1922 Tractor At County Fair In Henry Gives Viewers Look At Past

14-28 Oil Pull

Walt Townsend,

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We wish to thank The Peoria Jounal Star, Inc. of 1 News Plaza, Peoria, Illinois 61601 for permission to use the story by Dave Lane on the '1922 Tractor At County Fair, Etc.'

HENRY - Farm tractors being driven around fairgrounds are a common sight these days, but fairgoers stopped to watch this weekend when Walt Townsend drove his tractor at the Marshall-Putnam County Fair.

Many people take the huge dark-green-and-orange machine for a steam engine, but it isn't. The 1922 Aultman-Taylor tractor operates on regular gas and can be switched over to kerosene once it has warmed up.

Weighing 25,000 pounds before any liquids are added, the tractor comes to better than 13 tons when 120 gallons of water are put in radiator and the fuel tanks are filled with 20 gallons of gas and 75 gallons of kerosene.

TOWNSEND, who is extension adviser for Marshall and Putnam counties, has been using the tractor to furnish power for the belt-driven threshing machine and stationary baler used in demonstrations at the fair, and for just driving slowly around the grounds to show people what a farm tractor looked like back in the 1920s.

'My wife bought this for me last Thanksgiving and said it was my Christmas present,' Townsend quipped.

'I told her if she bought me another just like it this Christmas, I'd really be happy.'

He confesses to becoming interested in antique farm equipment when he was a junior in high school. That's when his father, Sam Townsend of Effingham bought Walt an old tractor.

The elder Townsend has been at the fairgrounds just north of Henry, showing people how he makes rope by using an old rope-making machine which braids twine into the finished product.

Townsend didn't disclose the cost of his 53-year-old tractor but did say it sold for $4,500 when new in 1922. The Aultman & Taylor Co. was located in Mansfield, Ohio, and is a predecessor of Allis Chalmers.

The firm manufactured steam engines for some years before beginning to assemble the large gas tractors in 1913.

Many of the powerful machines were purchased by wheatland farmers out in the Plains states. They could pull 8- to 12-bottom plows breaking sod and were often used to pull roadgraders, although Mid-western farmers used them mainly for stationary belt work.

PLATE on the front of the tractor carries the serial number 4280, indicating how many had been assembled by Aultman & Taylor Co. prior to that machine. It's steel wheels are three-feet wide and the tower is eight-feet high.

The extension adviser said he has been able to determine the tractor was originally used out in Kansas, although he learned about it and his wife purchased it from a man at Streator who had stored the tractor for some years before agreeing to sell it.

Fairgoers stood in the hot sun yesterday afternoon to watch as volunteers ran bundles of oats through an old threshing machine and later watched the chaff fly as the men fed the straw into a stationary baler.

The Mueller Brothers - Chris, Harry and Howard - of Edelstein had provided the binder and much of the man-power earlier this month when five acres of oats on the Francis Reed Farm, northwest of Henry, were cut and stacked in shocks.

Wagonloads of the bundles of oats have been hauled to the fairgrounds the past several days and run through the 28-inch Red River Special thresher, owned by Elmer Klein of Lacon.

BESIDES the large gas tractor, an old 16-horsepower Aultman & Taylor steam engine owned by Walter McCasky of Toluca, and an oil-cooled 1918 Rumely tractor owned by Bill Sievert of Princeton have been used to driving the big belts which power the thresher and baler.

Sieverts unusual tractor operates on kerosene, but has no spark plugs. Igniters provide the spark in the cylinders and oil in a large square metal container on top of the tractor at its front end cools the engine.

Any implement dealer would laugh if you offered him $60 for a baler, but that's what Townsend and his father paid when they bought the stationary hand-tie wire baler which had been assembled by International Harvester Co. in the 1920s.

'The amazing thing was that it is in very good condition and we've not had to do hardly any work on it,' the extension adviser said. The previous owner was a farm machinery collector at Belleville.

Ideally, it takes six men to operate the baler; two with pitchforks to pile the straw or hay on a four-foot-high wooden platform adjacent to the baling chamber; one man to feed the straw or hay into the baler; two men to insert; wrap and tie the eight-foot-long pieces of bailing wire; and finally a man to catch the bales and stack them nearby or load them on a hayrack.

A slight breeze prevailed yesterday afternoon as the men were baling, and oats chaff blew into sweat-moist faces and stuck to prespiring arms and hands.

'I'VE DONE some dusty, dirty farm work, but I think this has got it beat,' one volunteer commented after walking away from the baler when the straw pile had slowly disappeared.

Sometimes it takes a re-acquaintance with old methods and machinery to really appreciate the conveniences of 1975. And anyone crazy enough to offer to help was given an opportunity to find out 'how they used to do it in the old days.'

Specifications are as follows:

Number of Cylinders..................4

Bore of Cylinders..................7 in.

Stroke of Cylinders.................9 in.

Diameter of Crank Shaft ....31/4 in.

Diameter of Crank Pin.......31/4 in.

Diameter of Piston Pin ......1-3/4 in.

Total Length of Crank Shaft Bearings....18-3/8 in.

Number of Cam Shaft Bearings....3

Diameter of Differential Shaft......3-3/4 in.

Diameter of Rear Axle............... 4-1/4 in.

Length of Rear Axle...................8 ft. 7 in.

Diameter of Cam Shaft..............1-3/8 in.

Number of Cam Shaft Bearings ..........3

Diameter of Belt Pulley...................24 in.

Face of Belt Pulley.........................11 in.

Width of Driver Without Extensions......24 in.

Diameter of Drivers..................90 in.

Width of Extensions For Drivers.............12 in.

Width of Front Wheels ...............12 in.

Diameter of Front Wheels....................44 in.

Extreme Height to Top of Exhaust Stack ...11 ft. 4-1/2 in.

Extreme Length overall 18 ft. 2 in.

Extreme Width overall without Extension Drivers....8 ft. 11 in.

Carburetor..............2-1/2 in. Kingston

Governor...............Fly Ball

Magneto...........Eisemann HT


Capacity of Radiator...............120 gal.

Capacity of Kerosene Tank .....60 gal.

Capacity of Gasoline Tank ........20 gal.

Normal Motor Speed.......500 to 550 R.P.M.

Speed on Road at 500 R.P.M......22 miles per hr.

Kind of Fuel Used.................... Gas., Kero., or Dist.

William Seivert & his belted up to the IH stationary baler. Bill is from Princeton & sure had a nice tractor. Sam Townsend, on baler which he and his son, Walt, own. Center shot shows the Mueller Brothers  on the Francis Read Farm, north of Henry. Binder by an early mfg. is just about to become an antique. Bottom is a picture of the finished product. Looking downhill after for the 1975 show. It was fun, but everyone was still glad to be done. The oats were loaded and stored inside prior to show time - a good thing, since it rained over an inch the first day of the show.