A Brief Word

Fordson crane


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There are always some interesting and fascinating things happening in this great hobby of ours. For instance, a year ago I was attending a printer's convention in St. Louis. At their annual swap meet, someone had several different Fordson tractor photographs. Some of these were rather ordinary, but then a few are of some extraordinary models. We bought the photos, and have waited, to these many months for the opportunity to use them. Photo 27/9/A illustrates a Fordson Industrial model pulling two large loads of material. A placard is mounted over the hood of the Fordson, but it is illegible. Photo 27/9/B shows a heavy duty crane attached to a Fordson industrial model. Note the drive system operated from the pulley output housing. The buzz saw outfit in 27/9/C sure wasn't a Fordson original, but it does demonstrate one of the practical uses for the Fordson. This outfit must have been owned by a commercial sawyer... it is equipped with headlights for night (or early morning) travel, and also carries a license plate.

We have no idea of where these photos were taken of course, but 27/9/D illustrates the front of the Fordson Industrial model. The hard rubber tires, especially the rears, show a lot of wear, and the heavy-duty grille was probably essential in this particular factory. The large cast iron rear wheels provided extra traction for the Fordson Industrial model of 27/9/E, but the most mysterious photo of the lot is the following one: 27/9/F. We would guess this to be a special high-clearance model, as evidenced by the large diameter rear wheels. Perhaps some of the Fordson tractor folks can shed more light on this series.

Thirty years ago, all of us who were, then in the hobby thought that within a few years, we'd have all the essential data gathered, and there wouldn't be a whole lot to write about. In fact, when we completed our first book some twenty years back, it seemed incredible to suppose that we would be writing books on engines and tractors in 1992, much less having numerous projects sitting on the back burner, awaiting their turn.

There's no doubt that the computer age has been a catalyst in the so-called information revolution, even as it applies to our hobby. For instance, when it comes to indexing and similar duties that once required many, many hours of work, it's now as simple as keying in the information and letting the computer do the work of sorting and alphabetizing the information. All this works fine until the computer hangs up. Like that favorite engine that runs fine at home, and turns up balky at a show, so also with the computer. Every so often they cough, and just like our vintage engines and tractors, it takes some tender care to get things going again. Thus it was, as we sat down to compile this particular column in early July. For reasons unknown, some files got messed up, and after spending several hours (days) at the machine, it was a tiny problem that took about thirty seconds to cure.

We recently acquired another copy of the Road Builder's Directory ... this one of 1927 vintage. These books are most interesting, particularly in the early years. However, like most of the older literature, the prices always seem to be sufficiently high . ..

By the time this copy is in your hands, we'll be at the peak of the annual show season. We're hoping to see you at a few of them yet this year. And our final word ... we're working on the possibilities of an 'engine tour' of England for 1993. It's too early to know yet what can be done, how much it will cost, or even whether the tour will be limited to a certain number of persons. However, if any of you would have a definite interest in an 'engine tour' of England, we'll be' glad to hear from you. Our questions this month begin with:

27/9/1 Magnet Chargers Q. Can anyone tell me the number of turns, and the amperes required for a good magnet charger, as well as the size of wire it takes? What are the Maytag spark coils covered with? It looks like tar and cloth. Also, what size wire is used, and how many turns on primary and secondary of the two-cylinder and one-cylinder engines? Also, is there any way to check old condensers? Charles A. Schott, 1202 Flippin Dr., Lafayette, Tennessee 37083.

A. The magnetic output of any electromagnet is derived solely from the power going into it. Oftentimes, this is referred to as ampere-turns. For instance, a 3,000 amp-turn charger is designed so that if there are say, 3,000 total turns, then the amperage would technically be 1 amp. If there were but two turns, the current would technically be 1,500 amps. In other words, it requires considerable calculation to determine the size of wire and the number of turns required. Ye olde Reflector cut teeth in the electrical business, and about thirty years ago, we got the pregnant idea of building a magnet charger. It was just so-so, but we found it was nothing at all compared to an Allen charger with a good battery behind it. Then we came up with a big Weidenhoff charger using the Tungar bulb rectifier, and eventually our homemade outfit and the Allen ended up at a swap meet someplace or other. We can't advise you regarding the magneto coils or other information on the Maytag questions. Makeshift condenser testers are seldom adequate. Commercial testers are much better, and can often be found at garage auctions and the like.

