P.O. Box 876 Elmer, New Jersey 08318
Five years ago I became interested in old tractors. This interest was sparked by friends who were farmers and restorers of old farm equipment. Since I enjoy tinkering, I decided to restore an old tractor. Hearing there was a 1934 John Deere GP available in southern Delaware, I hitched a trailer to my pickup and headed south.
Surprisingly the tractor was in pretty good shape. It was in running condition. The seller had purchased this GP 27 years before for $325. It took me about six months to restore it to original condition.
The experience of restoration fascinated me, and I found I had 'caught the bug.'
The hit and miss engines I saw at fairs and farm sales began to intrigue me. I learned John Deere offered a 1 HP, 3 HP and a 6 HP engine. The search was on!
Placing ads in local papers, I began to receive calls about gas engines for sale. If the price was right I purchased them. I learned a lot this way. Then one gentleman called and had a 1 HP John Deere for sale. In my haste to own one, I purchased it. WHAT A WRECK IT WAS!! Not having a lot of the parts, the restoration of this engine became a continuing education.
I heard of another fellow out of state who has the entire set of John Deeres, kerosene, sparkplug, everything. I asked if he had a 3 HP John Deere for sale. With a couple of phone conversations, him trusting me with money, and me trusting him with condition, I bought it sight unseen. We met at an auction that was somewhat between us for the exchange. It was in good condition and within a month it was fully restored.
A year went by before I found the 6 HP John Deere I was willing to buy. I learned of a gentleman in Pennsylvania who was considering selling one. We scheduled a meeting at the SteamOrama consignment sale in Pennsylvania. He didn't live too far away from the grounds. After the sale we went to his place. To my surprise he had a collection of engines a person could not believe big, little, common, rare, all types, and a couple hundred of them, if not more! After the two hour tour we got to the 6 HP. It was all apart but restorable. After a little trading and some 'green' the 6 HP was mine! It was an enjoyable ride home.
I knew the 6 HP was rare. It needed a part. I thought the governor catch was probably impossible to find. I found another 6 HP in the area, and with the family trusting me with the part, I had one milled. I was happy to return it undamaged! Within a week of assembling the 6 HP it was ready to come alive. Gas, oil, and water and some cranking, the 6 HP had come to life.
With the collection completed, lugging the three engines around would be a task. I began thinking of a way to transport them together. After some brain storming, I decided on a type of wagon. I wanted the wagon to have somewhat of an antique look, so I took the idea of an old gas engine cart I had seen. I built the frame and added John Deere spoked wheels. After some welding and bolting it took shape. With the wagon completed, I bolted each engine atop two oak beams. The project came out well. I have received many compliments on it.
To this day I am still trying to enlarge my collection of John Deere engines. Thanks to Jim Adomis, Clark Libbe, Olbrich Farms, and Everett Poole their help made this project possible.
All of these pieces of machinery are part of the John Deere collection owned by Steven Schalick, P.O. Box 876, Elmer, New Jersey 083 18. At left, the 1934 GP that 'infected' him with the collecting bug. Above, his 1, 6, and 3 HP Model E's on the wagon designed especially for their display. Below, another of his treasures. For Steven's story, see 'My John Deere Collection' inside this issue.