The Little Pull Tractor

Content Tools

Route 2, Shevlin, Minnesota 56676

It was a cool day last November 1991, a little snow here and there. My youngest son, Ray, age 4, said, 'Dad, can we drive Little Pull?' So I got some water for the engine and started her up.

As Walter, my other son, age 12, backed Little Pull out of the cold storage shed with Ray riding along, I couldn't help think of the countless hours of fun the boys have had since it was built.

The tractor consists of two 4-inch I-beams for the frame. I blocked these up in the garage and said to myself, 'That's about the right height.' But that changed too. I decided to use two rear bull wheels from two old junked grain binders, extended the axles and mounted them in bearings to roll freely on the frame.

Then another brainstorm. Why not drive the wheels with the original bull wheel chains? This worked out real well. Now the next steps: what to do about the clutch, transmission and differential?

One day while walking around in a local junk yard, I happened to look under a junked John Deere #45 self-propelled combine, and I saw what I was looking for: clutch, transmission and differential all in one unit. I got the whole unit for junk price.

After a few hundred cups of coffee, a lot of head scratching, some frame modifications, I shortened the input shaft and the combine axles. Made some mounts and got the unit up in the frame. I used the small sprockets from the grain binder to drive the bull wheels. Then some more coffee and thinking. I decided to use the worm and straight gear from the lifting mechanism of a grain binder, added a three-inch drum to roll up the chains, some ? inch shaft, an old PTO universal joint, the steering wheel from a Case threshing machine blower. I made the front axle, got a couple of wheels out of the junk pile and lo and behold, now I could even steer it!

The engine is a 3 HP, 1918 Fairbanks Morse with Sumpter Plugs oscillator belted to the input shaft of the JD combine unit mentioned earlier in the story. I made the smokestack from 1/16 inch plate steel, made the canopy and fenders, clutch and shifting linkage, and painted it. Worked out a few bugs (well, maybe more than a few) and Little Pull was done.

I have had Little Pull to a couple of shows and got a lot of comments on how nice it looks and works. This all sounds kind of easy, but she has Patent dates of 1989-90, and my own serial #000 A.T.1.

At this time I'd like to thank Bill Martine for a great job in doing the machine work, and Robert Biden for the cast iron seat. Both men are from Bagley, Minnesota.