John, Maurice and Douglass Steiger – the father and sons who built the first Steiger articulated 4wd tractor more than 60 years ago – have been inducted into the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Hall of Fame.
The recognition comes as celebrations begin to mark 50 years since manufacturing of Steiger tractors began in Fargo, North Dakota, the city where production remains today. The business became part of Case IH in 1986, and since 1996 Quadtrac tracked articulated variants have been produced in Fargo alongside Steiger wheeled models.
The first Steiger tractor was built during the winter of 1957-58, when Steiger and sons Maurice and Douglass sought to improve the timeliness of operations. Their goal: raise efficiency on their farm in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.
While most high-end tractors of the time were two-wheel drive and offered less than 100 horsepower, the Steigers created a machine offering more than double that output, incorporating more robust components, four-wheel drive with equal-sized wheels and articulated steering for good maneuverability.
Nicknamed ‘Barney’, the first Steiger tractor, painted a distinctive lime-green, had a power output of 238 horsepower.
When neighboring farmers began to notice the machine at work, they asked the Steigers to build them something similar, and after designing an additional 118 horsepower model, a full series of 150-300 horsepower Steiger tractors went into production in converted farm buildings.
With outside investors on board, manufacturing moved in 1969 to full factory premises in Fargo, North Dakota, where the first of the famous ‘cat-named’ models – the Wildcat – began to roll off the assembly line.
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The company soon outgrew that initial building, and in 1975 work was completed on a new factory, also in Fargo, where Steiger production remains.
The current range of Case IH Steiger tractors includes models of up to 628 horsepower in Steiger wheeled and Quadtrac tracked variants Since the first machines were made, over 80,000 wheeled and tracked Steiger tractors have been produced.