims Are
Holman H. Linn and Mrs. Dorothea
“Special Dispatch to The Herald
“Oneonta, July 3. — Three persons died in
flames and a fourth was
gravely injured today when a Syracuse-bound airplane crashed and burned
private landing field owned by Holman H. Linn, 12 miles from here.
“The dead are:
MR LINN, 60, of Morris, Otsego County,
founder of the Linn
Manufacturing Company, trailer manufacturers, and owner of the
CAPT. GEORGE STEAD. 43, of Norwich, Army
Air Corps reserve flier and
pilot of the plane.
MRS. DOROTHEA HANSEN, 30, of Endicott.
“Mrs. Hanson's husband. Arthur 34, foreman
of the assembly
department of the International Business Machines Corporation at
only occupant who succeeded in escaping from the blazing plane, was
serious condition at the Mary Bassett Hospital at Cooperstown. The
occurred at what is known as Patrick's Hill, when the motor stalled
plane had attained an altitude of approximately 300 feet.
“State Police said that Pilot Stead swung
the ship about and
started to nose down after the motor had stalled. The motor started
Stead resumed his course. The plane struck a tree at the edge of a
came down in a mass of flames, State police said. The Hansens had been
Mrs. Hansen's father Charles G. Stone, superintendent of the Linn
had gone along for a ride when Linn and Stead set out for Syracuse on a
business trip. State police said that person in the Linn home expressed
that Linn had intended to come to Syracuse to purchase an automobile.
“The crash occurred at 2:30 o’clock
Saturday afternoon. Only
meager official reports were available for several hours after the
Lieut. J.J. Warner of State Police at Sidney said the first report
troopers came in a telephone call from Private Edwin Wheeler of the
Signal Corps Field detachment from Mitchell Field. A State police
dispatched to the scene over traffic-clogged highways. Meanwhile, the
Fire Department was summoned. A water pump truck was unable to reach
until a tractor was used to haul the truck up the hill to the wreckage.
plane was destroyed by flames. State police were forced to wait several
until the wreckage cooled in order to recover the charred bodies of the
“According to State police, Linn, Stead
and Mrs. Hansen were
trapped in the cabin while Hansen apparently leaped from the flaming
collapsing after running a few feet. He was picked up by George Wetman,
resides near the scene. Wetman placed Hansen in an automobile and drove
hospital at Cooperstown.
“From the other side of the valley, Mrs.
Linn, driving home
from Morris, saw the takeoff and the crash. ‘I knew immediately what
happened,’ she said later, ‘I drove to the field, but there was nothing
do, so I went into the house. Mr. Linn always used an airplane on his
trips,’ she added.
“Another eye-witness was Lee Bryant,
Oneonta vacuum cleaner
salesman, who said he was driving past the field on his way to an
at the Linn home. Bryant found Hansen, the sole survivor, wandering
the wrecked and burning plane, and led him off the field.
“‘I saw the plane flying low over the
road,’ Bryant said. ‘I
thought he (the pilot) was doing tricks so I stopped to see the fun. He
the plane’s nose in the air, then dipped down into a hollow as he
tried to pick up speed.’
“‘His wing tip caught a small tree on the
edge of the hill
and the place catapulted through the air to the ground 100 feet away.
right into flames. I could see them in there but couldn’t do anything
“Dr. Norman Getman. coroner, permitted the
removal of the
bodies to an undertaking establishment in Morris. Meanwhile, state
guarded the burned plane pending the arrival from Buffalo of John
Department of Commerce inspector. Somers flew from Buffalo to Sidney,
“Linn, a native of Washburn, Me., came to
Morris in 1917,
and subsequently established his trailer manufacturing business.
ago he constructed a hangar and field on ‘Patrick's Hill’ near his home
facilitate his use of airplanes in business trips.
