Family 'Relic' Gives Backyard Rides

Relic tractor

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Box 144, Abbottstown, Pennsylvania 17301

Several years ago my wife and I acquired a family relic. The 'relic' is a lawn size tractor built by my father in 1936. This was built so my family could ride around the yard. Parts of a Maytag washing machine were used to make the tractor. A Maytag engine and the transmission with forward, neutral and reverse (you had to hold it in gear) were used. Rear wheels were from a piece of farm machinery, front wheels were the cast wheels from a push mower. Steering gear was the wringer gear from the washing machine. Plans for the tractor may have come from a magazine such as Popular Mechanics.

A thrashing machine was also built, but due to lack of storage, the wooden pieces came apart. Eventually the thrashing machine was sent to the junk.

When my youngest brother was in high school the tractor was sold to neighbors for $20. Later it was returned, as it was never paid for. About 1952 Dad sold the tractor to a man he worked with (who later became an antique dealer). He took out the Maytag and put in a Briggs, because the old Maytag engine needed work. As the rear end had no differential, rubber wheels were put on the front. He wanted his children to be able to steer on a macadam driveway. Later, he sold the tractor to someone in Virginia.

As an antique dealer he found the tractor in Marietta, Pa. At that time, I met him in a restaurant. He asked me if I was interested in the tractor. I told him I was, and he delivered the tractor to us for $75.

We began to restore the tractor, purchasing a Maytag engine. We took off the wheels of an old push mower we had (it belonged to my grandfather), machining the holes to fit the front wheel spindles. We painted the tractor red with yellow wheels.

We show the tractor at Williams Grove, Arcadia and several other shows. The tractor is a big hit wherever we show it. We have also restored a '67 Wheel Horse and a '67 John Deere 60. We also have several hit and miss gas engines.