27 Turkey Hill Road, Elysburg, Pennsylvania 17824
Having grown up around the farm, I always liked old tractors and started collecting them about five years ago. I was showing some pictures to a man I work with, and he said he knew of an old tractor on his wife's grandfather's old farm. He said he didn't know what kind it was or if it was still there. Then he told me how to get there. He said that his brother-in-law bought the farm years ago, so one day I went to see him. In ten minutes I arrived at the old farm and found the man in his garden. I introduced myself and talked awhile, and told him his brother-in-law told me about the tractor. I asked if he still had the tractor and he said yes. Then I asked if I could see it and he said sure. The man told me the barn burned down a few years ago, so there in the fence row sat the old 10-20 McCormick Deering. My heart was pounding when I saw it! Rusty metal does have that effect on some people. I asked if he wanted to sell it, and he said no.
He told me it was one of the first tractors in the valley, and said he wanted to keep it for a while. The tractor looked like it was all there, but rusty. It had been sitting there for 20 years, and the trees grew up through the drawbar and around the clutch rod. I tried to turn the crank but the engine was stuck real good. I went home leaving the 10-20 to sit in that spot for another six months. From time to time I would call to see if he had changed his mind.
Then one day in March, I came home from work and my wife said some man called about a McCormick tractor. So I called him and he said he was ready to sell it and we came to an agreement on the price. My dad and I went up to pay him and to look the old tractor over again, and then I started thinking about moving the tractor. We looked it over to see what I needed to move it. I told the man it would be a week or two until I could move the tractor and he said fine. One week went by and I couldn't wait to get it home to start working on it. Early Saturday morning I started loading my pickup with oak planks, chain saw, shovel and a five ton jack. Off I went. The first thing was to cut all the trees that grew into the tractor. After an hour all the trees were cut. Next I put the jack under the rear axle and jacked it up out of eight inches of dirt, then put the oak planks under the wheels. All the wheels did turn too. So, it was ready to haul. I had a buddy, with a roll back, haul it home for me.
This tractor had factory round spokes on the front and the rear had steel on it. The man gave me the round spokes for the rear too, but they were in the fence row with trees grown up through them also.
With the tractor home, I took the plugs out and filled the cylinders with WD-40 and started removing the trees. First the one from the clutch pedal rod-that was six hours of work. All that for rusty iron! You have to love to work on rusty iron, and I do. Next, I took the cylinder head off. It was not too bad, but the valves and seats were shot, so I ordered new ones and then cleaned the engine out. I used a little heat on that stuck piston and it came unstuck. The radiator needed some fixing. I did some welding, sandblasting, priming on all the parts, and painting. I took two five gallon buckets of walnuts out of the clutch housing.
After a hundred hours or so she runs real nice. I like to see old tractors and engines restored.