“Captain Stead was a widely-known pilot.
served in the World War, and as Linn's private pilot had flown the Linn
plane to many
parts of the East and Midwest. At the Municipal Airport at Amboy, near
Syracuse, officials said that the Lynn plane had made numerous stops
the funeral, Linn’s widow and the
board of directors asked Arthur R. Perkins, the head of the Unadilla
Co. of New Berlin, New York to take over the day-to-day management of
the Linn Trailer Co. Unfortunately sales of Linn tractors were in a
steady decline and little could be done to turn the Morris plant
around. Upon hearing the news, Linn's friend and business
Whiteman, put the situation in perspective:
“The success of the Linn Manufacturing
Corporation and Linn tractors as machines was entirely due to the
inventive genius and head
work of H.H. Linn. He was the brains and founder of the company.”
Without Linn, who had returned to the Morris
his name in 1931 as vice-president in charge of engineering, the Linn
Manufacturing Company continued its downward slide.
Mfg. Corp. officials hired consulting engineer, Philip W. Sloan, to
design a new model they hoped would save the company. Sloan's solution
was an innovative vehicle, designated the Linn C-5,
that company officials hoped would bridge the gap between the truck and
crawler-tractor. Sloan had been the chief engineer of the Schacht Truck
Cincinnati, Ohio, and many of the components of the C-5 were sourced
from the recently shuttered Ohio truck manufacturer.
C-5 appeared to be a standard cab-over-engine (COE) truck at the front
(albeit with double tires) , the
drive assembly at the back was unique, in that both a half-track
mechanism and a conventional rear axle were fitted. It
featured both front wheel and track drive
with a pair
of wheels mounted behind the crawler. On hard surfaces it could operate
front-drive truck. In rough terrain hydraulics raised the rear wheels
and lowered the tracks providing tremendous pulling power on all types
The new Linn was announced to the trade in
the 1939 issue of Public Works:
“Linn Announces New Type of Haulage Unit
“The Linn Manufacturing Corporation,
Morris, New York, has announced a new type of haulage unit, known as
the Model C-S,
which can be instantly converted from track to wheel operation, or vice
versa, merely by throwing a control lever mounted at the driver's
“Body capacity is five tons, and the
chassis weight, with cab, is 11,500 lbs. The engine is a 6-cylinder
rated at 105 hp. Operating on dual pneumatic tired wheels, the vehicle
inches of road clearance under the traction unit.
“In this position, the drive is on the
front wheels; the traction unit idling, and merely revolving should it
obstruction. The load distribution is equal on front and rear wheels,
with a maximum speed of 35 m.p.h. When track operation is desired, the
pushes the control lever and the rear wheels are raised hydraulically.
can be raised to allow nine inches of road clearance, or they can be
to trail or float behind the traction unit.
“In hauling from pits, for example, the
C-5 will come up out of the pit unaided with its own load, and on its
tracks at 12 m.p.h.; and when it reaches good road. It can roll away at
m.p.h. on rubber. In addition, it will do those jobs requiring steady
operation, or others requiring only wheel operation. If hauling is to
be over good
roads for any protracted period, the entire traction unit is readily
“Timken roller bearings carry the upper
ends of the spiral screw shafts and cutless rubber bearings are used at
lower ends of the shafts which are subject to abrading action of the
sand and water.
In March of 1939 a prototype Linn C-5 was
delivered to the
US Army’s Aberdeen, Maryland proving grounds for evaluation as a
155mm artillery prime mover. Rated for 5-tons carrying capacity, the
powered by a 104-hp, 478 cu. in. Hercules inline 6-cylinder engine that
power to either the front axles or the 18” wide pair of rear tracks via
a Spicer transfer
case and Fuller 5-speed transmission. The 17,760 pound Linn C-5 was 94
wide, 94 inches high and 20 feet long with dual 12-ply 8.25 x 20-in.
mounted at all four corners.
