The Restoration of an Aultman-Taylor Tractor

F. R. Orr talks about his restoration of an Aultman-Taylor tractor.

Tractor sitting on the Kallasta farm

Picture 1: The Aultman-Taylor tractor at the Kallasta farm just South of Monmouth, Illinois.


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Learn about the restoration of an Aultman-Taylor tractor. 

On a Sunday afternoon on June 3, 1961, while riding around looking for antiques, in the vicinity of Bushnell, Illinois, I came across an Aultman-Taylor tractor #106. After some bit of negotiation with Mr. Carl Mowrey, I became the proud owner of old #106, which we have of lately designated as the "Jolly Green Giant."

This tractor was purchased new by Mr. Harry Kallista of Monmouth, Illinois and shipped by rail to Larch-land station, some few miles from Mr. Kallista's farm, at which place it remained until only a few days before I purchased it.

So the story goes that the tractor and a ten bottom plow had been sold to the Junkman and was to be cut up for junk. Before Mr. Mowrey was able to purchase it the plow had been cut up and disposed of. At this time, he prevailed on Mrs. Kallista to let him have the tractor instead of selling it for scrap.

Mrs. Kallista thought the tractor was delivered about 1911. I and some of my friends have established, with some bit of certainty, that it is about a 1910. To substantiate this 1910 date, I have a 1911 American Threshermans Magazine, which shows their new models and it has a square radiator with fenders. It is a known fact, that the first Aultman-Taylor had a square radiator, a Remy mag and coil, an upright governor on the outside of the engine and no fenders. The 1911 model shown in the American Thresherman has fenders.

One of the first major improvements the company made was the addition of the fenders and then sometime later, they changed to the round radiator. These are the facts upon which I base my thinking that this is a 1910.

After purchasing the tractor I set out on restoration of the Aultman-Taylor tractor. I corresponded with the Mansfield, Ohio Public Library, who in turn located a Mr. Earl Logan, who was an authority on Aultman Taylor machinery and worked for the Aultman-Taylor Company for many years. It was Mr. Logan's opinion that this tractor was built around 1905 or 1906.

Picture #1 will show the tractor sitting on the Kallasta farm just South of Monmouth, Illinois, where it had been parked by its only owner for many years. You will note, it had settled in the ground some eight or ten inches and the corrosion had eaten into the spokes and the wheel up to this depth. Note the top frame completely gone, and sides of the cab were badly rusted through and grape vines had grown up into the engine and radiator. The engine and the traction gears were froze. It was necessary to loosen and drop down the entire gear train so that the tractor would pull freely like a wagon.

Picture #2 and #3 in the image gallery shows the tractor being dismantled. Picture #4 shows the crank shaft which is eight feet long, being lifted out. It was necessary to remove the crankshaft because the oil veins in the bottom of the main bearings, as well as in the connecting rods, were froze solid with dirt and grease. After cleaning the oil veins and replacing the copper oil lines, the crankshaft was replaced. It might be interesting to note that for spacers between the main bearings they used a wooden shim. I made new shims out of maple flooring. These shims were about the size of the wooden stick on an eskimo pie. This was my first experience at blueing in a crankshaft and it was only due to the help of my late friend Mr. E. O. Herman, who stood on a block by the side of the engine, and supervised my work.

I have worked on the tractor, in my spare time, for the past four years and it has gradually taken shape.

Shortly after getting the tractor home, I realized we had no coil, so some months later we returned to the Kallasta farm and talked to Mrs. Kallasta. She took us out to the shop and lo and behold, laying high up on the shelf were two Remy wood coils, with connections for the Aultman-Taylor tractor.

First, it was necessary to get the magneto repaired so I contacted Delco-Remy, describing the mag and sending them the number Delco replied, that the records at the time of the Delco-Remy merger were very sparse and they could not find any evidence of having produced this magneto but if I would send it to them they would repair it, if possible, which they did.

My next big problem was getting the coil to work. The coil had evidently been shorted out as there was a newer type Remy coil, which had been used in place of the original one. However, it too would not work. After contacting many magneto people, who refused to work on the coil, I become acquainted with Mr. Ray Schnell of Kankakee, Illinois. Mr. Schnell, was at one time, a trouble shooter for the Reeves Company of the Mogul Company. This was no great problem for him. He melted the bees wax out, re-wound the coil, soldered up the broken contacts and now it works like new.

At last #106 was completely assembled and ready to start, but it didn't start. I didn't seem to be able to come up with a wiring diagram nor did I seem to be able to make the proper connections so the engine would fire.

After some two or three weeks, I borrowed an old Remy diagram from Rae Graves and called on Mr. Schnell, who put the various wires in the proper places and after about two turns #106 came to life.

To my knowledge, this is the only Aultman-Taylor tractor with the square radiator and it is the thinking of some people that #106 was the sixth tractor made by the Aultman-Taylor Company.

This machine is the pride and joy of my entire tractor collection. I would like to dedicate its being possible to the late Mr. E. O. Herman, my loyal friend and companion. Mr. Herman was a licensed engineer, an authority on steam, and an accomplished machinist. He was a friend of all those who were interested in preserving our heritage and one we all consulted when we were in need of assistance. His sudden passing was a great loss to all of us.

If you will note on the radiator, you will see an authentic decal, with the two old Gentlemen, Mr. Aultman and Mr. Taylor and the words

The Aultman Taylor Engine

This decal is 30 inches wide and 8 inches high and consists of six different colors. I had an artist draw the decal to scale from a small picture I had. After drawing it to scale, she traced it and painted it in color on the radiator.

I have contacted the Decal Company, who will make the decals in the same colors and size as described above. If I can sell 125, they would cost $9.00 each. If I could sell 250, they would cost $6.00 each.

If enough people are interested in the decal at this price, I would take your name and have the decals made.