1916 Case

Case 10-20 Crossmotor

Clair C. Fisher

Content Tools

Route 5 Box 9, Idaho Falls, ID 83402

The first part of this story was submitted to me by Marie and Herman Lenz of Idaho Falls.

In 1916 Arnold Kuhnroth of Ash ton, Idaho, a small town not too far from the border of Yellowstone Park, decided he wanted a tractor to replace some of the work done on the farm by horses. There were no dealers in Ash ton or the Snake River Valley at that time, and a salesman came through the area from Salt Lake. Arnold had a talk with him and purchased the 1916 Case through a catalog order. It was shipped by rail in 1917 to Ashton.

Arnold and his brother, Albert, used the tractor until 1920. They only used it for plowing because it was so slow. Arnold often remarked he could walk faster than the tractor would go.

They only used the crossmotor Case on their farm fourteen miles east of Ashton and also on a rented farm. Arnold and Albert did all other farm work with horses and in 1920 went back to only using horses, just leaving the tractor set. After farming for several more years the brothers rented their farm out. In 1967 prior to Arnold's death he gave the Case tractor to Lawrence Lenz of Idaho Falls.

I heard about the old three-wheeler from my brother about fifteen years ago. It was parked in a grove of pine trees near Arnold's farm and was all complete at that time. About four years later I decided to talk to Lawrence Lenz about a purchase and went up to Ashton to take a look and see what shape it was in. The excitement I had walking up to her soon changed to anger and despair. Somebody did not like old iron so they put a chain around the copper radiator and literally tore it off. Then they got their trusty little hack saw out and cut off the steering arrow. They dug a little deeper and found a wrench to take off the fuel tanks and also the seat and bracket. Then they finally decided to quit dissecting the poor old tractor. Luckily all the engine, wheels and sheet metal were intact.

After talking to Lawrence a few times we agreed on a purchase price for the 10-20 Case and I bought it in 1976. The following weekend I rented my neighbor's trailer, called up my old iron friend, Carlos Nelson, and nephew, Don Petersen, and left early Saturday morning for Ashton. We arrived around 9:00 A.M. at the tractor site and went over to Eddy Lenz's farm to borrow a tractor to pull the Case onto the trailer.

After loading her up, which was about 11:30 A.M., we headed back to Ashton for a bite to eat and parked in front of a restaurant. It was interesting to see the people look and chuckle at the old Case tractor.

Finished restoring the Case in 1981 which took three years to complete in my spare time. Went up to Oscar Cooke's Dreamland in Montana to get all necessary measurements from his 1915 Case for my radiator, fuel tanks and other missing parts.

The tractor and engine were completely torn down to every last nut and bolt, parts were sandblasted and primed. The engine was stuck pretty bad and it took a lot of solvent and pounding to get the pistons free from their 60 years of being idle.

Had to pour all new babbitt bearings and machine new parts etc. Got the babbitt work done just in time too, because the old gentleman who did the pouring passed away six months later, bless his soul. Also had to replace fender and side metal for engine enclosure and nine new cone lugs for the outrigger wheel.

Have shown the 10-20 in Fourth of July parades in Idaho Falls and won a few trophies with her. She's also been on display in the local Teton Mall the last two years for their Agriculture Day and draws a lot of spectators.

Am presently restoring a 1917 LaCrosse Happy Farmer and also still looking for parts for it, but having lots of fun. I am looking forward down the road to showing her in parades, etc. when finished.