The April 22, 1939 issue of Automotive
Industries revealed that Linn intended to manufacture the C-5 in a
factory located at 1000 Military Avenue, Kenwood
Station, Buffalo, New York, that had been recently vacated by the
& Union Horse Nail Co.:
“Linn Mfg. Co. to Make Tractors in Buffalo
“The Linn Mfg. Corp., producer of heavy
duty tractors, will begin operations in Buffalo, N. Y., in about two
The company, which will move its manufacturing facilities from its
in Morris, N.Y., has taken over a plant formerly occupied by the Fowler
& Union Horse Nail Co. The property consists of 7½ acres and a
factory with 77,000 sq. ft. of floor space.
“In addition to the 40 carloads of
equipment and machinery that it will move to Buffalo from Morris, the
will purchase about $100,000 worth of new machinery and equipment.
“The company recently has added to its
of heavy tractors a tractor-truck which may be used for highway or
cross-country operation. The president of the concern is Franklin R.
The handful of C-5's that had
been sold to the public were experiencing their own problems and it
soon became apparent that further testing should have preceeded
customer deliveries. The September 27, 1939 death of Wallace J. Childs,
chairman of American-LaFrance (and the C-5's main benefactor) only
served to compound the problems, and the Buffalo plant was quickly
abandoned with C-5 production returning to Morris.
A significant number of early C-5 purchasers
were so disatisfied with their 'CaTruks' that Linn took
them back and refunded their money. These included five C-5 logging
purchased by the U.S.
Service for use near Concord, Massachusetts,
as well as a road maintenance unit purchased by the Green County, New
York, Town of Jewett.
Among the main complaints of failed
drivetrain components others complained of the unsettling
feeling experienced when the rear
wheels were replaced by the tracks at speed. The C-5-specific track
system enjoyed significantly less grip than a standard Linn L-37 and
when used on snow the
smaller cleat openings quickly clogged up with snow and ice, causing a
loss of traction.
also modified the C-5 layout, moving
the motor 18 inches forward to improve
weight distribution and reduce heat build-up in the cab. The move
forward resulted in a revised front-end whose louvered nosepiece tried
the re-mounted engine and radiator as best as it could.
Linn C-5 returned to the Aberdeen proving grounds in September of 1940.
Unfortunately, it continued to be plagued by its rough ride
(even when on wheels), low maximum speed, and the inability to
tow a 155mm gun, the Army's chief requirement. Consequently no
military orders for the C-5 ensued and production of the C-5 was put on
for the duration of the war, with the total number produced from
1939-1947 estimated at fewer than 30 examples.
Leigh Portner reports that several rotary plows were tried on Linn
tractors. The 'Snow King', a light railway plow which featured dual
paddlewheels fed by a central V-blade plow - seen to the right - was
constructed by the Rotary Snowplow Co. of
Minneapolis, Minnesota. The second, constructed in 1940 by the Rome
Grader Co., of Rome, New
featured an articulating rotary blower mounted in front of a
V-blade plow. Portner's father, who
snow removal contract with Oneida County, tested the prototype, which
ultimately proved unsuccessful due to its slow speed and inability to
go through hard-packed snow.
A handful of refurbished Linn L-37-type
would play an important role in the development of the Gradall
telesoping excavator. In 1941 Ray and Koop Ferwerda, principals
of Cleveland, Ohio's
Ferwerda-Werba-Ferwerda construction company, commenced construction of
a telesoping boom excavator (considered the very 1st Gradall)
using a government
dump truck chassis. They continued to improve the design during the
War and in late 1943 commenced construction of a second prototype using
used Linn tractor as its carrier - the finished product debuting
as the Gradall on May 6, 1944.
