Forestry Friday … Steam Traction Engine

Best Traction Engine, traction engine, pen and ink, logging, old time, logs

The Best Steam Traction Engine in pen and ink.

I’ve always enjoyed old time logging scenes as subjects for pen and ink. The steam traction engine in this picture is the same model as the one in my blog banner.

Horses and oxen were the first source of power for lumberjacks. Then, steam traction engines, steam donkeys and locomotives heralded the age of steam in the woods. The Best Steam Traction Engine came to the woods around 1890. There were many different makes of traction engines during that era but, the Best Steam Traction Engines were the machines that operated in our neck of the woods. They hauled logs from the woods to the mills and lumber from the mills to market. The Best Manufacturing Company was started by Daniel Best, and based in San Leandro, California. They built these tractors until 1908 when the Best Manufacturing Company was acquired by Holt Manufacturing Company. Soon after, C. L. Best, Daniel’s son, then started the rival C. L. Best Gas Traction Company. In, 1925 Holt and Best merged to become Caterpillar Tractor Company.

The first time I saw one of these machines in person, I was amazed by its enormous size. The big drive wheels are over seven feet tall. It was a huge tractor used for hauling huge loads.

36 thoughts on “Forestry Friday … Steam Traction Engine

  1. Great pen and ink as always! We go to farm fests all the time and see these old type stream engines. They facinate me. So simple, yet so powerful. Thanks for the info and enjoy your weekend!


  2. That is a Best 185 logging near Shingletown CA (formerly Shingle Camp). That Best 185 served two mills at various times here in Shingletown and stood for many years outside the Big Wheels bar and restaurant until it was sold to the Oakland Museum.

    Drop me a note if you could, our firesafe council would like to use your drawing in our logo. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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