2203 Montague Rd., Rockford, Illinois 61102.
It all started back in 1967 when I got so interested in old engines that I ran an ad in the local paper, 'Wanted: Old Engines and Tractors.' The number of helpful replies saying, 'There's an old-sitting over by--.' was surprising! Not all the replies were exact or for the items I was interested in, but plenty of them were well worthwhile. This article is about one particular engine which I now have as a result of that ad.
In February a man called to say, 'Out by Lindenwood where I got some parts for my Essex there is a Cadillac Steam Tractor.' I wrote the information down and on the way to an engine club meeting in Sycamore in March, 1967, I stopped to see the Cadillac Steam Tractor which turned out to be a 12-24 'H' Hart-Parr Tractor with an old Cadillac auto front axle, wheels and steering wheel in place of the original parts. Beside this stood an International 8 HP one cylinder screen-cooled engine with a small tree growing up through one flywheel. The tractor he might sell, but the engine was given to a son who was in the Army.
I have stopped out there at least once each year since that time to see if the son had decided to sell it. Each time I stopped the tree had gotten bigger in the flywheel. A year ago he got out of the Army and said he thought he'd fix it up. This winter it was still sitting there with the tree in the flywheel as it had been for many years. I took my friend, Tom Draus of Davis Junction, out to buy the Hart-Parr and we sawed off the tree trunk so it wouldn't grow any more. The son was gone that day.
Later, when the ground was frozen, we took a pick, pry bar and jack and dug out the Hart-Parr. After we put the tools away the boy's mother came out and asked, 'How much would you give for that engine? Danny won't ever get it fixed.' I made an offer, talked it over with Danny and his mother and we made the deal. We got the tools out again and dug the IHC out of the frozen ground.
It was a cold January morning when we went out to get it. We got permission to use the Farmall 'H' on the place to move the engine out of the deep snow for loading. The battery was completely dead so we used the 12 volt car battery and jumper cables. The tractor ran fine unless the engine speed dropped too low, then the engine would stop due to lack of ignition as it did quite a few times. Believe me, when we finally got it moving in that deep snow we tried to keep it going till we got it to a good loading place. Then George Hedtke arrived with his truck to haul it and Emil Svanda with his car as an escort. We decided the engine, tree and all, was such a sight that we'd take it to the Kings Show Grounds and leave it that way for the 1971 show.
This involved finding a forked tree trunk, 12 feet lone and light enough to handle to lift the telephone wires over the tree, for the top was 26 feet above the ground when loaded. I rode on the back of the truck to lift the wires. George drove, Emil went ahead with flashing lights and Tom followed to watch.
I hadn't realized how many wires crossed the road between Lindenwood and Kings! I even raised one pair of high tension wires. For some reason everyone stared at the sight going down the road.
Well, we finally got it there. Maybe the next year I can have it running. I need a muffler and a connecting rod cap for it.
The farm where I found this engine was a 'find' as far as we tired iron collectors are concerned. There on junk piles were steel wheels, flatirons, etc.-- even a 400 pound steel yards with the sliding weight missing.
IHC 8 HP Engine on Hedtke's truck.