Adams Leaning Wheel Grader #3

life in a village

Three degrees, sunny & breezy.

It’s an Adams Leaning Wheel Grader #3. Isn’t it interesting? It rests alongside the road behind the power plant in Fort Yukon, Alaska. Many old abandoned things lie alongside our roads. In fact, abandoned heavy machinery may outnumber moose in the Yukon Flats. My dad would have shot a thousand rolls of film here and have written home begging for more.

Expansion and development were marching across our country in 1885. J. J. Adams knew just what we needed, a better grader, and he invented it. He put leaning wheels on his machines. Those funny wheels were a stroke of genius and compensated for the sideways pull of the angled blade. Indianapolis, Indiana was hometown to the Adams company, but its graders traveled widely and revolutionized road maintenance across the Great Plains. Adams also had a substantial presence in Canada, and as you can see, at least one of his tractors managed a barge trip up the Yukon River into Alaska’s interior. His first models were pulled by horses, later ones by steam powered tractors. Adams was a popular and respected name; the company enjoyed growth and prosperity through the mid 1950’s, but by 1961, construction and maintenance had moved on and the Adams Leaning Wheel Grader became a thing of the past.

The Adams company produced scale models of their graders which traveling salesmen used to demonstrate their advantages. Some of these models still exist, and if  you are fortunate enough to own one in good condition and in its leather case, you’ll be glad to know that it is quite collectible and worth much more than the real Adams that rests alongside the road behind the power plant in Fort Yukon, Alaska.


6 thoughts on “Adams Leaning Wheel Grader #3

  1. FASCINATING — Wow! Honestly, more could/should be written/photographed about these iconic industrial pieces now laid to waste. They’d be beautiful in B&W, with those snippets. Or maybe I’m just too much of a history geek…. 🙂

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