The Brownie Tractor

By Staff
1 / 4
Logo from an Allan Herschell Company letterhead.
2 / 4
Name plate from my tractor.
3 / 4
Illustration from Herschell Company Brownie Tractor brochure.
4 / 4
My Brownie tractor.

11500 Thrailkill Road Orient, Ohio 43146

It all started a couple of years ago. My son and I were out in
the barn working on some old garden tractors I’ve been
collecting and his friend, Eric came over and said that the
neighbor had this old garden tractor that he didn’t want
anymore.

So, we all went over there to see it. It had a torpedo-shaped
hood like a David Bradley, but no stamping on the. sheet metal. It
had an aluminum tag that said Brownie Tractor Company, Model B,
serial number 58335, U.S. Brownie Company, Joliet, Illinois. I
asked the owner where he got it. He said that he found it in
Oklahoma years ago. He also said that the motor block had a hole in
its side so he threw it away. And he didn’t remember what the
motor was. It has a tricycle front end with two wheels and an
automotive type rear axle with two 5-12 tractor tread tires. It
wasn’t long after talking with him that we were loading the
little Brownie on my flatbed pickup truck.

The clutching action is done by a hand lever beside the steering
wheel which tightens or loosens the V-belt pulley going to the rear
axle.

I started asking people at the gas engine shows that I attend
here in Ohio about my little Brownie tractor. No one had any
information. So, I also attended the Portland, Indiana, engine show
in 1999. I was looking at books and magazines and came across the
Gas Engine Magazine Index Locator 1988-1992. Well, there
it was, a Brownie Riding Tractor in the July 1988, GEM page 27.
Now, I went hunting for old GEM magazines. Just a couple booths
down from where I was, a man had boxes of them. The search was on,
and of course, after looking through six big boxes of old GEM
magazines, I found the magazine I needed in the bottom of the last
box. I told the man my story and asked him how much for the
magazine and he said that I could have it for free. I have met so
many nice and helpful people at the gas engine shows I have
attended. The article in the magazine gave the name of a man who
owned three Brownie tractors, and also listed his state and city,
but no phone number. Well, that was eleven years ago, but I thought
I would try to get hold of him anyway. I got the operator on the
phone with the information I had and she told me that he still
lived there and gave me his phone number. I called Larry and told
him that I had a Brownie tractor and would like and was looking for
some information on it.

After seeing him in GEM I was hoping he could help me out. He
told me that the Allan Herschell Company in North Tonawanda, New
York, may have some more information. Larry also said he got his
three tractors from Bell’s Amusement Park in Tulsa,
Oklahoma.

Well, back to talking to the telephone operator for another
phone number for the Allan Herschell Company. I reached Ed at the
company (sales manager), and told him my Brownie story and asked if
he could help me. He said that he wasn’t too familiar with the
Brownie tractor but had some sales literature he could send me and
a man’s name and number who retired from the company years ago
who might have information on that. I was finally getting
somewhere. I would say that a lot of the fun about this hobby is
the searching and finding of information and parts.

I called the retired man in Wichita, Kansas, and he told me that
the Allen Herschell Company bought the Brownie tractor company in
1958. He also said that he only remembers building about eight or
ten tractors, which were the double seaters. These tractors were
for kids and adults to ride at amusement parks. This spring I
attended the Portland, Indiana, Swap Meet where I found two brand
new front tires and wheels for only $10.00. What a bargain! I also
got two new rear tires and a 3 HP Briggs engine for my little
Brownie restoration project.

While at the show, I saw a man with a Brownie tractor just like
mine. Boy, it was nice to share stories. He collects David Bradley
tractors. I told him that I would send him some of the literature
that I received on my Brownie tractor.

I hope that this information is helpful to others. I’ve
enjoyed GEM for a couple of years now and look forward to the next
issue.

The specification information below has been taken from a
company brochure printed during the time the tractor was the
product of Allan Herschell. The tractors, which accommodate two
riders, were intended to be used at amusement parks, to ‘fill
in’ in spaces between other rides.

SPECIFICATIONS:

SIZE AND WEIGHT

Width35′ Length62 inches Height to top of steering
wheel42′ Width of seat34′ Weight (uncrated)257 lbs.

CAPACITY Each Brownie Tractor will accommodate
two children, or one child and one adult. Recommended track length
should furnish approximately a 200-foot ride. The number of
tractors used determines the total hourly capacity.

ENGINE Each tractor is furnished with a 2 HP
Briggs and Stratton 4-cycle engine which incorporates an integral 6
to 1 gear reduction. Chrome-plated aluminum alloy piston, pull
starter, fuel tank and muffler are standard equipment. Entire
engine may be quickly removed by unfastening only four bolts. A
hand operated gasoline pump is furnished so gasoline may be easily
pumped directly from a 5 gallon can into engine tank. External
engine grounding switch is provided for positive operator
control.

DRIVE MECHANISM Power is transmitted by means
of an integral gear reducer on engine to a drive shaft by means of
a reliable V-belt. The clutching action is obtained by hand
operation of the simple lever which tightens or loosens the V-belt.
It is not necessary to idle or slow engine during clutching. The
high constant R.P.M. of the engine gives better cooling, eliminates
spark plug fouling and provides longer, trouble free operation. The
rear wheels are driven by an automotive-type differential which
provides full power to both rear wheels at all times and thus
permits sharp turns in either direction.

CONSTRUCTION The entire Brownie Tractor
incorporates welded steel throughout. Angle frame, seats, steps and
fender are 12 gauge steel for long life. Streamlined sheet metal
hood is hinged at the firewall for easy access to engine.
Self-adjusting steering pinion and rack give positive directional
control. Front wheels are 10 x 2.75 with rubber tires and
lubricated ball bearings. Rear wheels are 12×5 with lug grip
pneumatic tires for maximum traction on unpaved tracks. Seat is
upholstered in durable Naugahyde.

DECORATION Entire tractor is painted with
durable enamel with flashy red and black color combination.

PORTABILITY Since the Brownie Tractor does not
require a fabricated track it is possible to operate on unpaved
ground area using only rope guide fencing. Tractors are small and
light enough to be easily handled by one man and transported with a
small truck or racked on a trailer.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines