Crabb vs 'Craff '

TOM THUMB engine

Courtesy of Robert Helstedt, 432 20th St. N.W., Minot, North Dakota 58701

Robert Helstedt

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1615 San Francisco St., San Antonio, Texas 78201

(Due to an overflowing influx of out-of-town and out-of state house guests who scrambled in for the last couple of weeks of the San Antonio World's Fair so as to beat the closing date, Mr. Krueger had to drop his good intentions of having the following story ready for the Nov-Dec. issue. We're happy he could spend time with his friends in this manner and we can still enjoy his comments at this time - Anna Mae)

The entire contents of this writing refers to portions of the Sept.-Oct. 1968 GEM; so, follow readers, you might get that copy out and have it ready. I am aware my knowledge on the early-day internal-combustion engines is very meager in comparison to the vast number of engines built by so many hundreds of builders in those days; and, limiting my field to only the one-cylinder farm-engine-class at that! So, in writing, I'm not trying to belittle anyone of you in the least; my writing is only to offer you what bits of information I may have to help you with, and to help keep the record straight.

Top picture, on page 29, somehow got its engine-title mixed-up in printing or deciphering; anyhow that engine, posing there with Fred, is quite a rare engine, I'd say, it is a CRABB engine, built by the CRABB GAS ENGINE CO., West Union, Iowa. Their advertisement goes on to stale there is 'no need to buy three engines, because the speed of the CRABB can be varied from 150 to 500 rpm., giving the engine 1-? to 5 hp.' The CRABB also uses the cheapest kerosene successfully, it is claimed. Several years ago, I personally corresponded with Mr. Crabb about his engines; but sad to say, I couldn't locate his correspondence in time for this writing. I save all my engine correspondence; so, when I relocate it, I'll let GEM publish any of the interesting facts or features that he wrote me about.

On page 2, in Anna Mae's SMOKE RINGS section is her note that Jeff Cain is wondering how come JAEGER engines are practically identical to the ECONOMY engines. The name JAEGER on these engines come about by the JAEGER MACHINE CO., Columbus, Ohio. They build concrete-mixers; and for power, they selected the HERCULES engines, built by the HERCULES GAS ENGINE CO., Evansville, Ind.; later, the company-name was changed to HERCULES PRODUCTS, INC., same city. The point is, HERCULES builds engines for both, the JAEGER CO.; and for Sears-Roebuck, whose engine was named the ECONOMY, as was listed in days gone by. As most of you readers have gathered by now, HERCULES sold their engines in quantity to several manufacturers, as did other major engine builders. WITTE engines, of around 1925, is one make I haven't written GEM about heretofore. Unless one knows the WITTE of that year, you couldn't tell by the name given the WITTE by the Southern Implement Supply Co., Dallas, Texas, wholesaler's only. Here the original WITTE is called the DALTEX, altho it is a WITTE engine. Have any of you collectors ever rescued a DALTEX? This company states, 'DALTEX throttling governor kerosene, gasoline, distillate, and gas, engines are manufactured for them, under their own trademark, by one of the largest, oldest, and best known engine manufacturers in the U.S.', referring to the WITTE. The DALTEX all-fuel engines were listed in sizes 2 to 25 hp., single-cylinder, horizontal, But not all manufacturing companies admit the engines they purchase in quantity are built FOR them and not BY them.

This 1929 Model L Case was dead when I got it, but not completely buried. So, I brought it back to life. It took another L Case to get this one in top shape. It is gray with red wheels and runs like a bumble bee in a gallon jug.

In the lower right-hand corner of page 2, under COVER PICTURE, it says, 'Can be seen a few of the large steam-engines at the show'. Just for the fun of it, I find seven gas & oil tractors, and part of the rear-wheel of the eighth tractor. That cover-picture is a dandy, very good contrast. Let's take the back row, L to R, Aultman-Taylor 30-60; Twin City '40'; believe 15-30 (or 18-35) type 'F' l-cyl., Oil-Pull; large-size OilPull 'Lite-weight', perhaps, 25-45, 30-50, 30-60, or 40-60 hp. Front row, L to R, 10-20 McCor-mick-Deering (?), McCormick-Deering W-30, and, John Deere 'GP' 10-20. Just straight beyond the 'GP' steering-wheel is something of a smoke-stack, something like a Russell steamer's top for a stack; that may be where a steam-engine is parked!? Oh well, I've never been there; what do 1 know?

