Garden Tractor


Bob Tennant

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We're completing this column in early November, and all of you should have it in your hands before Christmas. Our best wishes to each of you for the Holiday Season, and our highest hopes to each of you for the New Year of 1994! Also our thanks to everyone for their support over the years. It has been a great joy to edit this column...we wish we could thank each of you personally, and please receive this as a very personal note of thanks!

At the moment we're doing some research on the chronology of farm tractor development, and it brings many interesting thoughts to mind. For example, the development of farm power came about first through the steam traction engine, essentially because steam power was developed long before the internal combustion engine. Much of this development work in steam power evolved with the locomotive. Thus came the reverse gear that permitted power in either forward or reverse travel. Differential gearing wasn't applied to driving axles before the 1880s, and early steering gears were a simple adaptation of the common bolster axle. 'Auto-guide' steering developed primarily because of the automobile, and was rarely applied to steam traction engines.

Early tractor development consisted primarily of adapting an internal combustion engine to a steam engine chassis. Yet the tractor was developed in a remarkably short time from a huge, clumsy behemoth to a lightweight and rather refined piece of equipment. The unit frame design first emerged with the Wallis Cub in about 1912 or 1913, and row-crop tractors became a reality with the IHC Farmall in the 1920s. Despite these developments, most farm equipment experts of the 1920s felt that steam power would keep a niche in the overall picture of farm power, but this idea was pretty much discarded by the early 1930s.

About 1906 the book, Self-Propelled Vehicles by Homans noted that it seemed unlikely that pneumatic tires would ever be popular, or even successful. Almost before the book was printed, this notion was proved incorrect, and pneumatic tires were standard equipment for automotive applications. Trucks and heavy equipment were available with pneumatic tires by the 1920s, with the farm tractor following by about 1930. With pneumatic tires, the farm tractor industry was revolutionized. Added to this new option were others that include a power lift system, electric starting, streamlined hood designs, and a comfortable seat.

After World War Two, many new technologies were applied to the American farm tractor. Included were live pto systems, hydraulics, and power steering. Diesel power was making giant strides during the 1930s and 1940s, and emerged as a practical design during the 1950s. By 1970, few farm tractors were built with a gasoline engine, since the diesel now had captured most of the market.

How easy it is to forget that the farm tractor has, in a practical sense, only been on the scene for about eighty years. Compare this to the centuries before when tractor power was nonexistent, and it becomes very obvious that the farm tractor has forever changed the industrialized world!

Our questions this month begin with:

29/1/1 Information Needed Q. Photo 1-A is a garden tractor with the engine inside the drive wheel. This tractor has been sitting in brush and deep muck for over ten years and is very crusted with rust, so I can find no markings on it. Photo 1 -B is a midget crawler with the name KITTY-KAT on the hood. It has a large one-cylinder air cooled engine and a four-way hydraulic blade. It looks like it has a narrowed rear car axle and four-speed transmission. Can anyone provide any information on either of these units? Bob Tennant, PO Box 752, Bay City, MI 48707.

A. Can anyone be of help on either of these?

29/1/2 LeRoi Engine Q. See the photo of a LeRoi two-cylinder engine, Model VRP3, s/n 121847. It needs some parts, so I would like to find information on this engine, along with its original color. John S. Bourquin Sr., Rt 4, Box 307, Elmer, NJ 08318.

A. Can anyone help with a parts listing for this engine, along with other information requested?

29/1/3 Pony Tractor Co. Q. Several years ago an inquiry about these tractors appeared in the Reflections column. I still can't get any info on them. They were made by the Pony Tractor Co. Inc., of Lincoln, Nebraska. I was hoping some new info was available by now. The garden tractor 'books' don't say anything about them either. Can anyone be of help? Bernard Marvel, RR 1, Box 44, Browning, IL 62624.

29/1/4 Harris Power Horse Q. I have become the owner of a Harris Power Horse. The ID plate reads: PH 40 31. I have only seen info on PH 43 and 53. Alan King's What Was That shows the Model 53 as being available in F8W-C, F6W-C, FDW-C and Reverse Model R8W-C.

