R.R. 2, Box 325, Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933-9457
To start with, my Dad knew machinery and also was a good mechanic. World War II broke out with the Germans starting it, in 1938 as I remember. Most of you GEM readers remember the same as I do. We really didn't get into the war until Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, in December 7, 1941.
Anyway, my family had a pretty good sized garden patch which took a lot of work, so my dad decided to make a garden tractor. First it was a two-wheeled affair with a 4 HP Cushman boat and binder style vertical engine, with a 14 x 3 inch flywheel. Dad made a frame out of x 2 x 2 angle iron, 18 inches wide by 3 feet long with a Model T Ford rear end for it. It had handle bars and cut down horse-drawn cultivators.
The Cushman engine had a hand clutch on it, and when Dad engaged, threw the clutch in gear, it was chain driven, with #50 chain drive. This would make the cultivators dig in real deep and break the wood shear pins in the horse-drawn cultivator sheaves; also sometimes this would break a Model T axle. Dad broke a lot of axles; then decided he needed something heavier made. Then came the changes.
He used the old original frame and mounted it inside the new frame, which was also made of x 2 x 2 angle iron. It was about 20 inches wide, by six feet long. He set the frame of the two-wheeled tractor inside the new frame, which was 20 inches by six feet long. He also used a Model A truck rear end differential, that was heavier made, to eliminate axle breakage.
He used a Model T front axle and wheel hubs, and wish-bone parts for the front end, but cut everything down to size. He cut the Model A truck rear-axle and housing down to 48 inches wide.
Dad assembled the eight inch sprocket on the front end of the pinion shaft of the Model A truck differential pinion shaft. At this time he made an engine change. He changed to a Montgomery Ward 6 HP engine, which was a 6 HP Wisconsin Industrial heavy duty engine, mainly to have more RPMs as the 4 HP Cushman was a one-speed governed engine.
He took the front Model T wheels and knocked the wooden spokes out of the hubs and also had two rubber-tired wheel barrow wheels, center hubs cut out, and then welded the Model T hubs in place of the wheel barrow hubs and made rubber tires and wheels on the front end using the Model T parts. The wishbone, axle, steering was for pivoting on unlevel and uneven ground.
Dad welded pipe on the end of the axle shaft, and the one inch pipe and welded Model T spindles for the Model T hubs, then put the tie-rods on each shaft with tie-rod arms at 90 degrees for steering. He also mounted an old 1929 Chevrolet steering wheel on the left side of the tractor frame. He attached a tie-rod to this. The tie-rod arm was mounted in an upward position for easier steering control.
Dad also mounted two 3-speed (with reverse) transmissions on the new frame of the presently made tractor. Front transmission was a Model T Ford car transmission, 3-speeds with reverse, on the second was a 1929 Chevrolet, 3-speed with reverse. Of course the engine was mounted on the front end.
The Wisconsin engine had one 3-inch double ? V belt grove pulley for ? wide V belt, from the engine to an 8-inch double V belt grove pulley on the front spindle of the Model A Ford transmission.
The transmissions were coupled together with solid type babbitt bearing, with a grease fitting in it, in front, at the middle, and rear of the transmission. The rear transmission had a 3-inch sprocket for a #50 chain on the rear which hooked up to an 8-inch 23 sprocket with a #50 chain.
Back in those days if one needed a keyway made in a shaft, you took a coal chisel and hammer and cut one, and that was the way Dad put the sprocket on the rear differential pinion shaft.
He also took two 8-inch bottom horse-drawn plows and worked them over to plow with. He later found out that going with two plows was too slow, so he took off one plow and plowed in second gear and could turn-over more ground and do it faster. You see, he used one transmission in high gear, and shifted the other one into lower speeds.
He made cultivators so they could be raised and lowered and locked in place the same as with the plows. He also took a horse-drawn disc and cut it down to 4 feet wide. Then we had plows, discs, and cultivators. He plowed and disced a lot of garden patches at that time, for a lot of Victory garden growers.
He also changed tire sizes. He took off the old 5-inch wide tires, put on 9-inch wide tires on the rims. How he did it I don't know, but he did it, even though the tires were stiff.
About five years ago my brother and I got the old Victory garden tractor out of 'moth balls,' and Mom gave the tractor to my brother when Dad died.
I cleaned out the screen, the gas tank, and the settlement bulb. I also had to put a set of points and condenser in the Fairbanks Morse magneto. The teeth were gone off the 8-inch 23 tooth sprocket. I got a brand new sprocket and welded a hub on the side that had no hub on it. The sprocket had hubs on both sides and I broached a new keyway and also shaft and milled out this coal chisel keyway. I put it back together and put a new #50 chain on it and a new key.
We have used the tractor and I have had it in some old-fashioned-day-parades, and it works great. It brings back a lot of good memories, too.