Old Rattler

Courtesy of Berton Blazek, Innisfree, Alberta, Canada.

Berton Blazek

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Innisfree, Alberta, Canada.

The young man visiting us stood shaking his head and repeating the word, 'unbelievable'. Before him our Field Marshall tractor stood, shaking gently with the easy regular puffing exhaust and its loud annoying diesel knock. If tractors came be some genetic process, this might be a throwback, or some mutation, but rather it is a unique design in a day when tractor designers were not too adventurous.

Our large gasoline expense with a conventional tractor and the fun promised from operating a single cylinder diesel tractor, plus doing our work at one third the cost, well, we decided, 'We'll go and get it'.

We knew of this engine for several years, but till now had no need of one. Our trip wasn't very eventful, except on returning, the truck developed a bad knock which proved to be a loose connecting rod; we despaired of even getting home with it and our 7500 pound prize. We arrived at the farm at Innis free at seven a.m., but before break fast we unloaded the Field Marshall. No children could have been more anxious on Christmas morning than we were to make our first start.

We took all the steps before starting, namely, set speed control, position fly wheel, and starting crank, roll and light the ignition paper, set compression relief, and then crank. The compression relief allows you 4 turns before it drops off flywheel and you have full compression and a quick sure start every time. I must admit that the first time on the fourth turn, my knees weakened a little; 'Suppose I can't turn it on over that last time'. A person is sure set up for a defenseless backfire, but it goes every time, as it is designed to start easily and it does so.

We have serviced it and used it some already, but haven't finished mounting the hydraulic pump yet, so we have yet to see how it will perform on the cultivator, etc. It has a very distinct diesel knock, much louder than the exhaust, and for all its single cylinder, it is two cycle and the explosions are very even.

One manufacturer some years ago in summing up the few parts in his engine said, 'Frankly, could anything be simpler?' We have since learned that some-thing could be simpler, the Field Marsh-all. It must be the simplest tractor ever built; the only valves are reed valves on top of the crankcase, not a single electrical device, and of course, only one injector and one nozzle. In fact, one of most everything on the motor.

Verl and myself with 'old Rattler' on our way to get the Field Marshall.

Many miles later and with such anxiety over loose connecting rods we nursed the old Chev. home with our treasure. I am pointing to breech block for power start cartridge.

Verl is positioning flywheel with long hand' crank

That is ignition paper holder in my hand, about to screw it into cylinder head, preparatory to starting.

Oh, I suppose it has some disadvantages, such as the chores before starting, different than a self starter, only 40 horse power for its 3? ton and it shakes a little at slow idle, not notice-able at any working speed. Also, it doesn't recover all its lubricating oil; uses about 1 quart per shift and a little of this will be on your shirt at night.

Anyhow, we think it is the greatest invention since the wheel, and can't understand why many more of them weren't sold. My son, Verl, age 14, hand starts it all the time and we plan to do all our work with it. It would be too bad if these were to find their way to the threshing shows as they would steal a great part of any show you can be sure.

It still seems a little 'unbelievable'.