On page 8 is a photo of a MeCormick-Deering tractor, that for all I can see, it is a 10-20; not a 15-30. Cheer up, Dick Somerville, no ill-will meant at all! I'm glad you rescued such a good looking, well built tractor. Your article, A MUSEUM VISIT, is a dandy, you put plenty of details into that write-up!

The lower picture on page 11 shows a nice view of a DAVENPORT oil engine; I don't believe I ever heard of that engine. I took note of the sentence. 'It fires under compression'. With due credit, and congratulations, to the writer, Ray Christenson, I just want to elaborate a little, in that all gas & oil engines fire under compression, if in good working adjustment. What the writer means here, I'm sure, is that the fuel-air mixture in the cylinder is fired by the heat of compression, using no other means of ignition. It operates on the BRONS; or HVID; cycle, and it it not strictly the DIESEL cycle. The difference lies in the method of the fuel admission, and the time during the cycle that the fuel is admitted. Yes, Ray, you are correct in that the DAVENPORT shown is similar to the Sears THERMOIL engine; and, here again, the THERMOIL is built for Sears by Hercules.

Now let s look at the nice pictures of the LaCROSSE HAPPY FARMER tractors on pages 3 and 15. On page 3, Amos Stauffer has a very complete story on the HAPPY FARMER tractor. Art Dickey, on page 15, has a nice, rare, model M 6-12 hp. LaCROSSE, with its 4x6 twin engine, at 1000 rpm., equipped with the line-drive. Only change for his published picture would be to change the year. The model M was built from. 1920 to 1923-24; or when the Company folded up. If 1 had more free time, I'd like to dig a little deeper on the LaCROSSE HAPPY FARMER. But now, as far as I have gone, I seem to gather the HAPPY FARMER 8-16 model A was built 1916 to 1918, using 5 inch motor. The HAPPY FARMER 12-24 model B was built 1917 to 1918 using a 5? inch motor. Models A and B were then built by the Happy Farmer Tractor Co., in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Then the LaCrosse Tractor Co. was organized in early 1917, which Company then absorbed the Happy Farmer Tractor Co., of Minneapolis, Minn., and the Sta-Rite Engine Co., of La Crosse, Wis. Even in 1917, while their offices still were in Minneapolis, the Company stated the model B 12-24 tractor, selling at so & so price, 'Fob La Crosse, Wis.' Their general offices had been completely moved to La Crosse, Wis., before the end of 1917. The 1917 prices, F.O.B., were $585.00, and $735.00, respectively, for the models A and B.

About the time they were moved to LaCrosse, the Company was pushing the production of the model B. The La Crosse 12-24 model F, a 3-wheeler, with 6x7 750 rpm. motor, was built 1918 to 1921. The 12-24 model G, the new 4-wheeler, was ready for delivery Jan. 1, 1919; it was built 1919 to 1924, or when the Company folded up. The model G could also be equipped with the line-drive; some of you may recall it was this new model G that made the little 300 mile overland trip from Alton, Feb. 10, 1919, pulling two heavy wagons containing fuel and oil supplies for the tractor, and living provisions for the two men, who drove and manned the interesting undertaking. The tractor, in this case, was driven by lines from the seat of the forward wagon. This publicity stunt was conceived by J.H. Cordes, distributor for the La Crosse Tractor Co. in eastern Missouri and southern Illinois. This was probably the most interesting trip over then undertaken with a tractor as motive power; the outfit was expected to arrive in Kansas City in time for the opening of the National Tractor Show, which was held there the week of Feb. 24.