more secondhand Linn L-37s served as
carriers for the next 3 Gradall prototypes, after which the Ferwerda
brothers sold the rights to manufacture the Gradall to Cleveland's
Warner & Swasey Co. Although Warner & Swasey had tested the
Gradall on a Linn C-5 CaTruk carrier, its dual-tired axles were too
wide for Ohio regulations and they determined that a low-priced Gradall
unit - built on a cheap Army surplus truck instead of an expensive Linn
C-5 - would be more attractive to potential dealers and
customers.Consequently the first production Warner & Swasey-built
M2400, debuted in 1946, mounted - like most early units - on an Army
In late 1944 Linn created a pair of
long-wheelbase Linn L-37
tractors which were equipped with a hydraulic platform lifts topped off
inflatable rubber cushion that would serve as tow vehicles for disabled
bombers. Two Linns were required to lift each B-29 - the pair joined
together by detachable braces that kept the tractors operating in
Testing commenced on the specially-outfitted Linns at the US Naval Air
at Patuxent River, Maryland in early 1945, but the end of the war
caused the entire
program (20 pairs of tractors were reportedly on the books) to be
During the War a used Linn tractors could be
purchesed for pennies on the dollar, as evidenced by a June 27, 1944
classified ad that appeared in the Harrisburg Evening News (Harrisburg,
“Tractors For Sale
“3 Linn tractors – 5 cu. yd. dump bodies,
St. Paul hoists, 100 h.p. Waukesha motors, Reconditioned caterpillar
tracks and solid
rubber on front, avoiding tire trouble and costly delays. Ready to go
to work. Price
$2,000, f.o.b. Buffalo, our yard. Charles Rossow Contracting Co., 343
Ave, Buffalo, 11, NY.”
War's end the Linn Mfg. Corp. found itself with a handful of returned
C-5 CaTruks and a large parts inventory. Nobody was interested in
purchasing a new C-5, albeit a used one, so some clever minds decided
to rebuild the remaining C-5's into a seemingly all-new model, the C-6.
By removing the rear axle and substituting a conventional front end for
the dual-tired front-wheel-drive unit the C-5 became the C-6.
Linn supplied a C-6 to the U.S. Navy
for evaluation, but once again no orders were forthcoming. C-6 sales
were disappointing save for 25 units delivered to the International
Hoist & Derrick Co. for use in the Russian oil fields. The last
units were completed in 1948 with an estimated 30 Linn C-6's having
been assembled to date.
closed down the Linn shops in December of 1949 and its assets were
liquidated at a December 15, 1949 auction. Harold Mills, Linn's former
treasurer, and Maurice Bridges, a partner in Gould & Bridges,
and Walter distributor, bought
the Linn factory and most of
the parts and equipment for pennies on the dollar.
and Bridges constructed two final C-6's from parts on hand hwich were
sold to the former Seattle, Washington Linn distributor, and
managed a Linn parts and service facility for most of the next decade,
it quits in 1959.
In the November 8, 1998 issue of the
Schenectady Sunday Gazette (Schenectady, N.Y.) reporter Alan Ginzburg
published an informative interview with Richmondville, New York Linn
collector Charles Bilby:
“Old Workhorse: Slow-moving Linn Tractor
Boasted Rugged Power
“By Alan Ginsburg, Gazette Reporter © 1998 Schenectady Daily Gazette
“Richmondville - Charlie Bilby primes with
gasoline each of the six cylinders of the 170 horsepower engine of the
Tractor, climbs into the cab and presses the starter button. The
clank and clang
of the engine echo throughout the valley, jolting the tractor's nine
iron and steel.
‘That's the greatest thrill, hearing that
engine turn over,’ Bilby says.
“Grasping the iron steering wheel with
hands, he engages the clutch, shifts into first gear and steps on the
The Linn lurches forward as the clattering roller chain turns the track.
“‘You can feel the power when you step on
the gas,’ says Bilby, noting that though the Linn's top speed is only
about 8 mph, its
engine produces a powerful surge of energy.
“Yet the Linn ‘half-track,’ as it was
dubbed -- with its front wheels and rear bulldozer-like tracks --
wasn't made for
speed. It was built for power and strength, for hauling tons rock,
road construction materials, and for plowing unpaved rural roads.
