More on Ford’s Turbine Tractor
In response to Dave Ruark’s letter about Ford’s turbine
tractor (Letters & Miscellanies, February 2003): A Ford turbine
tractor was on display as a free piston engine at an open house for
Ford employees and the public at the new Ford proving grounds at
Romeo, Mich., in 1950. According to a retired Ford tractor
employee, the tractor was never put into production.
George W. Tincknell 66291 Mound Road Romeo, MI
In the process of conducting research incidental to my work, I
noticed this newspaper article from the Jan. 23, 1910 issue of the
Lockport, N.Y. Niagara Sun, ‘Veteran Struck by a Flywheel.’
We all probably could take a cautionary message from the fate
Albert Wright suffered.
David L. Dickinson Niagara County Historian 139 Niagara St.
Lockport, NY 14094
Tractors in Travels
In my travels over the last year, I have come across two items
that readers may enjoy seeing.
The first picture (Page 3) was taken in northwestern Ohio west
of Bowling Green. I believe it was on Ohio Route 235. The Farmall H
parked on top of the silo certainly caught my attention.
The second picture (Page 3) was taken at the Luling City Park
just east of San Antonio, Texas, along Interstate 10. The picture
illustrates an interesting aftermarket modification of a Fordson
tractor. This example was used in the oil field for raising and
lowering tools into an oil well.
Gerald Lee 5210 Springton Spring, TX 77379
Veteran Struck by a Flywheel – Albert Wright of Royalton Dies
of His Injuries, Was one of youngest men in Civil War
Excerpted from the Lockport, N.Y., Niagara Sun, Jan. 23,
Albert Wright, a lifelong resident of this place and a painter
by trade, was struck by the large flywheel on the engine in the
sawmill of Webster C. Woodworth on Thursday and died yesterday as a
It seems he had gone into the mill to have a little visit with
the owner, they being old acquaintances. In some manner the
unfortunate man got too near the flywheel, which struck him on the
head, on the downward stroke, tearing a large piece of the scalp
loose and felling him to the floor unconscious. He was picked up
for dead, but regained consciousness later and was brought to his
Dr. Johnson was called and found that Wright’s spine was
injured, causing paralysis. He failed to rally.
Mr. Wright was in his 63d year, and a veteran of the late war of
the rebellion, being at the time of his enlistment one of the very
youngest in the service. Although his father took him out of the
army once, on account of his age, Albert persisted in his
determination to serve as a soldier in the defense of his country
and enrolled again, and this time he was allowed to have his
I am writing regarding a couple of Internet sessions reported in
previous issues of Gas Engine Magazine. The first concerns shop use
in winter (see Stationary Engine List, February 2003).
Several people wrote about using their wood stove to loosen stuck
parts. I have done this myself, and while it does work, a word of
caution is in order.
Do not overheat cast iron -anything more than a dull red is too
hot, and if you heat the iron to an orange color you are inviting
trouble. Once the iron gets too hot it’s difficult to
impossible to do any welding or brazing on it. I know this from
experience, and from experienced welders. Also, hardened steel
looses its temper and has to be rehardened after being put through
Another session dealt with an Avery with new piston rings that
was using oil (see SmokStak, January 2003).
Around 10 years ago an extensive article in Engineers and
Engines discussed the Avery Company and their tractors. The
article’s author said that at one point Avery changed from a
pressure-lubricated system to a force-feed lubricator because of
excessive oil consumption. In the Internet session covered in GEM,
two people advocated using oil control rings to counter the
problem, and it was also stated that Averys had oil control
grooves, but that they would not work.
Reading over the session, I could see people were having a hard
time understanding why the oil control groove or the five
compressions rings would not control the oil, but no explanation
was given as to why this was so. To understand this, you must
understand how oil works.
A shaft turning inside a sleeve with proper clearance between
the two draws oil into the shaft in the direction of the
shaft’s rotation. Load on the shaft forces the shaft against
the sleeve in one area. The oil, due to its viscosity and the
reduced clearance created by the shaft being loaded, builds
pressure until it floats the shaft on a film of oil, preventing the
shaft and sleeve from making contact.
What happens between a piston, its rings and the cylinder is
similar. As a piston is pulled and then pushed down a cylinder, oil
builds up and is pushed under the piston and rings, floating them
on a film of oil. The groove will not work because it is not in
contact all the way around the cylinder because of the clearance
necessary, and the compression rings will not work because; 1.) the
oil has no where to go; and 2.) they are made wide so they will
float on the film of oil to reduce wear and to seal against
You need an edge scraping against the cylinder to control the
oil. When you see an oil control ring, think of a putty knife
scraping an old gasket. That is why they work.
Michael Bond 3594 Test Road Richmond, IN 47674
While we agree with much of what you say, the jury is out on
what injurious effects heating cast iron has on the iron itself.
While it’s true that heating it white-hot can alter its
‘grain’ with potentially negative results, cast iron must
be heated to at least a dull red before it can be welded
successfully – and heating it also acts to relieve stresses in the
Walt Hull of Walt Hull Iron Works in Lawrence, Kan., says
the biggest issue with cast iron is avoiding abrupt transitions of
temperature. When it comes to heating and cooling cast iron, Walt
says you should always take it easy, ‘Slow and gentle is almost
always a good idea,’ Walt says. Interestingly, Walt notes that
the hardest cast iron to weld is cast that’s been in repeated
heat cycles in a wood fire. He says old cast iron fire grates can
be almost impossible to weld, and wonders if there’s a
particular chemistry at work there. – Editor
Thoughts on Tractors
Like other long-time subscribers to GEM (over 25 years), I think
it is a shame more tractor enthusiasts do not send in articles. I
notice you have published articles on some of the rare ones, such
as the Hagan tractor (part of an article on Hagan engines) in the
November 2002 issue, or the Kaywood featured in the January 2003
There were no tractors featured in the December 2002 issue, but
you did feature articles on the Bull tractor and the Mini-McCormick
in the September 2002 issue. I realize that by its name, Gas
Engine Magazine, the magazine would naturally cater to
engines, but maybe you can encourage more tractor owners to send in
interesting articles on their tractors, something other than
step-by-step restoration articles or single pictures of tractors at
As a ‘representative’ of the Fordson tractor, I’d
like to issue a challenge to those who boast about their favorite
tractors to come even close to matching the versatility and
innovations made for the Fordson, including units like road
rollers, graders, front buckets, PTOs, mounted plows, mowers (not
drag-alongs), full tracks, half tracks, hard rubber industrial
tires, cultivator conversions, mounted gleaners (self-propelled
combines), mounted buzz saws, etc. The list goes on and on.
It’s too bad Henry Ford himself did not develop these
attachments – if he had the American farmer and builder would have
been years ahead.
Jack Heald National Director Fordson Tractor Club 250
Robinson Road Cave Junction, OR 97523
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