1916- Big Bull

Big Bull - 1916. Coutesy of Arch Dougherty, Alliance, Neb.

Arch Dougherty

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1102 West River Road, Battle Creek Michigan 49017

I am sending you a picture of a small toy tractor which I built for my youngsters back in 1949. It had a Briggs and Stratton engine, salvaged from a washing machine, used-V belt drive with idler pulley to tighten or loosen the belt on first reduction for clutch action, and double V belt a-round large brake drum attached to one rear wheel for final drive. All belts were enclosed so there was no danger of any one getting hurt. I used Ford wheel bearings for the wheels, also for the front post bearing so it could be steered. Single front wheel was from a wheelbarrow. Rear wheels were merely discs fabricated from wood.

Rear tires were fastened to them by lots of large wood screws through the bead. No air nor inner tubes in rear tires, the stiffness of them was sufficient to bear the weight. Frame was made of hardwood 2 x 3's. Speed of motor could be controlled and it would travel about 2 miles per hour maximum. It was not very heavy and the only time any of them ever got hurt was when they fought for the right to drive it. One of them ran it over a month old kitten amidships which got up and scampered away unharmed. I made a small plow for it using an old jointer and they could cut grooves a-round the dooryard a couple of inches deep.

It surely did a lot of running, one summer used 15 gallons of gas, which would mean about 120 hours. David (now in armed forces) was driving it when not much over 3 years old. I employed a fellow with a bull-dozer to bury some stone piles and took David back there to watch, the fellow had to cross the field to get to the next pile and offered him a ride on it, which he refused, and for the time being we couldn't find out why, but at noon at the dinner table he told us the bulldozer didn't have any steering wheel (it was steered with levers) and he was afraid to ride on it. The kids are pretty well grown up now, Curtis the youngest is 17 years old now and a Junior in high school. Margaret age 4 is shown on tractor in picture taken 1952.