Rt. 1, Box 22, Emmett, KS 66422
In December 1980, I bought a 1928 Sears Economy engine from Elmer Hofmeister of Claflin, Kansas. It was used as a stationary engine in a farm elevator, and was still in the elevator even though it had not been used for many years. As it was a very cold day and Hofmeister was too busy to get it out at that time, I did not pick it up until almost a year later.
It was in mint condition, but I did put on a new connecting rod bearing, then cleaned and painted it red. It has 6' pistons, 9' stroke and runs at 400 rpm. This engine has never failed to start on the fourth turn of the flywheel.
For a couple of years, I just put the engine on exhibit in a trailer in a parade we have each year at our Tall Sunflower Festival in Emmett, Kansas. It is a hit and miss engine, so it only hits 13 times per minute at 300 rpm; it only hit now and then during the parade, but it really banged when it hit since I did not put a muffler on it. We had the engine in the parade a couple of years this way, then I started to think, 'Why not let it pull itself?' It appeared to me that a lot of power was going to waste.
I designed and built a frame and running gears during evenings and weekends. The transmission is from a 55 series John Deere combine which is a transaxle-type gear box and includes a clutch, 3-speed transmission, differential, and twin disc brakes. The brakes are not really satisfactory, so I am going to install other disc brakes. The steering sector is from a 1946 Ford truck and the front axle is 2?' square tubing with Ford car spindles. The front tires are 145 space saver spare tires, and the back tires are 1200 x 16.5.
The engine was then placed on the frame and connected to the transmission with two V-belts on 12' pulleys: a one to one ratio. The low gear is 25 to 1, second gear is 11 to 1, high gear is 5 to 1, and reverse is 12 to 1. It runs 7? miles per hour in high and VA miles per hour in low.
When I first drove the tractor around, it was awfully light on the front end, and bounced rather badly * whenever the engine fired since it was on rubber tires. To counteract this, I put a 700 pound weight box on the front end, and that helped smooth out the ride. It still bounces some when idling or when the engine is slowing down after being shut off.
After having it sandblasted, a friend, Darrel Carr, painted it International Red. A neighbor high school girl, Jean Karnowski, painted the signs and black stripes on the engine and frame. Then I put the Economy decal on and decided to call it 'One Lunger'.
My wife, Carol, and I have had a lot of fun with this tractor, and it is becoming quite well known around the area. We took it to 16 parades or tractor pulls in Kansas last year. Don Rezac, the representative from the 61st District, has driven it in some of the parades for his political campaign. It really draws attention. People of all ages have enjoyed riding on it, and I've enjoyed showing it off.
After deciding 'One Lunger' needed a little brother, I built a tractor with 6 Maytag motors to show this year. There are some other ideas I will be working on next winter. We plan on taking both tractors around to a number of shows this year in Kansas and Missouri, and will take in some we missed last year.
I am 61 years old and have lived around Emmett, Kansas, all my life. I am in the manufacturing business, having started out with a portable welder, going on to a repair shop and then to manufacturing trailers, pipe trusses, special built railroad equipment and other custom-built steel fabrication.
I have always had an interest in collecting gasoline engines, and have a number of them. Antique cars and tractors are also a love of mine. I have a restored 1926 Model T Ford, and one of these days will get around to restoring some others, but right now building my own tractors is consuming my time.