“In its heyday, this hybrid truck and
track-driven machine was the workhorse of the construction industry,
used in building dams,
in copper mining, in marble quarries and logging. The Linn
was also used on farms -- with up to five plows attached -- to plow
“The Linn Tractor, says Bilby, was a
precursor of earth movers manufactured by Caterpillar and other firms
that improved on
Linn's traction unit design, with is flexible track system for easy
over difficult terrain.
“Designed by Holman Harry Linn, who formed
the Linn Manufacturing Co. in 1917 in Morris, Ostego County, the Linn
was custom-built machine with an average retail price of
its early years, the Linn was powered by gasoline. Later models
available with diesel engines. Linns were equipped with four and six
Waukesha engines, six cylinder Cummins diesel engines and later
“While earlier engines would accelerate
Linn to about 8 mph, the Hercules increased it to 12 mph. Linn
provided four speeds both forward and backward.
“‘You could get any type of body you
wanted,’ says Bilby, ‘a dump body that could empty from the rear or the
metal-and-wooden boxes that could carry 8 to 15 yards of material.’
“The Linns are about 25 feet long and 7
wide. Many of the Linns were used in the logging industry, where
skis replaced the front wheels in winter and logs loaded in a train of
trailers were pulled by the tractor.
“Standard colors were green and black,
some available in yellow, red, black and orange. The slogan for Linn
was, ‘Carry a pay-load using but one set of tracks.’
“In 1927, the Republic Motor Truck Corp.,
Michigan-based firm, purchased Linn Manufacturing and continued to
operate it in
Morris as a subsidiary while retaining its name.
“During the 1930s and 1940s, the Linn
Tractor was used in construction of dams, such as the Grand Coulee Dam
on the Columbia
River in Washington state, for maintenance work on the waterway in the
Canal Zone and in many Tennessee Valley Authority projects. Linns also
extensively used in the logging industry in the Adirondacks.
“Bilby, a maintenance employee at the
University of New York College at Cobleskill, says his fascination with
tractor began when he was a youngster watching the machine plow snow
back roads of Schoharie County.
“‘I still remember seeing the Linn coming
down the road from a long way
off, and even after it was out of sight, you could hear the roar of the
engine and the clatter of the track,’ he says.
“His father was a ‘wing man’ on a Linn.
Huddled against winter's cold winds in a small shed attached to the
dump box and
outfitted with a kerosene heater, Bilby's father raised and lowered the
with control levers. The levers were later modified to operate from
“‘When they were plowing with the wings
it stretched about 21 feet wide, the average road was probably narrower
stone walls,’ Bilby says.
“Cleats were attached to the tracks to
prevent sliding on the snow- and ice-covered roads. It took two men two
fasten the cleats.
“‘It was quite a sight to see,’ says
who recalls watching the Linn clear the high snowdrifts. After each
to dislodge deep layers of hard-packed snow with the front-mounted
the driver would back up and buck against the drift, back and forth
wide path opened.
“Never forgetting those early images of
Linn Tractor in action, Bilby, whose longtime hobby is restoring early
engines, found his first Linn about 11 years ago, a 1924 machine
abandoned by a
town highway department. He restored it and has taken the Linn to
exhibitions of vehicles and machinery of yesteryear.
“Bilby has accumulated a dozen Linn
-- built between 1924 to 1946 -- most of them once used by town highway
departments in Schoharie and several other nearby counties. He found
town barns, garages, landfills, fields, in various stages of rust and
corrosion. He restored the engines on a few and replaced parts and
tracks so they would operate.
“‘I talked with some of the old guys who
remembered the Linn plowing theirs towns and some knew where they ended
up, and when I
found one, No matter how rusted or busted up it was, I'd offer to take
“One of the Linns, he says, was buried
nearly 2 feet in the ground. ‘We had to dig it out and jack it up
and put blocks under
it until we could free it. I just hate to see them end up in the
“Recently, he restored a 1935 Linn for a
town in Sullivan County in exchange for two other Linns -- a 1933
gas-powered and a 1946
diesel-powered Linn, with metal cab and body.
