Minneapolis Gas Tractor

Courtesy of Old Time Thresher and Sawmill Operators, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Leo R. Clark

Content Tools

Route 4, Morrison, Illinois 61270

On page of the Mar-Apr. G.E.M. we see the picture sent in by Roger Eshelman of the Northome engine owned by W.F. Rieckens of Bellevue, Iowa. Roger states that he has seen a Monmouth just like the one pictured and would like to know who built these engines.

I have a 3 Hp. Montgomery Ward Sattley of the very same type except it has a Webster make and break igniter and magneto. So maybe Col. Herndon guessed right that his engine of this type had Sattley flywheels, even though mine has real heavy spoked type.

From what I have been able to learn, I feel these engines were built by Nelson Bros. The older type Monmouth and the Nelson, Jr. were identical and the late model Monmouth was like the Northome and the Sattley.

I have been rather puzzled as to why Montgomery Ward apparently sold both the Nelson and the Field type of engine at the same time. The Webster Magneto puts the Nelson at just about the same date as the other type. Maybe M & W inherited the Nelson with the purchase of the Humma Plow Works.

I have been quite interested in the data on the Happy Farmer Tractor in recent issue of G.E.M. One of my older brothers had both a three and four wheel type and I remember many experiences, both happy and otherwise. Their main fault was that the average farmer just couldn't stay on good speaking terms with the Atwater Kent dry cell battery ignition. Also, the one speed transmission was not too strong a selling point when plowing clay hills and the dust from the drive wheel would affect the fan belt in a bad way sometimes.

The motor was a very reliable old lugger and I am quite sure it was built by the Associated Co. of Waterloo, Iowa.

The Happy Farmer four wheel tractor with its large drive wheels, spade lugs, wide tread and steering brakes was far ahead of its competitors when it came to performance on hillsides.

'The Monster and its shadow' - The tractor in the foreground is a 35-70 Minneapolis Gas Tractor owned by Sherald Bonnell of Winamac, Indiana and is being followed by a 22-44 Minneapolis owned by Harold Gay and John Brite of Decatur, Indiana. These two tractors are seen each year at the 'Old Time Thresher Show. (Photo by Leo R. Clark, 105 Harvey St., Washington, Illinois 61571)

There has been some questions and answers as to the oiling system in the Fuller & Johnson upright air-cooled pump jack engine, but so far no one has mentioned the cylinder lubrication system on this little job. There is a circular trough built or pressed into the top of the crank case below the cylinder. This trough fills with oil and the lower edge of the piston dips into it on each revolution. Some of this splash would likely help to oil the wrist pin. Many of these little pumpers were used as pump jacks run by electric motors after the piston, rod and head were removed. So, some have turned up minus all or some of these parts. The piston from a John Deere 1? Hp. can be used and a Model T Ford rod can be used on the lower end of a built up rod. The Model T Ford rod is not long enough and must be lengthened with another part.

Some years ago, I ran across a letter in either one of the engine magazines, or an old car publication, where a man and his son had discovered a way to loosen stuck pistons.

Every so often, I read in E & E or GEM, where someone is about to give up on an engine that is badly fused in the cylinder. Fill the water jacket with hot water, the hotter-the better. Then cool the piston with L. P. or Butane gas. This gas is extremely cold, so don't get your hand in front of the nozzle or don't drop the hose. The gas freezes anything the instant it makes contact.

I have a question I hope someone can answer for me. Our first Fordson was in the 17,000 bracket, which was 1918. On the underside of the top radiator tank were four holes. The holes were threaded for about a ? inch capscrew and the surface around the holes was machined. Do you think it must have been that either a water pump or a governor was used on some of the first experimental jobs and the radiator was not changed for a few years? The only other Fordson I ever saw with this provision was Tractor No. 1 which the Ford Motor Company shows at the State Fairs and other machinery displays.