THE STORY OF OUR CO-OP TRACTOR

N. D. Kulsavage
March/April 1983
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600 Pleasant Valley Rd., Milford, MI 48042

This epic started about 20 years ago. When taking a Sunday drive a few miles from home, I saw an odd-looking tractor resting beside a barn door. Like all good iron collectors this thing sparked my interest, so for the next few years I occasionally drove by the farm and observed that the tractor was loved because it occasionally changed position around the farm yard.

Finally, it became stationary alongside a fence row, and rested there for a few years. This lack of activity was a sure sign of rejection, so I worked up my courage one afternoon and confronted the farmer. My suspicions were confirmed; it was unloved and, yes, he would part with it for what he felt was the fair value for metal-$15.00.

Any sane iron collector would dicker at this point, but the price stunned me so that I was struck silent for a bit and then slowly fumbled for my wallet. The former owner then rummaged around in a shed and came up with a governor and a 'v' pulley. I was told that the tractor wasn't much at plowing but it sure did a good job at filling a silo.

The tractor had been retired because of a continual problem keeping the drive pulley on the governor shaft.

Finally, we ambled over to the tractor, axle deep in whatever sheep do when they aren't eating. All the ignition wires were eaten by these 'woolly critters'. At this point he told me it was a Co-op, and was developed with a high speed road gear so a fellow would not need a truck to haul grain to the elevator.

When we got it home all the wires were replaced along with points, plugs, etc. Our bench grinder provided a flat on the hardened governor shaft. This flat kept the pulley from loosening on the shaft. Come to think of it, we have not had to tighten the pulley in since.

Last summer, my then 15 year-old son sanded it to its original red color; in fact, it is so beautiful, that I am no longer allowed to use it in the woods!

The following statistical information is thanks to my son Scott's diligent digging:

The Duplex Machinery Corporation in 1936 came out with three models. The no. 1 was a three-wheeled outfit with pneumatic tires and an eight-foot turning radius. The tractor used a four cylinder Waukesha engine and was capable of speeds ranging from 1.4 to 24 mph. The no. 2 was a typical four-wheeled machine weighing approximately 4,075 pounds. This tractor used a six-cylinder Chrysler engine and a Clark transmission. The tractor was estimated to have a high speed of 35 mph. The no. 3 was almost identical to the no. 2, except it used a slightly larger Chrysler engine.

The CO-OP tractor went through three owners, the first being the Duplex Machinery Corporation (1936-1938) and then the COOPERATIVE Co. in 1939, and from 1939 through 1940 the Arturdale Corporation manufactured the CO-OP for a year until they were forced to discontinue the tractor because of the war effort.

P. S.: Can anyone help me with the (large size) spoked flywheel for my 1923 John Deere D/Waterloo-and that's another story!


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