A Man And His 12-20 Case

Case tractor

Jay Hanselman

Content Tools

550 East North Street, Georgetown, Ohio 45121,Photos by Jay Hanselman

Well, folks, our little story starts about nine or ten years ago, when my father, Ron 'Butch' Klein, was bitten by the 'ol' iron bug.' Now at this time, Dad had already owned a 1935 Case Model 'C', which was given to me as a Christmas present in 1986. However, Dad had his eye on an even greater treasure, a 1927 Case 12-20 Crossmount tractor. This tractor was owned by the late Betty Dunn, who also knew the value of the tractor, and wasn't willing to sell it. For about nine years, Dad tried to buy the Case, but couldn't make the successful connection.

Approximately five months after Mrs. Dunn's passing in late 1986, Dad and Betty's husband David, who is also an avid collector, were talking about the tractor, and with that, Dad's dream came true. A price was negotiated, and the purchase was made.

At the time of purchase, I had just turned sixteen, and like my Dad, I am an avid collector of Case equipment and other old iron. I had always seen pictures of Crossmounts, but until the day I went to see Dad's prize, I had never seen one 'in the flesh'. Believe me, when I saw this tractor for the first time, I knew he had found a gold mine.

The engine on the tractor was already overhauled, but was locked up from setting idle in a garage for about three years. The oil and water pumps needed to be repacked, and the carburetor needed a little work, but the rest of the tractor was sound. It had a good coat of primer on most of it, but the fenders and rear wheels needed to be sandblasted.

On the way home from seeing the tractor for the first time I was asked to do all painting and cosmetic work on it. I immediately accepted this challenge, knowing that I could work on it over my summer vacation.

Later that week, Dad and my uncle Mark Watson moved the tractor to Mr. Dunn's other house where there was room to work on it. This meant a five-mile, round-trip bicycle ride to and from David's place, carrying needed items such as paint brushes, sanding pads, and paint. David agreed to watch over me and help me with the painting. He also made the connection to have sandblasting done, and also gave information on how the tractor should look and sound.

It was about a week before the annual Fourth of July Parade held in Sardinia, Ohio when we got to hear the tractor run for the first time, and of course, we had a few problems. One of these problems concerned the fuel tank because there was a very large amount of rust settled in the bottom of the tank. This rust was hard to get out because of a tube inside of the tank. This tube ran from the fill hole to about a half-inch from the bottom of the tank and we believe it was used as an anti-splash device. So, at 11:00 p.m. on July 3, in preparation for the big parade the next day, we 'engineered' a way to raise the intake to the sediment bowl using a small pipe. This pipe was higher in the tank than the layer of rust, allowing only the gas to enter the bowl. Some of the other problems consisted of leaking oil and water pumps caused by the need for new packing. We are also using a homemade manifold. Other than that the tractor ran, and still does run like a champ.

We have shown the Crossmount at the before mentioned Fourth of July Parade in Sardinia, Ohio and at the Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Show here in Georgetown where Dad is a director and I am a Co-worker.

At last year's show the 12-20 was found to be quite an attraction as we exhibited it driving by itself in a perfect circle. We found that, because the steering is so stiff, the driver can turn the steering wheel all the way to one side, release the clutch, and walk away, leaving tractor to run by itself in a perfect circle. We have had many people come over during the show to see the 'driverless tractor.'

It was decided at that show that the Crossmount would be featured at the eighteenth annual Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Show to be held August 12-14, 1988. To us this is quite an honor, and this is the reason for this story, written as a surprise to Dad. I'd like to congratulate Dad for the restoration of a fine piece of machinery, and to thank him for putting up with me all these years. Dad, thanks for bring me into this interesting hobby, and I wish you many more years of having the 'ol' iron bug.'