Old Hart-Parr

Restored Old Hart-Parr. Courtesy of Roger Clark, Palmyra, New York 14522.

Gene L. McLaughlin

Content Tools

Palmyra, New York 14522.

This is a story of how we restored an old 28-50 Hart-Parr, one of which is now forty years old. We have the 62nd one of this model made.

The tractor was first used in a sawmill between Palmyra and Walworth in 1927. It stayed there for several years. It was then sold to another farmer for a threshing tractor and another sawmill. This farmer sold the tractor. Then it was used for power in the Walworth feed mill. Later this mill burned with the tractor in it. It was then purchased by the Duell Bros. of Walworth. They completely rebuilt it and used it many years to thresh in the areas of Walworth, Palmyra, and Marion. Finally it was sold to a junk dealer of whom I purchased it. There it sat with weeds and grapevines covering it over, rusted and pitted from years of sitting outdoors.

After a close examination, I found that all parts were there and in fair condition. I decided to buy the tractor and after some dickering, it was mine. It did not run, so there was a problem on how to get it home. The final decision was made. A neighbor of mine offered to help me.

It was a nice day in May, but the wind was quite cold. The trip was about 14 miles and going was slow. We had several spectators wondering what in the world anyone would want or could do with such an awkward looking thing. The trip took the better part of the day, but was well worth it.

After I got it home, everyone was interested in helping to make it run. My father, who was a thresher for many years and knew old tractors as good as anyone, was the greatest assistant an old tractor owner could have. My brother-in-law was looking for a hobby and really interested, rolled up his sleeves and pitched in. Even my wife was willing to help scrape and clean our old antique.

I wrote several letters to tractor parts companies for information and always the answers were the same. 'Too Old; No Parts Available.' However, I did get a lot of information from the Oliver people. They were swell in coming through with a mimeographed copy of the original Operators Manual. After talking to several members of our Pioneer Gas Engine Association, who have had the same problems as mine, I was able to get ideas on how to defeat this problem.

The magneto was completely shot and a rebuilt one had to be installed.

This I purchased through Rochester Magneto for about $45.00. The gaskets were all in bad shape, wiring poor and oil leaked everywhere. The carburetor was set up for the tractor had always burned kerosene. The butterfly was completely ate up.

My brother who operates a machine shop really came through for us although he has no interest in our hobby. We bought gasket material and started cutting gaskets. I guess we ruined two good jackknives before we were done. With new wiring, oil piping, and gasoline piping, the day of reckoning was near. These jobs took almost three months to complete with all hands working. When we put each part back together, we made sure there was plenty of oil. With the help of the Operators Manual, we set the timing and were ready to go.

You know that darned thing started right off. Smoke! You couldn't see anything for awhile. Soon with a little adjustment, the old thing was running smooth as silk. Rides were given to every member of the family. What a joy to operate a machine that is forty years old.

We then entered the tractor in the Pioneer Gas Show at Fairville, New York. What enjoyment this was to work and exhibit with fellow club members. Millions of questions were asked on how does it work? and how did you get enough parts to make it run? With all these questions to answer and free rides to be given, three days flew by in all too big of a hurry. At the end of the show, my father and brother-in-law decided it would be a great joy to run the tractor back home on its own power. We had it trucked to the show.

The following Sunday afternoon, they set forth. The trip back home is about 14 miles, traveling the back roads and keeping off the main highways. Normally the trip would take 4? hours at a speed of 3? miles per hour in high gear. They took about 8 hours, giving free rides to everyone along the way, and stopping to answer questions. There were several family reunions in progress and what an occasion it was for them to see such a relic as this traveling underĀ  its own power. My father and brother-in-law finally arrived home, tired and hoarse, but what a lot of fun the trip had been to them. This is a memory to last forever and can never be measured in dollars and cents.

Roy Jansen looking over wagon load of engines. Getting ready for Show time-American Thresherman Show. Roy is one of my eight sons. (That's Roy at corner of wagon.)

In August we took the old Hart-Parr to the Steam Pageant at Canandaigua and demonstrated it again for 4 days. What a thrill it is to have an old-timer come up to you and say, 'I used to have one of these. Could I have just one ride on it and maybe steer it a little?' This fun and enjoyment is what our club is for. Without this, the fun of just owning the tractor would soon lose its fantasy and be just another piece of equipment.

With the year at an end, and the old Hart-Parr put away for the winter, one can look forward to another year of fun and excitement. Although this was a first for us, we are hoping that somewhere, sometime, we can make someone happy by giving them a ride and letting them steer. This, I think is the true meaning of our clubs, for without this, we ourselves could not enjoy the hobby.

All work 14-28. Picture taken in Leoti, Kansas.