The one I have is a reverse model which seems to have been built with a six-cylinder Chrysler Industrial engine. It is in need of everything. What I need most is any information I can get on the Harris Power Horse, and this model in particular. Ron Meador, Ironwood Restorations, 2272 Washington St., Niles, MI 49120.

29/1/5 Cauffiel Engine Q. See the photo of a Cauffiel engine. I know it was made in Temperance, Michigan and the plate on it reads Model #000, Type SI, Order #4314, Zenith Carburetor #10390D. Anyone having information on this engine, please write: Bob Broome, 25 Washington St., Mendon, MA 01756-1018.

29/1/6 Unidentified Marine Engine Q. Can anyone identify the marine engine in the picture? The base is all brass, piston is 25/8 x 23/8, and flywheel is 9 inches in diameter x 1 inch face. There is No. 168 on the top edge of the base. There is #238 on the side of the brass I-beam connecting rod. Mr. Ed Holets of Cedar Rapids, Iowa says he has one like it. The original color was green on base and red on cylinder and flywheel. Any information will be appreciated. Chris Bums, 39010 Plum Creek Rd., Osawatomie, KS 66064.

29/1/7 Info Needed Q. I need information on Pincor motors, Lauson air-cooled engines, and some others. I would also like to know if there are any clubs for young engine collectors. Any information will be appreciated. Chris Lublin, 2510Farnsworth, Lapeer, MI48446.

A. Chris is a young collector trying to learn more about the hobby. If you can be of help, kindly do so.

29/1/8 Red-E Garden Tractor Q. See the photo of a Red E garden tractor. I would like to hear from anyone who has one, and especially need information on the steering mechanism, be cause I don't think this one is original. Any information will be appreciated. Ralph R. Ward, 10077 N. Union Rd., Hillsboro, OH 45133.

29/1/9 Emerson Sideshaft Q. See the two photos of an Emerson 5 HP sideshaft. The flyball governor assembly is missing, and the latch-off mechanism. The engine is in reasonably good shape otherwise. I sure would appreciate any help with parts, patterns, dimensions, and paint colors. Please help! Al Hann, 850 Tipperary Rd., Oregon, WI 53575.

A. If you have one of these engines, or further information on one, please contact Mr. Hann at the above address.

29/1/10 Oliver (Fordson) Plow Q. I recently purchased an Oliver (Fordson Type) two-bottom, 14-inch plow. What modern paint number will be correct? What is the model number of this plow? Raymond C. Clark, 135 Bel-Aire Drive, Waukee, IA 50263.

29/1/11 Unknown Companies? Q. See the photo of two items you might find interesting. I am unable to find reference to these companies in American Gas Engines. The brass tag, which I discovered in an antique store, has no numbers stamped on it. The aluminum ashtray speaks for itself. Any ideas? Brad L. Rodenkirch, N2365 Hwy SS, Campbellsport, WI 53010.

29/1/12 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos of an unidentified auto motive engine. It is an L-head design, with exposed rocker arms for one set of valves. It is equipped with dual ignition, with provision for a magneto and a distributor, and has two spark plugs per cylinder. It also has priming cups. There are many missing parts, but I would like to identify the engine , and any information would be greatly appreciated. Woody Sins, 483 Marilyn Drive, Utica, NY 13502.

29/1/13 Bantam Garden Tractor George Ritzi, 1143 E. Road, Brookville, IN 47012 needs information on the Bantam garden tractor. If you can be of help, please contact him.

29/1/14 McLean Garden Tractor Q. See the photo of a McLean garden tractor. A very good article about McLean tractors appeared in the May 1987 GEM. According to that article, my tractor would have been made between 1936-42. Can anyone tell me which model Briggs engine was used? The bolt pattern is the small models N, U, WI, etc. No gear reduction could have been used, as the belt pulley would not align. Any information will be appreciated. Thank you. Tommy Coffey, 200 PowerCir, BoxC64-2, Hudson, NC 28638.

