Mr. Tarrant and the Wallis Cub Tractor

J. F. Kelley

Shades of the past-lifelong friend J. F. Kelley and 'Old' Fred Sr.-June 1916- both 22 years old, breaking sod on the south half of section 19-2N-48W in Yuma County, Colorado. F. K. T. standing.

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Bldg H., Apt. 146, 3266S.E. Aster Lane, Stuart, FL 34994.

A few years ago, I received a note from a Mr. Fred Tarrant from Saratoga Springs, New York who had heard I had a Wallis Cub tractor and wanted to come see it-he said he plowed with one in the teens in Colorado. I wrote and said he was most welcome, so he gave me a date to be here. I got my Cub out of storage, and had it running when he came. He sure was pleased to see it, and said it looked like the one he had plowed with in Colorado. I visited him in Florida this past winter and asked him to write an article about his experience of plowing in Colorado. Below is the article he wrote and his picture in 1916 in front of the tractor. He is now 96 years old and a very sharp old gentleman. -E.F. Schmidt, 180 West Kibler Street, Bluffton, OH 45817-

In the winter of 1915-16, I decided I would have a try at farming in Colorado. I arranged my financing, and then set out to select a farm tractor. I obtained catalogs and pamphlets from every farm tractor company I could obtain an address for. I was mechanically inclined and it only took instinct to see that the best designed farm tractor available at that time was the Wallis, Model D 'Cub'. I placed my order for one of these with the J.I. Case Tractor Company at Racine Junction in Wisconsin. Then I took the train to Racine to see the machine I had purchased.

At the factory, I met an affable gentleman named Roy Case. Mr. Case had a Wallis Cub run out on the cinders in the factory yard so I might drive it about. As I had been afflicted with polio very young, my left leg was weakened and I had great difficulty depressing the clutch pedal. Mr. Case assured me he would have an extended pedal installed on my tractor to overcome this trouble. He did as he said, and when my tractor was delivered at Yuma, Colorado on May 12, 1916, it was so equipped.

Over the years following, I broke out slightly over 2,000 acres of eastern Colorado sod, and I plowed and cultivated over 2,000 acres additional of fallow ground.

I shall always marvel at the ingenuity of the able engineer designer, R.O. Hendrickson. Here, way back in 1916, was the product of his fine mind. A four cylinder vertical engine with a six inch bore and a seven inch stroke, the cylinder blocks were cast in pairs and were of T-head design. The crankshaft had four throws and it was made hollow. Oil was forced by a gear pump to the main bearings and thence through the center of this hollow crankshaft, so each connecting rod was aflush with oil at all times and so too the main bearings. The total length of the main bearings was twenty six inches. They simply never came loose. This ingenious T-head engine had but one cam shaft. The valves on the opposite side were driven by a walking beam extending across the inside of the engine crankcase. The water pump that circulated the cooling water through the water jackets on these cylinder blocks was oversized so that the water jackets were always under pressure. This pressure was exerted against a large rubber diaphram that was under spring resistance and was in turn connected to the throttle. This novel device would hold his engine at 650 r.p.m. up grade or down grade and through sand or tight clay soil. It would and did hold the r.p.m. at 650.

The fan belt on this machine was way oversize and a belt would last for several years. When I disposed of the-machine it was still operating on the original spark plugs with which it had come equipped. All of the years I owned this machine, the clutch was only adjusted once for it too was ample for the task it had to do and it would never slip. The transmission gears were drop forged and case hardened. They were mounted on roller bearings and ran bathed in lubricating oil well protected from dust and dirt. Another ingenious feature was the incorporation of two brakes that could be activated separately. They enabled the operator to turn the tractor under load almost on a dime. The main driving gears, generally referred to as the bull gear, of necessity due to its size had to run exposed to the sand and dust. That did not stop Hendrickson-he piped the exhaust from the engine down below the housing and divided it so that a jet of exhaust blew on the face of each bull gear just at its point of contact with the pinion gear. This not only kept the dirt out, but it also coated these gears with a dry residual coating of soot which was itself a lubricant comparable to graphite. The clutch engagement under load was cushioned by a coil spring on each side of the chassis. If stalled with plows in the ground, this machine would literally squat and heave itself out of such a predicament.

My associate and I worked long hours, in season; weather permitting we always plowed 24 hours per day. A gas head light and a furrow guide made this simple. My Cub was fired by a remark able Eisman magneto. It just never failed. There simply was no way in which this amazing machine failed to excel over the horrendous contraptions my neighbors were trying to farm with.

One day a man came to call on me from the Case Plow Works at Denver. His name was Tony Hicklen and he urged me to become an agent for these able tractors and the Case line of farm implements. I did that, and eventually Hicklen sent a Mr. Jack Darr down from time to time to help me sell. Then he sent a fine gentleman named Sam Cluet to help me. Now there was a salesman!

Wallis brought out their various models of Cub Juniors, lighter and fast and very powerful for their weight. Within a few years I placed 87 of these various sized machines.

My farming operations declined; the farm was afflicted with black and red rust, disastrous hail, army worms, smut, wheatweevils, grasshopper infestations, etc. I decided to become a salesman, a happy decision, and I gave up my Wallis affiliation reluctantly. But my reverence for that man, R.O. Hendrickson, still lasts.

I think this pretty well tells of my Wallis tractor years.