15035 S.E. Gladstone Portland, Oregon 97236
1987 was a very good year as a member of Branch #15 EDGE& TA; our club co-hosted the National Show for EDGE&TA with Branch #9 at Brooks, Oregon. The Antique Powerland Show at Brooks is the last Saturday and Sunday in July and the first Saturday and Sunday in August. The first weekend was the National for EDGE&TA and the second weekend the Two Cylinder Club had their show so, all in all, we had a dandy.
The best part for me was the last two hours of the last day. A fellow, Larry White, approached a couple of members of our club and wanted to know who to contact about a little old crawler tractor he had. He said he wanted to see it run in the parade and would like to sell it, if anyone knew someone that might be interested. So Harry Hylands and Don Weber sent him to me. After he told me what he had and that it was a basket case, he quoted me the price. I told him there was no argument over the price but I'd like to see it first, before I'd make a commitment to take it. Well, the next weekend I drove over to Mr. White's place to see the 'Perrin'. A basket case it was, but as so many in our hobby know, it was a real challenge and to quote a phrase, 'Something you just can't live without.'
So we settled up and loaded the Perrin in the pickup, in at least hundreds of pieces of junk (affectionately stated), and I headed for home as happy as if I had good sense.
Then came the last of August and, as I have two brothers and a host of friends in Des Moines, Iowa, it was off to Des Moines. It is only 130 miles more to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, so my brother Carl and I went to the show there. I had been there before and enjoyed the show and I knew that GEM had a booth there. I had hopes of meeting Mr. Charles Wendel, as he is a wealth of knowledge and information, so I took a rubbing of the nameplate from the Perrin with me. I was lucky. He was there and I enjoyed talking with him very much, but he had never heard of the tractor. So what do I do now? Well, we stayed a couple of days and enjoyed the show and then went home to Portland, Oregon. At this point in time, all I had was a lot of parts, no picture, parts book, or anything on how to restore this little crawler.
My next try was the main library and there I was able to find an article on the Perrin Company in an old newspaper. Then it was on to the Oregon Historical Society. They had nothing on it but they did have the city directories. As I knew the address of the Perrin Company from the library article, I checked to see what I could find out. There was no city directory for 1948 but there were for '49 and '50. The '49 directory showed the Perrin Company at 1870 S.W. Front Avenue. It was not listed in the 1950 directory. Since another company was at that address, the Perrin Company must have been of short life.
The picture in the newspaper piece about the Perrin showed a wheel tractor that had no steering wheel. It had steering clutches and brake and caster wheels in front. The picture was of very poor quality and not much help, but it was easy to see that the crawler version was a natural. My crawler is number 122 so it must have been one of the first ones. At this time I still don't know anything about how many were made, I haven't any literature or know what happened to the Perrin Tractor and Implement Company. If anyone in Engine Land knows, please fill me in.
Now, the process of putting this thing together was at hand. Almost all the ball and roller bearings were shot or missing and had to be replaced, along with repairs for most of the rest of it. The last thing to assemble was the tracks. There was enough for one side and some for the other but not enough to finish the job, so I had to have 15 pieces cast.
Well, it finally found itself back together. It is a real little dandy to drive, responds easily and has power to spare. It will slip the tracks without hardly cracking the governor. The engine is rated at 8 HP, and with 3? x 4' bore and stroke, it has plenty. It fits into my collection real nice as it is small. You see, I live in town on one city lot and have eleven tractors, so the small size helps.
I also have a 1929 Cat 30, 1928 Cat 10, 1942 AC-M, 1919 Cletrac H, 1920 Cletrac F, 1927 K20 Cletrac, 1929 McCormick-Deering 10-20 Trac-Tractor and 15-30 wheel tractor, 1946 B.O. John Deere, and a Centaur 2 G model that I'm working on now. Don't know the year of it.
One of the reasons I like crawlers is they are compact and will park in little space. So you see if you like this hobby and want to enjoy it, space is nice but not a stopper, if you really want to do it.
Where there's a will there's a way, and 1987 was a good year.