29/1/15 Wisconsin In-Line Q. Would anyone know where I could get information on the following engine: Wisconsin Mine Aircooled, Type AC4, s/n 1329, 25/8 x 3 ' bore/ stroke. See photo of the engine. It must have been used on a pump of some type, as the end of the crank is threaded. Wesley G. Ball Sr., 11239 Alleghany Rd., Forestville, NY 14062.

29/1/16 Galloway Masterpiece Q. I have a Galloway Masterpiece Six gas engine with a s/n of 39967 and would like to know when it was built. Also the date built of an Associated Chore Boy 1 HP engine. Any information would be helpful. Steve Hanuscin & Son, 7 Orange Ct., Longview, TX 75604.

A. The Galloway Masterpiece Six was introduced in 1916, and was probably built until about 1920. The fancy striping on this model made it one of the most attractive Galloway models. Many thousands of the Chore Boy engines were built from about 1913 onward, so there is no precise way to establish a manufacturing date. Both styles are illustrated and described in the book, American Gas Engines.

29/1/17 Cavanaugh & Darley Q. See the photos of a Cavanaugh & Darley 'Red Devil' engine. It is very similar to the artist's rendering shown in American Gas Engines. Instead of a flyball governor on the side shaft, it has a spring-loaded weight under the valve operator cam plate, which must actuate the ignitor lever. Unfortunately, the ignitor is missing. This engine was used on an early Texas ranch with a pump jack to pump water from a well. Older family members remember the engine last operating in the 1930s, using a glass jar battery. Any help in identifying the missing parts, operating scheme, color, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Larry & David Templeton, PO Box 18863, Austin, TX 78760.

A. To our recollection, this is the first time we've seen reference to the Red Devil engine. It is shown on page 85 of American Gas Engines, and to our knowledge, appeared sometime prior to 1903. If anyone has one of these engines, or knowledge of same, kindly contact the Templetons at the above address.

29/1/18 Waterloo Engine Q. I would very much like to identify a Waterloo engine that I have. (See photo). It has a 4 inch piston, with 27-inch flywheels; it was red in color and has 'SUCCESS' written on the water box. It has a clutch pulley and is mounted on a once dark green truck. It looks very close to the GAULT on page 204 of American Gas Engines. Any help with colors, age, or other information will be greatly appreciated. Bill Myers, 9767 E. Inspiration Dr., Parker, CO 80134.

A. Our search of tradenames doesn't provide any information. Can anyone be of help?

29/1/19 Information Needed Q. See the photos of an engine I am restoring. The plate says: Engine No. 11674, 13/4 XK H.P. Any help would be appreciated. Larry D. Jones, 9432 Pluto St., Las Cruces, NM 88012.

A. Your engine was built by Hercules Gas Engine Co., Evansville, Indiana, and we would suggest that it was sold by Sears & Roebuck. Further information is found in Glenn Karch's History of Hercules.

29/1/20 Unusual Case Q. I have found a very unusual Case steam traction engine. There aren't any serial numbers that I can find, and none of the parts have numbers cast into them. The ash pan and draft doors resemble engines made from 1897 to 1900. It has a 5 x 7 inch bore and stroke. The connecting rod is 18 inches long, and the crank disc is 12 inches in diameter. There are thirty 1 inch tubes in the lap seam boiler. In your book, 150 Years of J. I. Case, you mention two 9 horsepower sidecrank traction engines built in 1897. I can't help but wonder if these two were different from the rest. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated. Floyd Schmall, 5523 So. Peach, Fresno, CA 93725.

A. It's entirely possible that your engine is from this period, especially since it is lacking part numbers on the castings. Obviously, if it were a prototype or an experimental model, it wouldn't have had part numbers at this point. Send us some photos, and we'll be happy to put them in the column ... perhaps we'll be able to find some answers.

29/1/21 Unidentified Engine Q. See the three photos of an engine that is so far unidentified, I can get it to fire, but can't get it to run. Any help will be appreciated. Donald J. Phinney, 2106 Blossom Ct., Redondo Beach, CA 90278.

29/1/22 Rawleigh-Schryer Q. See the photo of an engine with the following nameplate information: Built for Canadian Stover Gasoline Engine Co., Brandon, (Manitoba) By Rawleigh Schryer Co., Freeport, Ill. No. AA15635, 1 HP. Any information would be appreciated. Clyde Alexander, Star Rt 2, Box 80, Leopold, IN 47551.

A. Compare your engine to the Rawleigh on page 408 of American Gas Engines. We think you'll see the similarity.

29/1/23 Deere Problems Q. Regarding a John Deere 1 HP engine: I replaced all the gaskets, but cannot seem to stop it from blowing oil around the magneto cover. I was wondering if there was supposed to be some sort of seal around the magneto gear. This one is of the earlier type with no crankcase vent. Is there a home remedy? Second, this engine has very low compression, but still runs well. I have installed new rings, but how long will it take them to seat?

I also have some questions about the New Way engine in the photo. It is a 3 HP, but doesn't have the hinged crankcase. It also has an American Bosch magneto, and a different type of fuel mixer. The paint is too good to strip off and repaint. How can I clean it without harming the old finish? Is there any way to date this engine? I know there are a lot of the Model A, Type C engines out there, but I haven't seen many of this type, and would like to hear from others having this particular model. Any and all help will be appreciated. Mac Macomber, 510 Plain Hill Rd., Norwich, CT 06360.

A. We'll leave the oil problems to the John Deere aficionados, since they've probably found a solution. The rings should seat rather quickly provided the cylinder bore is clean and straight . . . and if the rings were properly fitted. Compression will never improve if the rings are sloppy in the grooves . . . most ring leakage is usually under the rings rather than over the top. Personally, we only allow about half a thousandth of ring gap per inch of diameter when fitting rings to a hit-and-miss engine, and perhaps a little extra gap for the top ring. If the bore is tapered, it's virtually impossible to get the rings to seat, and we always fit the rings to the grooves so that the new ring will fit about as snug as one would pull a mike over a shaft. When the machining marks wear off, there'll be a little extra clearance.

29/1/24 Rockwell Keystone Engine Q. See the photos of a 3 HP Rockwell Keystone, two-cycle engine. I have never seen anything on this company. Does any one have one, or know anything about them? Any information will be appreciated. Larry Hughes, 12403 - 34th Ave., Ta-coma, WA 98446.

29/1/25 Ignition Voltage Q. On page 29 of Gas Engine Guide published by Stemgas, the following appears:

For ordinary ignition purposes a battery made up of from four to six cells is sufficient. A larger number of cells will give a hotter flame, but the action is so intense that it will injure the contact points of the ignitor,  causing them to wear rapidly and become pitted.

It is my understanding that the early Edison-Lalande wet cells produced about .7 volts per cell. It would seem, from the author's recommendation, that the optimum would be 2.8 to 4.2 volts. My question is whether we are missing something when we fire our ignitors with 12 volt motorcycle batteries, and possibly subject our careful restorations to unnecessary stress and wear from excessive voltage. John A. Lorch, 100 West St., Bolton, CT 06043.

A. Ordinary dry cells, as formerly used, were 1 volts. That would give from 6 to 9 volts, and it is our belief that the ordinary dry cell was the reference in this case. Also, many of the old battery boxes were made to hold from 4 to 6 cells, again reinforcing this belief. Added to this, the Model T Ford system, using the Ford vibrator coils, ran up as high as 18 volts, depending on the engine speed. Although 6 volts is quite sufficient for many of the low compression engines, it falls short on higher compression models such as the Cushman. We learned that our 8 HP Cushman wouldn't pull a load very well when on a good load, using a six-volt battery. Changing to 12 volts eliminated the problems. Personally, ye olde Reflector has no qualms about using a 12 volt battery for engine ignition.

29/1/26 Bean Engine Q. I have a 4 HP Bean engine built by Bean Spray Pump Co. I am looking for information on hooking the radiator up and any other information I can find. Also can anyone tell me the age; the s/n is 2660. Wayne Rogers, 10076 Quail Run Road, Tyler TX 75709-9761.

29/1/27 Information Needed Q. I have a Hercules engine, 31880L, 1 H horsepower. Can anyone tell me the year, and other information on this model. Also, I have a Beaver tractor, product of Baird of Stratford, Connecticut. Any information on this tractor would be appreciated. Richard Patz, 5565 Seneca St., West Seneca, NY 14224.

A. Regarding the Hercules, we suggest A History of Hercules by Glenn Karch, also referred to previously in this column. We have no information on the Beaver.

29/1/28 Information Needed Robert K. Selby, 1208 Ritsch Ct., Modesto, CA 95351 needs information on the following engines, especially regarding paint colors, horsepower, and date of manufacture: LeRoi, #64379, Cushman Cub R20, 3 HP, Sears-Roebuck Type 60083, Model Y, Briggs & Stratton, Model FH, Briggs & Stratton, Model A

29/1/29 F-M Chainsaw Q. I recently acquired a chain saw with the Fairbanks-Morse logo. It was manufactured by Strunk Equipment Co., Coatesville, Pa. Any information will be appreciated. Lyndon Samuel, 3517 Moorland Rd., Minnetonka, MN 55345.

A. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, F-M had a penchant for associated product lines. Included were chain saws, lawn mowers, and even flash lights! These associated lines were built to F-M specs and carried the F-M logo, but of course, were acquired from other manufacturers. Very little information on some of these products remains in the F-M files, and in fact, an occasional product looms up for which the company has no information whatever. By the early 1950s the company took a new look at its sales efforts, and eliminated these products, along with many items of its own manufacture.

29/1/30 Rumely Information NeededScott Thompson, Rumely Collector's News, 12109 Mennonite Church Rd., Tremont, IL 61568 writes:

For some time now, I have been trying to amass as much information as possible on the old M. Rumely and Advance-Rumely companies as possible, before it's too late. Very little has survived, as records were largely destroyed, reportedly as late as 1985, when Deutz took over Allis-Chalmers. Any records or memories of dealerships, branch offices, employees, and equipment in the field would be very much appreciated.

I'm interested in getting material on OilPull tractors, steam engines, gas engines, threshers, and machinery. I'd also like recollections of the people who built and farmed with them. I would urge other collectors to do the same for other lines as well, before all these old tales are lost to the passage of time. We still have folks around who worked for these companies, as well as with the equipment; talk about your national treasures! If you younger guys know of such a person, please talk to him before it's too late. It will be an enjoyable experience for both of you.

Let's make sure as much as possible of our fleeting farm history is preserved in print today, for tomorrow will surely be too late.

29/1/31 Chapman Engine Q. Can anyone provide information on a Chapman 2 HP engine from Chapman Engine & Mfg. Co. Ltd., Dundas Ontario. It was built for the Ontario Wind Engine & Pump Co. Ltd. I would like to correspond with anyone having one of these engines. John H. Harding, 92 Braden Cir NW, Calgary, ALTA T2L1N3 Canada.

29/1/32 Standard Twin Q. The Standard Twin garden tractor in the forefront of the photo was a recent restoration. I also have a Viking Garden Tractor made by Allied Motors Corporation. All were built in Minneapolis. What distinguished the Viking from my other two was the lack of a governing system, and forged steel handle bars instead of the tubular type used on the Standard Twin. Is there a link between the Standard Twin and the Viking tractors? Also the Bready tractor? Any help would be appreciated. Paul Server, RR9, Box 463, Greensburg, PA 15601.

29/1/33 Red-E Tractor Q. I recently purchased a Red-E garden tractor s/n 2984, and got a parts tractor in addition. Now that I have enough to make one good tractor, I would like to find a picture, and/or literature of an original. Any help will be appreciated. Glen R. Swenson, Spider Lake, HCR1, Box82T, Marcell, MN 56657.

29/1/34 Unidentified Engine Q. See the two photos of a recent acquisition. It has a 3 inch bore and a stroke of about 5 inches. There are traces of green paint, and the flywheels are 17 inches. Note the unique 'W' cast into the crank cover. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Jim Beauchamp, 27855 W. California, Lathrup Village, MI 48076.

29/1/35 Thanks! from Thomas E. Gipson 202 Mary Sharp Dr., Decherd, TN 37324 to everyone who responded to his letter (28/10/8) regarding his Standard Mon arch garden tractor.

Readers Write

28/10/3 Homelite This is a Homelite 2-cycle engine. These engines were usually used for generator or pump duty. Military units usually used shielded ignition to pre vent sparks. The internal governor was usually set at 1800 rpm. The fuel to oil ratio is 16:1. The unit pictured is missing its muffler . . . don't run it without one, or early piston failure will result.

28/5/29 I have received some answers to my query on a generator outfit built by U.S. Motors and my recent article written for GEM, page 26 of the October 1993 issue.

U.S. Motors did marine conversions to Briggs & Stratton aircooled and water cooled engines. From the literature I received, it would appear that they built quite a few outfits, from marine outdrives to winches to generators, to name a few. It appears that they have mated a Hercules B x B 6.6 HP engine to the Kurz & Root generator in my case. From information I have received the Hercules Engine Co. is still in business, but I have received no information on Kurz & Root. U.S. Motors itself was apparently in business in 1947. Any more info on these companies would be appreciated. Many thanks to Tom Sherry, Gary Pegelow, and Roy Nagel for their help. Andrew K. Mackey, 26 Mott PL, Rockaway, NJ 07866.

28/11/20 Starbuck Engine I would think that the Starbuck engine came from the Starbuck Foundry in Troy, New York. That was a nineteenth century operation which produced a wide variety of iron products. The New York State Museum, from which I write, has a Starbuck plow in its collection. You might check Rensselaer County histories for information about the company. Perhaps the Rensselaer County Historical Society, 59 Second St., Troy, NY 12180 might have some data. Geoffrey N. Stein, Associate Curator, History, New York State Museum, 3097 Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230.

28/10/13 Maytag Washer Parts Several people wrote with names and addresses of people who might have NOS Maytag washer parts: M. S. Eubank Jr., Route 2, Box 374, Gordonsville, VA 22942 Wehrheim Mercantile, 211 S 5th St., Baldwin, IL 62217-0126 Larry Benton, PO Box 336, Monroe, IA 50170 Ron Schaffer, 1054 Northampton, Easton, PA 18042

Modelmakers Corner

Photo MM-1 is a 1/3 scale Associated Hired Man (Breisch castings) built by members of the St. Croix Valley Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association.

Photo MM-2 is a Cole's hit-and-miss engine with screen cooling built by Ed Longhenry, 15150 Old Guslander Tr. R, Marine-on-St. Croix, MN 55047.

In MM-3 we see a Lil' Brother engine (Paul Breisch Casting) with 41/8 inch flywheels.

Photos MM-4 and MM-5 are a 1/6th scale of a Letz burr mill. It is made of brass. The flywheel is cast iron and the shaft is drill rod. This model grinds rice and bird seed.

The Li'l Brother and the Letz mill were built by William G. Miller, 404 - 27th St. NW, Great Falls, MT 59404. The little girl holding the burr mill in MM-3 is his granddaughter Sara..

A Closing Word

We keep going through the many photos we took while in England last summer. A special highlight was the Tatton Park 1000 Engine Ralley. In the photo, 29/1/36, ye olde Reflector is alongside some of the Juffers family from Holland. They brought up their 10 horsepower Stickney engine to the ralley. This superbly restored engine was purchased from Lyle Dumont at Sigourney, Iowa.

We're also happy to report that Wade Farm Tours is bringing a group of Britons to the U.S. next June and July for the John Deere Expo, and numerous other stops. We'll be hosting them here at the world famous Amana Colonies on July 14th. We look forward to ac cording them the same kind of hospitality which was shown to us when the GEM Gas Engine Extravaganza was in England this past summer.

That's all for this time . . . Happy Holidays!