The accompanying engraving represents a traction engine embodying new and valuable forms of construction, and which may be employed to plow, saw wood, gin cotton, thrash and grind grain, haul, or to do any of the work commonly performed hy a steam engine. Heretofore in the operation of traction engines a serious difficulty has been caused by the slipping of the wheels in passing over sandy or soft soil. The engine here illustrated overcomes this to a great extent, as the surface of the wheel in contact with the ground is practically largely increased. This is accomplished by means of a V-shaped chain connecting each pair of wheels, thus forming a track on the pulling or tight side of the chain, that is laid on the ground for the drivers to roll on. Besides increasing the bearing surface this enables the engine to-utilize more of its power than it would if rolling on the ground. The pilot wheels are of the same width as the drivers, and the weight is distributed on all four points; the guiding of these wheels is accomplished with a short axle pivoted at the center of the face of the wheels, so that the length of the chains is not altered when turning a corner. The engine rolls op. its own rail, the pilot wheels laying it down; and being connected with the drivers they help forward the latter by taking their proportion of the weight of the engine. In regard to the work which this engine will do, the inventor, Mr. Geo. F. Page, of No. 5 N. Schroeder St., Baltimore, Md., states that with my twelve horse engine, I pulled through the red clay mud, up a grade of one in twelve, ten tons in two six horse wagons. The engine made better time, with less water and coal, than the old wheels on a dry road of the same grade. Discovery of the Missing Link. They can talk all they please about their great scientists, said the brakeman to a Chicago Herald reporter, as he stepped between two freight cars and made his arms go up in the air, but I did something the other day that Darwin, Haeckel, Huxley, and all them evolutionist fellers never could do, with all their larnin. We were running along with about thirty cars, when our train broke in two sections. We stopped em, an were goin to couple up again, when we found we couldnt do it. Something was gone. Wait a minute, says I to. the conductor, and then I skipped out and run back along the track. It was then what I did what the crack scientists have never been able to do. What was that? I found the missing link.
This article was originally published with the title "Improved Traction Engine" in Scientific American 52, 25, 390 (June 1885)