Little Tractor

Little Tractor

Content Tools

7529 Bedford Omaha, Nebraska 68134

(The following two articles are reprinted courtesy of Green Magazine.)

Jack Kreeger collects just one series of tractors. The Omaha, Nebraska collector's interest lies in the L series, which includes the Y, 62, L, LA, and LI. Along with Ed Brenner of Kennsington, Ohio he's considered one of the leading authorities on these tractors.

Somewhere along the line he heard of the model L's predecessor, the model Y. Feeling that this would be just the tractor to complete his collection, he began advertising for a Y or parts of one. He would also put a 'Wanted' sign up at shows he attended. Then one year at the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa show a fellow came over to him and said he had a two cylinder Novo engine like those used in the earliest model Y's. This engine was complete with shipping records showing it was shipped to Deere and Company on June 22, 1936. Incidentally, Jack Kreeger's birthday is June 22nd.

Later, Kreeger was told about a Deere and Company employee magazine which had an article about an engineer, Willard Nordensen, who worked on the Y project. It took almost a year before he was able to acquire a copy of this magazine. In the article were pictures and mention of the model Y. The article stated that Mr. Nordensen had retired in 1968. Doing a little figuring they discovered Mr. Nordensen would now be in his 80's. Kreeger tracked him down in Dubuque, Iowa and Mr. Nordensen invited him over for a visit because he had some things he thought Kreeger might like to see. Some time later when the Kreegers visited Mr. Nordensen he brought out two albums with 214 pictures of the model Y. After the pictures were copied in 35 MM, Kreeger took them back and had Mr. Nordensen identify the people in them. The list reads like a who's who of early Deere and Company tractor engineers: Sklovsky, Maxon, Brown, and Wormley. The pictures also showed the tractor broken down into parts, showing the parts bought from Ford and those Deere had built themselves.

Armed with pictures, Kreeger approached Dan Schmidt of Omaha and said, 'Dan, can you do it?' Schmidt said, 'Why not?' Kreeger describes Schmidt as an 'artist' with a welder who, over a period of months, very painstakingly built the model Y tractor with parts Kreeger found. These parts included the Novo engine, the Ford parts and wheels from a model H manure spreader, the same as were originally used. Everything was found or made as close as possible to the original tractor. The tractor carries serial number 101 RP. The RP being for reproduction.

Work on the Y reproduction began on November 28, 1986, and was finished on June 5, 1987. By the time the tractor rolled out of Schmidt's shop, there were over 300 shop hours in it.

Kreeger says it was a very trying and educational experience, but it brought back part of the history of Deere and Company.