“Restoring the 1935 Linn took two years
the help of his nephew Rob Bilby, who restored the tractor's electrical
“‘The engine was a lot worse than I
thought,’ says Bilby. ‘The valves were rusted shut, pistons stuck so
tight you couldn't get them
“After failing to free the pistons with
solvent, he dislodged them by using a 20 ton hydraulic jack that
squeezed a plug
against the pistons to drive them through the cylinders. Though
he had to
replace the piston rings and make new head gaskets, the bearings simply
a good cleaning.
“Bilby ordered some engine parts from a
in Ohio who maintains an inventory of parts used in Linn engines:
fabricated or found in the scrap yard. Bilby has the technical
including drawings and diagrams, for repairing the tractors.
“Bilby also repaired the hydraulic system
that operates the plow, mounted new side lights, replaced the
windshield and back window
of the cab, mounted new tires. He cleaned and adjusted the track
mechanisms and repainted the metal parts black.
“He then replaced rotted wooden doors,
slats of the cab and dump body with white oak planks and painted them
green, the Linn's
original color. He had a new decal printed for the side of the cab, to
match the original company logo.
“Linn Manufacturing stopped making the
tractors in the early 1950s, but would accept used tractors as trade
for highway equipment,
such as sanders and snow plows, Bilby said.
“‘The company would cut the engine from
rest of the tractor, rebuild it and sell it for use at power plant,’ he
noting he has several of the engines, two that were used in sawmills,
operated a ski tow and another that operated a water pump that made
snow at a ski
“‘The Linn was just a good idea in its
time,’ says Bilby. ‘They were outmoded when country roads were
four-wheel-drive, rubber-tire trucks came along that could plow and
travel much faster.’
“Meredith McNeil, professor of
engineering at SUNY Cobleskill, who also has a special interest in
“‘Time finally outran the Linn
company. They built a machine that served the logging, construction
industry and highway
industry at a time when speed wasn't important. The Linn was slow but
beyond belief. But in the late 1940s and early 1950s, America really
began to move technologically. So, speed-wise, the Linn Tractor was
“What made the Linn last, says McNeil, was
the track system. ‘It had what you would call a fairly large footprint
the amount of area that contacted the ground, which meant it could
pretty big loads.’
“Bilby says he's still looking for Linns
add to his collection and continues to comb the countryside for rusting
in former town landfills, barns and junkyards. He also checks out
reported sightings of Linn Tractors by folks who have seen his restored
Linn Tractor at a gas-up or antique car exhibit.
“Ernie Benson of Worcester recalls what it
was like seeing a Linn plowing the roadway from Dorloo to Hyndsville in
in the winter of 1945, when he was 7.
“Stopping by to admire Bilby's restoration
of the 1935 Linn Tractor and hearing the start, brought back memories
for Benson of the
thrill of watching the tractor plow through the snow.
“‘It was awesome,’ says Benson, ‘It was an
awful winter that year, lots of snow, the Linn just came down that dirt
road loaded with
rock to give it ballast, and it just kept pushing against the snow,
forth until the road was cleared. For a young boy, it was quite a
to see, something you'd never forget.’”
they were relatively unknown outside of Central New York, most highway
departments located in New York State's snowbelt used a Linn tractor
for highway maintenance during the summer and snowplowing during the
winter. One Morris resident summed up the experience of many to
historian Robert C. Ackerson in 1977:
“When we head the
Linns pass by
in the night we knew the roads would be clear in the morning.”
(Our subject - Linn Mfg. Corp. was
to the Escanaba, Mich. firm of the same name.)
2014 Mark Theobald for Coachbuilt.com with special thanks to
W. Crismon, Ernest Leigh Portner, Rene Elliott and Alan Ginsburg
continued on the next page - click here for more!