The news media made a big splash about the foregoing; but, do any of you recall the WALLIS CUB tractor, when it made that noteworthy 1000-mile trip in 1915, from Cleveland, Ohio to Fremont, Neb., pulling a covered supply & personnel wagon along on this endurance-run to the Fremont Tractor Demonstration, where it broke its former record by plowing 3 acres in 77 minutes with a 4-bottom plow.

Another feat, by the WHEAT tractor, built by the Hession Tiller & Tractor Co., Buffalo, N.Y., made a trans-continental trip from New York to Los Angeles, leaving New York May 29, 1919, and stopped over at Wichita, Kans., to participate in the Wichita Tractor Show starting July 15th. This tractor was equipped with solid-rubber tired wheels for road travel, also pulling its covered wagon, which provided shelter for the crew of three, plus sufficient room for a 3-bottom tractor plow and a set of flat-rim steel-wheels with cleats to be used when plowing, etc.

My concluding example here is a 310-hr, endurance-run made with a PARRET tractor in all-around farm work, from plowing to harvesting and threshing, night & day, on a pre-secured acreage near Wichita, Kans., beginning this venture June 26, 1919.

This is a 2? H.P. Fuller and Johnson engine and myself. This old engine was shipped into Minot in early 1914. I found this engine and another not 6 blocks from my home right in the middle of Minot on an old farm, that the city has grown around. It took a long time to find the owners of the place, but I didn't have far to haul the engines home once they were bought.

There has been quite a few pictures of International L.A. and L.B. engines in the GEM but so far I have not seen one like this. It is a L.B. with a extra water hopper. The fellow I bought it from used it on a cream separator and milking machine. When done milking, there was plenty of hot water for cleaning up.

Now a final few notes on the La CROSSE tractors; the prices steadily increased, effective with 1918 and 1919, when the 4-wheel model G went as high as $1250.00 in 1919. Then, early in 1920, the price of the G dropped to $895.00; and, the M at $750.00. In Jan. and Feb., 1923, La Crosse advertised that they were ready to consummate contracts for the year 1923, stating that their new model H 12-24 hp. means a 'happy farmer'. The new improved model H looks just like the model G. It is a perfect kerosene burner, with rocker-arms enclosed, and oiled mechanically throughout. No price was given. As I stated earlier in this letter, I am hard-pressed for time; but, I did scan a little more anyway, and ran across a little something on The model H. I still don't know when the model G was de-signaled the model H; probably during the latter part of 1922. It is true, as Amos Stauffer states, that the HAPPY FARMER tractors were equipped with ATWATER-KENT ignition; but for export, I learned, they were equipped with DIXIE magnetos. Well folks, so much from me on the HAPPY FARMER.

On page 16, lower left-hand corner, under the heading: 'NEWS', I will say that the BULL tractors were built in the TWIN CITY SHOPS, and the BULL tractors had 2-cylinder engines. The LITTLE BULL came out about 1913; then about 1914-15, they, the Bull Tractor co., brought out the BIG BULL. Both these tractors were 3-wheelers, having horizontal 2-cyl. opposed engines. The wheel arrangement was: one front-wheel, with which the tractor was steered running in the furrow; one drive-wheel, or bull-wheel, running in the lurrow; and one idler-wheel on the leftside, running on the land. This idler-wheel was mounted on an off-set axle, supplied with an adjusting-crank, so the operator could lower the left-side of the tractor when he was plowing, thereby keeping the tractor level. On some of the later models of BIG BULL tractors, a power-transmission was provided, thru a clutch, to the so-called idler-wheel, which gave the operator the ability to apply power to the land-wheel while doing straight-line draw-bar work. The 3-wheel 10-20 CASE tractor also had similar facility for its land-wheel. Otherwise, I'm quite sure the Twin City Co. never built any TWIN CITY TRACTORS with 2-cyl. engines, either before or after 1916.

