In 1951, Lanz presented something of a revolution in farm mechanisation in the form of the Alldog, a machine that was designed to work with root crops rather than row crops, as the Anglo American tractor format was designed to do.
Germany, at the time, was far more dependent on such food sources rather than the more cereal orientated diets of the US
The post-war occupation had seen terrible shortages with the population having to grow their own where they could.
A vegetable diet
We can see this dependence in the proliferation of mid-mounted implements on continental tractors of the time, indicating a different type of crop being attended to in the field.
The Alldog was a machine that addressed this difference head on, rather than adapt what we now regard as the standard tractor layout to suit.
It had a tubular steel frame from which could be hung implements, or upon which a tipper body, or harvesting machinery, could be mounted.
It was also built with some flexibility between the front and rear to better accommodate working across hillsides – the engineering was really quite clever.
However, what wasn’t quite so clever was the engine, in fact it left a great deal to be desired and proved to be the machine’s Achilles heel.
The motor was supplied by TWN, which stood for Triumph Werke Nurnberg, a company that was created by the very same Siegfried Bettman who founded the British motorcycle brand back in 1887.
The two businesses were run as separate divisions of the parent Triumph company, until Bettmann found himself obliged to divest himself of his German interests during World War I.
To what extent he did so is a matter of debate, however, after a further world war the German company started producing a series of small two-stroke petrol engines known as the GeMo range, and it was the largest 9hp model of 450cc that Lanz selected for the Alldog.
A brief boom for the Alldog
The Alldog was an immediate success, but it soon became obvious that it was thirsty and woefully underpowered, especially on larger farms where it could find itself under full load all day.
To answer this problem TWN, in conjunction with Lanz, ‘dieselised’ the GeMo which showed a marked improvement in fuel consumption and power, giving a 12hp at the previously unheard engine speed of 3,000rpm.
The new engine was also larger at 534cc, and although it was a compression ignition engine, it required a petrol starting system which could be easily switched over once it had fired up.
On paper it was a mighty improvement, in the real world, however, it was incredibly noisy and rather dirty; Neither attribute endearing it to either the operators or neighbors.
A company in decline
Even in a post- Germany, these faults were unacceptable and it has been suggested that the problems with the engine marked the start of Lanz’s decline in popularity, although the reluctance to switch to multi-cylinder engines for its tractors will also have played a part.
By 1955 a proper four-stroke engine of 1,300cc and 16hp was fitted to the Alldog, but in a way it was too late.
The TWN engine had sealed the fate of the model and by then John Deere was poised to buy the company which was already struggling financially.
The US company kept it going until 1958 and many were sold in the famous green and yellow livery, which had been liberally applied to any stock that was in the factory yard.
Tool carriers in fashion
At the time, the Alldog reinforced the perception that tool frame type tractors had a bright future; Allis Chalmers was one company pushing the idea with its Model G which prompted David Brown to develop the 2D.
Allis Chalmers used an engine from Continental, David Brown developed its own and with the two engineers assigned to the task having little experience of engines, they turned to their love of motorcycles for inspiration.
The engine which eventually emerged was based on a popular bike engine of the time, an air-cooled parallel twin of 500cc which was produced by the leading manufacturer of the 1950s – Triumph.