British Columbia Machinery & Agricultural Museum Alive and Well

Mendocino County Museum

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The museum has a number of scale models of interest to model makers. One show case is dedicated to the work of the late Fred Ott, of Vancouver, BC. Before retiring, Fred worked as a sheet metal fabricator for Canadian Pacific Airlines, now Canadian International.

A feature attraction of the display is a 3' scale, 1915 J. I. Case traction engine 22-65. Patterns for all major castings were made by Fred and include parts numbers as listed in the J. I. Case parts manual. The fuel is coal. Working steam pressure is 150 pounds. Time under construction: five years. Also on display are the wooden patterns.

As a companion piece Fred Ott built a 3' scale J. I. Case separator. All measurements were taken off a 1918 production model. The separator is complete in every detail right down to a bushel counter. It will thresh the heads of wheat, beardless barley and rye. Fred Ott spent approximately three hundred hours to complete the model.

A second companion piece is a 3' scale model of a water wagon and pump. Other models built by Fred include a 1910 Rumely-Ideal separator, 3' scale. Measurements were taken from a parts manual and checked against a production model 36-56. This wooden model took 600 hours to complete.

Also on display is a model stationary steam engine made from Stuart Turner model castings machined and modified to reverse action.

Fred, a long time director of the museum association, was born in 1903 and died in 1975.

It may come as a surprise to your readers to know that M. Rumely Company of LaPorte, Indiana, was exporting agricultural equipment to Russia before the revolution. Their Russian headquarters were in Odessa. Three members of the Rumely family visited the museum last year.

Numerous stationary gas engines of various makes and sizes are on display.

One of our major restoration projects this winter has been the rebuilding of a 1929 Minneapolis 17-30 type A tractor. Another interesting tractor restored to operating condition last fall was a David Bradley model 917.59101, Serial #1263. It is a special three wheel row crop unit sold in Canada by Simpsons-Sears. It went by the name of Tri Trac Riding Tractor which sold for $584-95 plus attachments in 1955. The 6.1 HP engine with exclusive speed control provided speeds from 2 to 4 mph without declutching. The tractor will be entered in the Fort Langley May Day Parade in May.

Dire need is said to be the mother of invention. When times were tough in the dirty thirties farmers made do, and when necessary, fabricated homemade tractors to get the job done. One such tractor is on display at the British Columbia Farm Machinery and Agricultural Museum. The engine and gear box are from a 1925 Chevrolet. It sports an Essex radiator, a model T Ruxtel axle, Warford gear box and a model T front end. It is equipped with a scraper blade, raised and lowered manually with a second model T steering wheel and gear assembly. It was built in 1933 by J. J. Craig and his nephew. He used it for general farm work in Surrey, B.C. from 1933 through 1975. Jack Craig is a long time director of the museum association and is on hand every Monday restoring farm equipment, running our 1885 sawmill as required, and putting his millwright skills to the test.

Last fall, Jack and retired R.C.M.P police officer Bill Stacey completed a water pumping display. They built a sturdy tower, mounted a wooden Dempster windmill on top, and powered the mill with a heavy duty electric motor and reduction gear. A pump jack lifts water from a tank at the base of the tower to a tank on the floor above. Some of the water returns to the lower floor where a hydraulic ram lifts the water back up to the water tank on the main floor to power a small water wheel which in turn activates two plywood horses the same size as the Dempster horse trademark. Jack engineered the hydraulics which makes an informative display for children and adults.

Mendocino County Museum at 400 E. Commercial St., Willits, CA 95490 invites collectors to bring engines, tractors and other old iron to the County Museum September 9 and 10 this year for a 'Roots of Motive Power Festival.' Above, a Bucyrus Erie 50B Steam Shovel to be featured. Other features include Dolbeer logging donkeys and a Willamette Iron and Steel Humboldt yarder. For info call Jack Wade, 707-459-9036.