A 1914 Kelly Springfield truck, 2? ton. It was beautifully restored by Kenny and Emma Jean Fisher of Xenia, Ohio. They are shown in a July 4th parade. (And don't they look proud? Kenny looks like he's mighty proud of Emma too -and she sits like a queen in a chariot - Anna Mae)

Pictured is a small gasoline engine that has created some question between Col. Houston Herndon and myself. Col. Houston's engine is like the one pictured with the exception of the flywheels. Col. Houston's has solid flywheels very similar to the solid flywheels Sattley. I have seen this engine with two different names and I feel that neither Company made the engine. One had the name of 'Monmouth', Monmouth, Ill. and the other, the one pictured was a Northome, M. W. Savage Co. Minneapolis, Minn. Col. Houston's had no name. This picture was taken at Justin Hingtgen's Mississippi Valley Steam Show at LaMotte, Iowa. I'm not sure of the owner. If anyone has the information on this engine to help us out please write to me or the G E M.

Russell Ginnow's engine, shown on top of page 22, is quite a rare engine, I'd say. It was built by the BATES & EDMONDS MOTOR CO., Lansing, Mich.; and, probably sold by the FAIRBANKS COMPANY, (not Fairbanks-Morse Co.). Russell, is there any indication of a name-plate having been placed on your engine cylinder, just below the igniter? That is where the Fairbaks Co. placed their tag. I am quite sure your engine was rated 1-? hp. at 400 rpm. The vertical B. & E.M.Co. engines were built in 1-?; 2-?; 5 6; 8; and 10 hp. sizes, in the early 1900's; the B. & E.M.Co. was organized in April, 1899, and soon started building their first engine. Later on, The B. & E.M.Co. built horizontal hop-ped-cooled engines, giving them the title, BULL DOC. These were built in 1-?; 2-?; 4-?; 6; 8; ;12; and 16 hp. sizes, which were also sold under the Fairbanks Co. label, which engines they listed as the FAIRBANKS 'BULL DOC'. The title BULL DOC was casted on both sides of the cooling-hopper in bold letters by the B. & E.M.Co. I have a 1-? hp. horiz. hopper-cooled BULL DOC, No. 12800, with the FAIRBANKS tag on it; but neither do I know when this engine was built, the later than Russell's vertical engine. Mine has a 4 x 4 cylinder, is hit & miss, rated 1?-V2 hp. at 400 rpm., having a 2-ring piston, as is likely the case with your vertical engine. I don't think verticals were called 'BULL DOC'. The Fairbanks Co. is noted for their scales; but they also sold the hit & miss, horizontal, tank-cooled, 'CALLA-- HAN' side-shaft engines, which shaft (or cam-shaft) the governor would throw out of action and hold it motionless while the engine was cutting-out, because of only part-load, or no-load; then, the rpms. were reduced sufficiently, by load, or coasting-time, the governor a-gain caused the side-shaft to slip back in-time, and the engine would continue to function on its 4-stroke principle, until the engine over-speeded a little a-gain. The FAIRBANKS COMPANY listed the CALLAHAN engines they were selling in 4, 6, 8, 10, 16, 20, 25, 35, 45, 60, 75, and 100 hp. sizes.

Old Reliable Mandt Engine, year unknown, 2? Hp.

A 1901 Fairbanks and Morse 3 Hp.

Elmer F. Klein, I enjoyed your fine letter and pictures on page 24, thanks for giving me a few patent Nos. on your 2 hp. FAIRBANKS-MORSE engine. Sorry you didn't give us a picture of it with your page-24 story. Your engine is probably a horizontal hopper-cooled, then it would be a type 'H'. Could you check back in the Nov.-Dec. 1967 GEM, page 20, for some data I have presented for publication on the horizontal types 'H' and 'N' engines; and, on the vertical type 'T' engines, made by FAIRBANKS-MORSE? Turn to page 14 of Nov.-Dec, 1967 OEM, the top picture shows a 2 hp. type 'II' F-M, a late model, the, and a throttling governor, kerosene-engine at that, of about 1914 vintage. Yours is most likely a hit & miss gasoline model and quite a bit older, but the design features are a lot alike, except for the mixer. The engine shown on page 14 has a gear-driven low-tension magneto, which yours probably does not have. The 2 hp. and larger, type 'II' engines have the M&B igniter on the other side of the cylinder, not shown in the said picture. Notice the large 4-spoke, low-down, cam-gear in the type 'H'. The governor is mounted in this gear; and, the vertical type 'T' engines has the same cam-gear with the governor in it.

