One day is hardly enough time to explore the Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana Alberta. There are many exhibits for all to enjoy, but of particular interest to guys is the extensive collection of trucks, tractors and other pieces of machinery. It’s just mind boggling how much they have, some pieces restored and some not.
In this report we’ll be showcasing road and construction machinery at the museum. In the past we did some report on trucks seen there and there are links below for this. Note, this is only a sampling of what’s there – we did not elect to photograph every piece, just some of the more interesting ones. Otherwise this report would be way too big!
Cat or Caterpillar, who dominates the tracked vehicle market today, obviously did so in the past too and most examples at the museum are from that manufacturer. The name Cat has become synonymous with this type of tractor, a generic term for this very type of vehicle, regardless of who made it. That’s how big they’ve become.
I’m afraid my “Cat” spotting skills are not very good and I am unable to ID most of those we photographed. As always, we welcome input from our readers.
Breaking the Cat monopoly there was one Oliver tracked vehicle seen. I don’t believe many of these were made, certainly not in relation the huge output of the massive Caterpillar company.
In looking at these machines, I found it amazing how little thought was given to safety. The cabs are wide open with no falling object or roll over protection whatsoever. And what hell it must have been to run these in the middle of a scorching summer. Or in the depths of winter, or in the pouring rain, or when it was windy and dusty. There seemed to be little concern for the needs of the operator. How things have changed and now tractors have all manner of safety features and creature comforts. Almost car like.
There was so much to see, but particularly interesting where two very unusual machines.
First was what must be the smallest cat tracked vehicle I’ve ever seen. It’s tiny! Who made it and what in the world could it be used for? It’s too small to be of much use as least as far as I could see but it sure was cute. I can only guess this was some sort of home brew since it had no makers plate or serial number on it.
Then there is “the monster” as we called it, a massive bizarre looking juggernaut of a machine – what appears to be some form of ditch digger judging by its layout. It must have been amazing to see this one in operation. It’s giant! I am not sure if this machine was commercially produced or if it was cobbled together by who ever used it. Looking at how it was made, it sure looks like a one off machine.
Update November 2012: The small “cute” cat tracked vehicle appears to be a Vaughn Flex Tread (or Flex-Tred). In spite of looking homemade, it was not, although this one may have been home-modified to include an operators seat. As made, they were to be walked behind although someone has emailed me mentioning a seat could have been a factory option. These were used to work small garden plots and the like. Date of manufacture is not known but I will continue to research and will report here.
The machine refereed to a the monster in this report has been confirmed as a Ruth Dredger. It was commercially produced in spite of looking like some kind of home made Rube Goldberg contraption. It was used to create or clear irrigation ditches and would straddle the canal it was working on. The buckets would scoop up the soil, dumping it off to the side. The tracked bogie would propel the unit, and the large side wheel would extend to span the gap. The unit seen here dates from the 1920s.
The museum has its share of old trucks and to see some reports showing them, click any of the links below…
Unrestored trucks Pioneer Acres Museum Irricana.
Restored trucks Pioneer Acres Museum Irricana – part 1.
Restored trucks Pioneer Acres Museum Irricana – part 2.
If you wish more information on this place, by all means contact us!
Date: July 2012
Location: Pioneer Acres Museum, Irricana Alberta.
Reference: To visit the Pioneer Acres Museum website, click here.