Appendix 1 - A.O. Lombard, H.H. Linn, Linn
Mfg. Corp, Linn
Trailer Corp., G.R. Hanks and P.W. Sloan US Patents:
US674737 – Logging Engine - Filed Nov 9,
1900 - Issued May
21, 1901 to Alvin O. Lombard
US854364 – Log Hauler - Filed Nov 22, 1905
- Issued May
21, 1907 to Alvin O. Lombard
US945560 – Machine for Making Roads - Filed
Jun 26, 1909 -
Issued Jan 4, 1910 to Alvin O. Lombard
US955601 – Sled for Carrying Logs - Filed
Jul 3, 1909 -
Issued Apr 19, 1910 to Alvin O. Lombard
US1234355 – Tractor Truck - Filed Apr 22,
1916 - Issued
Jul 24, 1917 to Alvin O. Lombard
US1270531 - Tractor - Filed Dec 1, 1916 -
Issued Jun 25,
1918 to Holman Harry Linn
US1521454 – Creeper - Filed Jul 30, 1921 -
Issued Dec 30,
1924 to Holman Harry Linn
US1685676 – Tractor - Filed May 13, 1924 -
Issued Sep 25,
1928 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1701979 – Snow Plow - Filed Nov 17, 1926
- Issued Feb
12, 1929 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1835506 – Universal Joint - Filed Apr 2,
1928 - Issued
Dec 8, 1931 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1685641 – Vehicle Drive - Filed Apr 2,
1928 - Issued Sep
25, 1928 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1794630 – Construction for Automobile
Trailers - Filed
Aug 20, 1928 - Issued Mar 3, 1931 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to
US1809344 – Tractor - Filed Aug 27, 1928 -
Issued Jun 9,
1931 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1835506 – Universal Joint - Filed Apr 2,
1928 - Issued
Dec 8, 1931 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1858154 – Tractor - Filed Dec 11, 1928 -
Issued May 10,
1932 to George R. Hanks assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1877516 – Head Casting for Radiators -
Filed Oct 8, 1930
- Issued Sep 13, 1932 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1895387 – Logging Bolster - Filed Feb 20,
1930 - Issued
Jan 24, 1933 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1903629 – Vehicle Brake - Filed Apr 2,
1928 - Issued Apr
11, 1933 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US1915325 – Automobile Trailer Construction
- Filed Oct 29,
1929 - Issued Jun 27, 1933 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn
US1953051 – Trailer Construction - Filed
Oct 1, 1930 -
Issued Mar 27, 1934 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Trailer Corp.
US1953053 – Trailer Construction - Filed
Feb 14, 1931 -
Issued Mar 27, 1934 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Trailer Corp.
US1953052 – Trailer Construction - Filed
Feb 14, 1931 -
Issued Mar 27, 1934 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Trailer Corp.
US1954637 – Vehicle Construction - Grant -
Filed Jun 4,
1931 - Issued Apr 10, 1934 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn
US1959168 – Vehicle Construction - Filed
Nov 10, 1931 -
Issued May 15, 1934 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Trailer Corp.
US1968046 – Trailer Construction - Filed
Sep 10, 1930 -
Issued Jul 31, 1934 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Trailer Corp.
US2023330 – Gate Control For Dump Vehicles -
Filed Dec 10,
1930 - Issued Dec 3, 1935 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg.
US2027989 – Dump Body For Vehicles - Filed
Sep 30, 1931 -
Issued Jan 14, 1936 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US2070015 – Track Trailer - Filed Mar 25,
1935 - Issued
Feb 9, 1937 to Holman Harry Linn assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
US2341883 – Convertible Vehicle - Filed Jul
13, 1940 -
Issued Feb 15, 1944 to Philip W. Sloan assigned to Linn Mfg. Corp.
Appendix 2 Linn Videos:
Appendix 2 Lombard Videos: