Cletrac Model F crawler


Content Tools

What's New

In all walks of life we constantly hear about some new and exciting development, whether it be cars, tractors, or toilet paper. Now right off the top, we'll concede that there are a lot of new and exciting things happening, and many of these are truly new and original. Witness the computer revolution. However, we take exception to some of the claims we see and hear. For example:

We recently came across a couple of photos illustrating the Cletrac Model F crawler. Now this little machine was announced about 1919. Take a closer look and notice the overhead drive sprocket. We're not sure how well it worked, but the point is that the overhead drive principle isn't new at all, despite some recent claims to the contrary. Chances are that the use of slides instead of conventional front and rear idlers was a disadvantage to the design. Then too, the materials available to the market at that time were simply not developed as they are today. Thus, for various reasons, this design probably was not a roaring success.

A look at Photo REF-2 shows the back of this little Cletrac model. Note the use of an automotive style rear axle housing. This too was a radical departure from the accepted designs of the period. In fact, the Wallis tractor of 1919 was one of the few which had boasted a totally enclosed rear axle for any length of time. Of course, in this same time frame, Henry Ford came along with his cast iron marvel called the Fordson, and International responded with their 15-30 Gear Drive tractor.

In the 1940's, the Cletrac was equipped with rubber tracks. Only a few of these machines were built because no one was able to provide rubber tracks that would stand up to everyday work. Eventually these problems were solved, and today's market indeed has a crawler tractor with rubber tracks. So again, what's really new? Now before you start writing unkind letters to the effect that we are putting people down, we aren't! What we are trying to do is to get our readers to take a closer look at their old' iron and then make some of their own comparisons. We think you will find that whether it's some feature from an old engine, from an old tractor, or perhaps some long antiquated piece of equipment, you will begin to see features that go back many decades. Oh that we could do so well!

We also ran across an advertisement for a combination engine-air compressor. This advertisement from August 1910 shows the machine to have been built by Oscar M. Bergstrom at Minneapolis. Priced at $95, it included the battery, coil, and fifty feet of air hose. Note that this ad claims that 'two cents' worth of gasoline will inflate from twenty to fifty tires, depending on size.' Has anyone come across one of these units? See Photo REF-3.

The Reflector can get by reading German, but we're completely lost in Spanish. However, we came across some nice illustrations from a J.I. Case catalog in the Spanish language. Apparently this catalog was for the South American trade, and there are indications that Case did indeed ship large numbers of their tractors and implements to South American countries. The catalog puts its greatest emphasis on the little 10-18 tractor, so it seems logical that this model was promoted more than perhaps the larger sizes. Photo REF-4 shows a Case 10-18 pulling a potato digger somewhere in South America.

We begin with:

25/11/1 Brockway Tractor Q. I've been collecting gas engines for about eight years, and I recently acquired my first tractor, a Brockway. Does anyone out there have any further information than is contained in Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors?

How many Brockway tractors were built, and how many still exist? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Henry A. Macomber III, 202 Paper-mill Rd., Baltic, CT 06330.

A. We've never come across any further information on Brockway other than that already noted in the tractor encyclopedia. However, it sure is a safe bet that there are not very many around, since they were not on the market any great length of time. The Brockway was built at Bedford, Ohio for a couple of years, ending about 1951.

25/11/2 Fisherman Special Q. See the photo of an engine called The Fisherman Special. It was built by Lorane & Trask Eng'gCo., Baltimore, MD. This is a four-cycle design, and the cam has a two-position lift. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Roy V. Isom, 2196S. W. Locks Rd., Stuart, FL 34997.

A. The two-position cam is perhaps a compression release system for starting the engine. Other than that, we've never heard of this company before.

25/11/3 Gas Tank SealerBack in July GEM, Jack Mulford sent us some information on gas tank sealers. We incorrectly quoted Jack's letter, so here it is:

The advertisement I sent you was for a gas tank sealer. Clean the tank as per instructions. Slosh liquid material around inside the tank, covering all areas. Let it dry. It puts a flexible coat on inside of tank, sealing off varnish and rust. It fills small pin holes. IT WORKS! Years ago I couldn't drive my 1909 Cadillac more than 10 miles before the inside of outlet on gas tank plugged up with stuff. A wire up the drain cock cleared it. I put in sloshing compound, and no more problems. I use it in all my antique tractors and engines. The stuff was developed for aircraft. Jack Mulford, Lodi, NY 14860.

Note: Several GEM advertisers carry this material, and it is also available from numerous commercial sources.

25/11/4 Stover Q. See the photo of a Stover KE engine in very bad shape. It has a 31/8 x 3? bore and stroke. Any help or information on this engine will be greatly appreciated. David Myers, HC 75, Box 2476, Camp Verde, AZ 86322.

