Photo of a Fordson tractor with an Armstead Snow Motor, in Butte, Montana

Weekly Gem #267, Mr. Ford meets Dr. Seuss

Published 2/5/22

Location: This hidden gem is located in the World Museum of Mining, in Butte, MT (see the Clue Me! Map). Henry Ford grew up on a farm. He knew how much back-breaking work by both people and animals went into farming. As he developed automobiles, he also wanted to find a way to help the farmer “lift the burden of farming from flesh and blood and place it on steel and motors.”

Ford and Sons, Inc. manufactured a small tractor that was reliable, lightweight and affordable. There was already a proven distribution network and trusted brand name through the Ford Motor Company so the "Fordson" tractor rapidly gained popularity.

The Fordson was also designed to be easily modified.  For example, some industrious loggers modified the tractor to run on rails, creating a miniature locamotive!  Conversion kits started coming out of the woodwork, and before long a Fordson tractor could become a circular saw, a plow, a crawler, a road grader, a combine, a grain or corn binder, a mower, a grain drill, a manure spreader, a loader … and of course a snow machine.

One of the most curious conversions was the Armstead Snow Motor. This was a Fordson tractor modified into a screw-propelled vehicle that traveled across snow and ice with ease. It’s hard to imagine this device zoom zooming, but sure enough, check out this marketing video from 1924.


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


It's a bird... it's a plane...


It's an Armstead Snow Motor machine attached to a Fordson tractor motor!

Why It's Interesting

Fordson tractors were dependable widely used tractors made by the Ford Motor Company. Conversion kits like the one from Armstead Snow Motor, Inc. could turn the tractor into a snow machine like the one seen here.

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