20 Years Ago


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Reminiscing Gas Engine Magazine 

The most interesting bit of information in the March 1986 issue of GEM was a seemingly small, unimportant article about a "junk pile tractor," put together by a 91-year-old man. The tractor, had an upright Nova 5-1/2 HP engine with a radiator and fan for cooling, roller bearings on the main crankshaft, side channels from a Ford car frame, a narrowed Studebaker rear axle, rear wheels from an Oldsmobile, a Chevrolet 4-speed pickup transmission, a front axle from a Ford Model T car and the steering gear from an old Chevrolet car. What is more amazing than all of this, however, is that Harry Warren, the creator of this tractor, was 80 when he began putting it together!

The tractor was used for many years and driven by many grand- and great-grandchildren. In the article, Harry said the 4-speed transmission gave a range of 1 to 12 MPH. It had liquid in the tires, and could spin the tires in the lower gears, so they could pull quite a load.

Harry also reminisced about seeing his first gas engine (his grandfather's) in 1900 when he was 5 years old. He was in his teens before he ever saw an automobile. He said in the article, " ... always having wheels in my head, I?did troubleshooting on stationary engines, tractors, automobiles and also built radios and repaired them for many, many years."

Another point of interest was an article on the Linn Mfg. Co. by C.H. Wendel. Though not necessarily about engines, there was a great photo of a Linn tractor pulling a train of logging sleds. What a sight that would have been to see!

There is also a fun point to notice in the editor's letter. Gerry Lestz notes that the 1986 Steam and Gas Show Directory, now known as the Farm Collector Show Directory, set a record with 476 shows entered that year. It is crazy to compare the current show directory 20 years later, which contains 1,421 entries for shows!

Here's hoping we all have the energy of Harry Warren at age 91. See you next month for more reminiscing and more fun!