Twin City 12-20 (1920)

John Grey Twin City 12-20 Tractor

Mr. John Grey of Neepawa donated a 12-20 Twin City tractor to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum. The tractor’s serial number is 13819 making the tractor built in 1920.

The Twin City line of tractors was built by the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

12-20 tractors were built between 1919 and 1926 with approximately 9700 12-20s produced. The 12-20 tractors presented a modern appearance for 1919 with an enclosed transmission and a heavy pressed steel frame. The tractor featured a 4 cylinder engine running at 1000 rpm. The cylinders had a bore of 4.25 inches and a stroke of 6 inches. The engine featured 4 valves per cylinder with twin cams activating the valves. This technology was cutting edge in 1919. The engine was fitted with a Bennet air cleaner later replaced by a Donaldson air cleaner in the production run, a Bosch DU4 magneto and a Holley carburetor.

The engine was mounted vertically and lengthwise in the tractor  and drove a transmission with two forward speeds (2.2 mph and 2.9 mph) and one reverse gear through a clutch. 12-20 previous to serial number 12099. After this serial number an over centre Twin Disc clutch was used. This clutch operates with two pedals, one to engage the clutch and the other to disengage the clutch.

The cooling system had a capacity of 7 US gallons. The tractor weighed 5,000 pounds.

Formed in 1902, Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Company (MS&MC) provided structural steel for the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. MS&MC was also a contract manufacturer and engine supplier for other companies. Between 1909 and 1915 MS&MC supplied tractor engines for Reeves & Company plus manufactured  the 30-60 tractor for Case  and manufactured Bull tractors. In 1910 MS&MC began working with McVicker Engineering to develop a line of durable heavyweight gas tractors known as Twin City consisting of the  15-30, 25-45, 40-65 and  60-90 models.  The demands of World War I resulting in the company building military munitions. However MS&MC continued development of a smaller tractor program which resulted in the 12-20 model.

The 12-20 was successful enough that it was followed by a larger “brother” the 20-35. The two tractors were under rated. In 1926, MS&MC made some minor changes and re-rated the tractors at 17-28 and 27-44. A 21-32 was added to the line up at that time.

While MS&MC had very successful tractor designs the company did not offer a line of tillage equipment. The emergence of IHC in the early 1900s with a complete line of farm machinery resulted in a very successful farm equipment company. To remain competitive the other farm machinery companies  had to expand into full line suppliers. John Deere, Case, Massey Harris and other companies realized this and began to work towards offering a full line.  MS&MC was no different and, in 1929, merged with the Moline Plow Company and the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company. The new company was called Minneapolis – Moline. Immediately before the merger, MS&MC had designed the KT and MT tractor models. Minneapolis – Moline continued production of the KT and MT tractors through to 1938. Many of these tractors were labeled as MM- Twin City tractors.


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