Mr. Knudson, Gully, Minn., you have been waiting just an awful long time to get a little something on your big unknown engine; first asking for help in the Sept.-Oct. 1967 GEM, page 25; and, now again in the Sept-Oct. 1968 GEM, page 30. Your last mentioned picture is a much more helpful picture. It appears to be about an 8 or 10 hp. 1 wish I knew the facts about your engine; it is a very interesting, and solidly-built engine, probably built about 1915. Maybe, you could write me sometime, giving me the flywheel dia., cylinder bore and stroke. What is that spot near the top of the cooling-hopper? That could be a small builder's tag. Looks like the remains of a decal still visible in the center of the hopper side. That decal design doesn't ring a bell with me. Now, if you will permit me to make you a guess, I'm inclined to say your engine is an engine built by the Kansas City Hay Press Co., Kansas City, Mo. Are there any raised parts-numbers on any of the castings, like; KC before the part-numbers? Then, your engine is likely a 'Kansas City Junior', made by the just stated company. I've seen a junked KC Jr. of about 1908-10; and, a later improved junked KC Jr., of about 1912-14; the latter had KC before the part-numbers. Both had very small name-plates, 1' x 2' oval, giving only the HP.; the SHOP NO.; and the word: Patented. On second thought, that bump on your engine cooling-hopper, near the top, I suppose is a raised-place for the shop-number, or is it? Your engine has many KC Jr. features of design; and even the I stated it could be a 1915 model, because of the WEBSTER oscillator magneto. It could also be a 1918 to 1925 engine, since all that time, the WEBSTER magnetos could be supplied with and for M & B ignition engines. I hope it is a 'K C Junior'; help me all you can with it. Write me; or, let the fine 'G E M Staff' publish it. I've never seen an engine like this before, it's just that it looks like a younger sister of the earlier 'KANSAS CITY HAY PRESS CO. ENGINES to me!

Chicago Aermotor with tulip condensing radiator. 1924 Fordson.

This is the pet of my engine collection, the TOM THUMB. There have been a couple of pictures of TOM THUMB engines sent in before but taken from the other side. Here is mine from the opposite side. This engine took much patience and penetrating oil, but runs real well now.

On page 36, top view, is a fine photo of a nice 8-16 AVERY tractor. Sorry the print was made with the wrong-side of the negative up. I bet Kent Gibson really put in lots of hard work restoring that tractor. To keep the record straight, I'd like to mention that the vertical radiator is too high to be original, and, as to the year stated beneath the photo, it should be at least a 1918-19 tractor. There are quite a few differences in design between the 1916 AVERY 8-16 and the 1918-19 machine. The AVERY COMPANY started enclosing the governors, for one thing, about the latter part of 1918. Any way, it is not a 1916, or 1917, tractor; both of which had smaller front-wheels, only 24 inches in diameter. Kent, please keep up the good deed of sending in your pictures and all the information you can for the pictures, even if some portion is unknowingly incorrect as the same thing happens to me, too. This goes for all readers, don't let us critics bother you, just keep the stuff going on in to G E M for publication and let any who know and care to help make the constructive corrections. We all know there are a lot of young fellows, and girls, too, who are absorbing a lot of technicalities about old engines and tractors, so don't let it bother you if some old-hands put a little more light on the subject.

Amos Stauffer, page 3 again, please accept my congratulations for the fine write-up on the HAPPY FARMER TRACTOR. The only thing I can't find or go along with is the 1909 HAPPY FARMER, since production of the model A was no earlier than latter part of 1915; and that MADISON-KIPP IS NO DRIPPER, BUT A FORCE-PUMP! BEST WISHES!