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.

Forestry Friday … Movin’ Logs Old School!


This gallery contains 5 photos.

When steam came to the woods just after the turn of the previous century the logging locomotives were the cutting edge of technology.  They could move logs farther, faster and in much greater quantity than had been done with horse and … Continue reading

Skidding Logs

Logging, Horses, horse logging, skidding, historic logging

Skidding logs with a big wheels and a team.

Skidding logs is the process of moving cut logs from the woods to the landing.  The landing is where they are loaded for transport to the mill.  After the turn of the last century, draft animals and steam were the engines of choice for moving these huge logs.  The “big wheels” in this pen and ink, was the pinnacle of technology in ground based skidding way back then.

Cat skidder, Cat, skidder, skidding, logs, logging

Cat rubber tire skidder

Diesel powered skidders are the work horses of today for skidding logs.  These machines come in different sizes and configurations for different jobs.  The rubber tire skidders are used on gentler slopes.  They are built for speed.

John Deere, skidder, skidding, logging, logs

John Deere skidder

The track laying skidders often used on steeper slopes.  They are built for traction.

Cat skidder, skidder, Caterpiller, skidding, logs, logging

Cat track skidder

The forwarder is today’s pinnacle of technology in ground based skidding.  It loads logs onto itself instead of dragging them.

Valmet, forwarder, logs, logging

Valmet Forwarder

Let’s not forget the original skidders, the horses.  They can’t be beat for sheer beauty!

Horses, horse, Burney Mountain

Horses near Burney Mountain.