27/9/2 Reo Information Needed Q. Can anyone help me with information on a Reo reel-type push mower? I would like to know the correct factory colors of paint for the mower and the engine. I would also like to know the year in which this mower was made. I am including model and serial numbers of both mower and engine. Any information would be helpful, as would be info on the availability-of restoration decals. The mower is Model WE21, s/n 46801; the motor is Model 211, Type El, s/n 47142. Linus Grathwohl, RR 4, Box 98A, New Ulm, Minnesota 56073.

A. Would some of the Reo enthusiasts please contact this reader?

27/9/3 Pickering Governor Co.? Q. Is the Pickering Governor Company, Portland, Connecticut still in existence? Duane Caldwell, 512 W. Madison, Owensville, Missouri 65066.

A. Does anyone know? If so, please share it with us!

27/9/4 Novo Diaphragm Pump Q. See the two photos of a Novo diaphragm pump. The only nameplate says: 'This Diaphragm pump complies with A. G.C. (Associated General Contractors) standards. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Jim Bush, 8127 Incline Rd., Russellville, Ohio 45168.

A. We would suggest that this is actually a Novo-built unit, since Novo made a big business of pumping engines. It may have been painted the usual Novo green, or it may have been finished in bright yellow, orange, or some of the other industrial colors.

27/9/5 Restoration Methods Q. I would like to see more in GEM regarding restoration methods. It would be helpful for me and other would-be restorers. Some areas that could be covered are: freeing up seized engines, testing and adjusting magnetos, painting, including preparation and finishing, rebuilding parts and possible ideas on making missing parts.

Also, what is the year built of a 2 HP Witte engine, s/n 50248? G. D. Arbeider, 2716 E. 49th Ave., Vancouver, B. C. , V5S 1Kl, Canada.

A. GEM welcomes any and all articles pertaining to the various aspects of engine and tractor restorations, and we encourage you to send them over to us. The Witte engine was built October 29, 1920.

27/9/6 IHC Type M Question Q. I have an IHC 6 HP Type M engine of 1919 vintage, It was red when I got it, and I would like to know whether it should be painted red or green. Francis Kurds ,618 Anderson Rd., Niles, Michigan 49120.

A. First, we suggest getting under the red to see if it has been repainted. Down under the cylinder and other hidden spots are a good place to look. There's also the possibility that this engine might have been used as OEM equipment and that it actually came from the factory with red paint. More and more, we find that not all the IHC Type M engines were green, although this still remains the exception to the rule. If some of our continuing research works out, perhaps we'll have some better answers to questions on the IHC engines.

27/9/7 John Deere Crawler Tractors Q. Does anyone know where I can purchase books or literature on the John Deere crawlers, such as the MC, 40, and 420-C? Also, are there any parts books available for these tractors? Any information will be appreciated. John Bergman, 412 E. McMillan Ave., Newberry, Michigan 49868.

A. Can anyone help Mr. Bergman?

27/9/8 Cleveland Farmgrader Q. These two photos are of a Cleveland Farm grader that I recently located. It has a six-cylinder Hercules engine. The left rear wheel does the pulling by means of an open gear inside the wheel, like the older steam tractors used. And instead of a grader blade underneath, it has an auger that is driven by the right axles. The right wheel is not a pulling wheel. Any information such as when these were made, original colors, etc., would be appreciated. James H. Osborn, Route 2, Box 65-I, Yazoo City, Mississippi 39194.

A. Now here's an interesting piece ... can anyone be of help?