A. If you can be of help, contact Mr. Myers.

25/11/5 E-B 12-20 Tractors Q. We have three E-B J 2-20 tractors in the U.K. at the moment; the oldest is a 12-20 Model Q that actually took part in the 1919 Lincoln & Edinburgh trials and has been in the Hunday Tractor Museum for several years now. The other two are imports that have come in for preservation. The first, '34715,' was imported about twelve years ago, and the second, '32811,' is near enough identical to the 12-20 AA except that it does not have the throttle or magneto levers on the steering column under the steering wheel. Instead they are mounted inside the left hand fender. There are also other differences, but are these two tractors actually different models of the 12-20, or are they both versions of the AA model? Can these tractors be dated from the serial numbers? Any information will be greatly appreciated. Henry Roskilly, Hillside, Peter Tavy, Tavistock, Devon PL19 9LY, England.

A. Offhand, we would suggest that the changes indicated above, and others you mention in your letter, are part of an evolutionary process. This seems to have been taking place during the transition from the Model Q to the Model AA. Since there are no serial number listings available, and since this information may or may not show up in advertising literature, perhaps someone has done some in-depth research in this area. Our own research had been inconclusive. It appears that there were some transitional tractors, but they seem to have retained the Model Q designation until the Model AA took official status.

25/11/6 OMC Engine Q. I am restoring the engine-generator unit in the photo. It is a Model PU-5008/U, s/n 600291, manufactured by Outboard Marine & Mfg. Co. of Canada Ltd. Any service information would be appreciated. Kenneth Sulkowski, 29725 Moulin, Warren, MI48093.

25/11/7 Jacobsen Engine See the photo of my restored 1929 Jacobsen engine. I acquired it via a GEM classified ad about a week after another reader wrote in trying to identify some type of engine. After contacting him and doing some research, I found out that this engine was originally from a special golf green mower and actually got a copy of the manual from Jacobsen. The engine stands about 18 inches high, displaces 11 cu. in., has throttle control with external valves, and an atmospheric intake valve. Since this photo, I have mounted it on a wood frame as a stationary engine. Any questions, please contact Jesse Brumberger, 59 Lone Oak, Penfield, NY 14526

25/11/8 Novo RollR Engine Please first let me thank all those who helped me out with information on my Novo RollR (roller bearing) engine. By studying photocopies of parts lists I was able to fabricate the parts missing and complete another restoration. See the photo.

The engine is a Novo RollR Bearing engine, No. C.W. 66614, Model CW 66, 3? x 4 inch bore and stroke, 8-11 HP, at 1200 to 1800 r.p.m. Approximate year is 1940-45.

The unit which it powers is a Goldfields 420 Type screw feed diamond drill built in Melbourne in the late 1940's for exploration work on the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme which began in 1949.

There were only fifteen of these units built, and as far as I can make out this is the only one that has survived the scrappies' sledge hammer. After the Snowy scheme was finished the rig was purchased by a relative and used on his farm to sink water wells. Water was found, but due to the inexperience of the operators and the unsuitability of this type of rig with 17/8 drill pipe drilling six inch wells in unstable ground, most of the drill pipe was lost. The owners then decided that the winch would be ideal for pulling down trees and old power poles but this resulted in the tower being completely wrecked so the rig was left in the paddock to rust until I rescued it in 1986.

Restoration involved a complete pull down of all parts, sandblast and prime, rebuild worn parts, replace all roller and ball bearings, rebore and resleeve engine, new rings, valves. The last parts for the engine were for the governor and the whole unit was reassembled and painted and finished in early 1990. D. J. Barbary, 19 Quota Drive, West Wyalong 2671, New South Wales, Australia.

25/11/9 United Engine Q. Clarence Martin, RR 1, Box 346, Calhoun, TN 37309 needs information on a 6 HP United hit & miss engine. If you can help, contact Mr. Martin directly at the above address.

25/11/10 IHC Mogul Q. Is there a listing of IHC Mogul serial numbers? John P. Lapp, 33 Reifsnyder Rd., Lititz, PA 17543.

A. GEM published a listing of the Mogul serial numbers in 1985 (June issue), but we have seen no other listing. (This back issue of GEM is available from Stemgas, PO Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603 for $3.50 postpaid.)

25/11/11 Kewanee Engine Q. See the photo of an engine built by Kewanee Private Utilities Company. I am particularly interested in the operation of what appears to be a pressure sensor which interrupts the spark and is located immediately behind the air bulb on the pumping unit. Any other information, including the proper color, will also be appreciated. William C. Schwartz, 122 Ormsby Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15210.