DAD'S HAPPY FARMER

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Boise, Idaho 83704

This is written in response to a letter from Vince Dailey, Ronan, Montana, published in the May-June 1978 G.E.M.

When I was nine or ten years old, which would be 1920 or 21, we lived on a farm in eastern Kansas near Yates Center. Dad bought a used La Crosse Happy Farmer tractor. It was his third tractor. He had a 27 Hart Parr and a Model L Emerson before that.

One of the interesting features was the final drive gears. They consisted of several segments probably one and one quarter inches thick with rather course teeth. The pinions were rollers on pins between two plates. Dad said they worked fine until he got stuck in mud and then the rollers did not roll and they got a flat side on them and they wore rapidly.

Originally the radiator and fan set crossways, facing the direction of travel. The fan drive was by a round leather belt going around two idler pulleys. The belt was difficult and expensive to maintain. He turned the radiator lengthways and used a straight belt.

The ignition was a K2 Atwater Kent, which had some kind of catch and trip arrangement. It consumed only a small amount of battery current (hot shot or four dry cells). It was hard to keep working, especially in dust.

The motor ran backward. I remember Dad standing behind the tractor and pulling on the flywheel to start it.

This was the first tractor which I tried to drive. About the first thing I did was turn too short and caught the spade lugs in the grain binder tongue.

One of the jokes about the 'Happy Farmer' was that they were not sure whether the farmer was happy when he got the tractor, when he ran it, or when he got rid of it. We junked the tractor about 1923 or 24.