The story of this tractor is told
by many famous John Deere buffs. However the only true story comes
from a guy I got to know many years after I purchased my ole Lindie.
I read anything I could get my hands on about this tractor and
soon had many different avenues to pursue. One day I was surfing
the web when I saw the name of someone that had worked with and
for the old man himself, Jessie Lindeman. I figured I couldn't
go wrong in talking to him. So I sent an e-mail to him asking
for the true story about the "BO Lindeman".
His name is Ted Adams. P.O Box 10683
- Yakima, Washington - 98902. Ted started the archives for the
Lindeman tractors because he wanted to see about getting as many
of the tractors recorded as posible while they still existed.
After he found out that I had one,
he e-mailed me to get the serial number so he could forward to
me the information on my particular tractor. He also sent me a
Of Registration, which tells all about the build, and dates.
the early thirties there were only a few companies making crawler
tractors in the United
Stated Of America. International Harvestor, Holt and Best. None
of those companies had a crawler tractor that was completly suitable
to working the steep terrain on
which the orchards of the north west were located and
none of them were so designed to successfully get under the trees
without doing damage to the trees and operator and still be able
to negotiate the steep terrain. Jessie Lindeman, a businessman
in Yakima, Washington, decided to persue the possibility of designing
a tractor that would meet this challange. Since the orchard operators
were using the
John Deere Model "BO"tractors
with rubber tires, which was the orchard version of the Model
"B" tractor, Jessie engineered a
track design to fit this tractor. He designed the total track
frame, final drives,steering clutchs, tracks and rollers. He then
cast the needed parts in a foundry and along with his brothers,
Harry and Joseph, machined all the parts in their own shop. The
first tractor was manufactured in 1936 and tested on the orchards
in nearby farms. After several design changes and ironing out
the bugs, they were in business
made it so special was, it was a "low rider".
The seat was situated low behind the tractor
to allow the operator to ride under the limbs and let operations
get close in under the trees. But it was what I call a, "sling
shot". I found out the hard way. I climbed a bank and when
it rolled over the top, you guessed it. I went airborne. The spring
mounted on the seat frame shot me same as the bullet from your
The basic John Deere
Model "BO" was shipped from the John Deere factory as
a power unit and transmission assembly only. No wheels or axles
came with it to the Yakima Lindeman Power Equipment Company factory.
The Yakima built components were then installed to it. The steering
clutches and final drives were mounted to the side of the transmission
case and driven off the brake drives of the John Deere transmission
case. Therefore, there was no other braking system, other then
the steering bands that made contact on the steering clutch drums.
That was a somewhat surprising event to anyone that jumped on
the tractor for the first time and starting jaming with their
feet for a brake pedal and then to discover there ain't none.
A person, I suppose, had to be advised of this shortcoming before
The Lindeman tractor
was such a sudden success that the factory could not keep up with
orders coming in. As the news spread out to America, and the world
beyond, they expanded larger and larger as a manufacturing factory
of the United States. Not only did it become a super hit with
the mountian orchards of the northwest but in the northeast also.
One of the industries
that they did not think of was the logging operations scattered
out across North America. This little tractor was just the ticket
to replace the mule as a dragging tool. Where the mule was only
suited to riding to work and dragging logs, the Lindeman could
build the road to the mill, build the mill set pad and make the
skid trails around the mountians sides and then drag the logs
to the mill. Also very handy in pushing and dragging the loaded
trucks through the mud, from the mill to the main road.
This tractor was
built by the "The Lindeman Power Equipment Company"
from 1936 to 1946, almost 1947. Since the main structure of the
tractor was the John Deere power unit and bore the John Deere
name on the hood's sides and the front of it's radiator, it was
generally known as a John Deere crawler tractor even though it
had the Lindeman name cast into the side of each track frame.
John Deere was now
looking to get into the crawler tractor industry and what better
way then to buy out Jessie Lindeman. So, in December of 1946 John
Deere paid $1,250,000.00 for the company and took over the building
of tractors in January of 1947, at the Yakima plant. According
to Ted, John Deere continued to build the "BO's" there
at the Yakima factory until 1949. It was in 1946 that John Deere
introduced the Model "M" seried farm tractors to the
market and it was decided to install the "M" power unit
in place of the "BO". It would then be called, from
this time on, the "MC". M for the "M" series
and C for crawler. The "MC" would continue to be built
in Yakama and operations were moved to Dubuque Iowa in 1954. 1955
would change the letter series to the number series on all John
Deere tractors and the crawler tractors were no exception. The
"MC" would become the "40C". And that's how
John Deere got into the earth moving equipment business, folks.
In 2005, I was to
a site seeing visit at the Dubuque works, where it first started
out. Believe me. Things sure have changed since way back then.
I met a couple older gentlemen that worked there back when the
Lindeman company was purchased. They were now working with the
tour company that takes people around the factory to see just
how all the equipment is being built. I had a chance to talk to
both of them and when they found out that I owned a "BO"
Lindeman crawler, we had a lot of common ground to talk about.
I picked their brain for all they knew, or remembered.
To see my "BO"
Lindeman and read more on it, see my Museum article -