Text Box: Heider A
Tractor Summary

· Weight: 4300 lbs

· Engine: Rutenber 4 3/4 x 5

· Mag: Remy?

· Carb: Schebler

· Serial Numbers:  ?

Heider A 1911-12

Although not the first Heider tractor, the Model A was the first production tractor from the Heider’s in 1911. Featuring a Rutenber engine, the A was rated  a three plow 8-12 hp tractor (or Traction Engine as it is referred to in patent 1055635 filed Feb 20 1911). An advertisement first appeared May 1911 in Gas Power Magazine, and an announcement of the expansion of facilities appeared one month later.


According to John Heider’s research presented in Antique Power July 1994, a very limited number of Heider A’s were built, only 9 before Oct 25 1911 according to the Carroll Herald and only 25 in all of 1911. another 10 or 12 were produced in 1912 as the Heider B went into production.  They were reported to cost $775 to produce and retailed for $1300 and most were sold around Carroll Iowa. The timing of the factory expansion however, indicates that although relatively few tractors were built initially, the Heiders already saw large potential in their new tractor.


The Heider A featured a simple frame design, simply bolted together strap iron, a home built radiator and French & Hecht wheels (which would remain a fixture until Rock Islands closure in 1937). The Rutenber engine was mounted over the drive wheels leaving little room for the operator. The friction transmission the Heider would later be so famous for consisted of a single speed forward and reverse. A steam traction style drum and chain steering mechanism was employed with a chain driven final drive.


The only known Heider A remaining is believed to be Richard Collison’s of Carroll IA. The details of its restoration are in Antique Power July 1994. A copy of it is hosted on Heidertractors.com. This A is actually thought to possibly be on of the earliest as it does not exactly match listed specs.


The Heider A is actually a very notable tractor as it was one of the first true all purpose, light weight tractors to be produced.  A look at any listing of tractors in 1911 shows a wide variety of heavy weight prairie tractors (a few being low in horsepower, but still following the heavy weight design, the Hart-Parr 17-30 for instance weighed in around 7 1/2 tons), self driving gas engines mostly suitable for belt work only and a hand full of various styles of motor plows. The concept of a light weight, all purpose small farm tractor to replace a small farmers team of horses was still a novel concept. By 1910 the form of the large tractor had mostly settled into something fairly recognizable as such, but the light tractor would take nearly another decade to settle into a more standardized form. 


HP 8-12

Richard “Doc” Collison’s fully restored Heider A in Carroll IA, cover tractor and feature in July 94 Antique Power .

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Copy write 2011, 2012, 2013 not for republication or sale without express written consent. All images are the property of their respective owners and are not to be reused without their express permission. 

Right: an original A ad, note the radiator fan that was dropped early on.

Below: Richard “Doc” Collison’s fully restored Heider A

patent 1055635 filed

 Feb 20 1911