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The "Lindeman BO"


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 authentic Certificate Of Registration, which tells all about the build, and dates.

In 1In 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

What 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 "06".

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 operating it.



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 -