Irresistible Easthope Stump Puller

Pair of collectors just can’t say no to powerful Easthope stump puller mated to a 1938 Stover CT2

| August/September 2012

When our friend Ted Spoelstra suggested that he would be willing to trade us an Easthope stump puller for an item we had, we found his offer irresistible. We have always wanted a powered puller for our collection and this one was especially interesting mechanically, and it had a local history connection as well. But it was irresistible in a second way too: it can pull with an advertised force of 30,000 pounds, and when it’s securely anchored few trees can resist its powerful action, and they are torn from the ground, roots and all. We said yes to Ted’s offer.

Research on the Internet turned up some helpful information on the Easthope puller. First, we found an ad (shown in the Image Gallery) that appeared in a rural newspaper, the Granite Falls Record, in December 1928. It illustrates the basic concept: to clear a logged-off area to make it suitable for farming it is necessary to get rid of the stumps.

Farmers developed many techniques to remove stumps, including burning, blasting and winching by hand or with horses. The Easthope was an alternative method that used a gas engine and winch, which were mounted on skids with the engine driving the winch. An anchor cable hooked low to a stump secures the puller, and a pulling cable hooked high to another stump pulls the stump out.

What distinguishes this puller from an ordinary winch is the fact that it has two operating modes: a “winch” mode, which uses the gearing to pull in the cable briskly, and an “inch” mode, which uses an eccentric cam driving a pawl and ratchet to pull in the cable very slowly and very powerfully, an inch at a time.

Next, we found the Canadian and U.S. patents that the inventor, Ernest Easthope, was granted for his machine. A portion of his U.S. patent, number 1,680,939, is shown in the Image Gallery with the upper figure giving the overall view of the invention, and the lower figure showing detail of the clutch and eccentric cam. The primary claim in the patent is that the winch has side frames only, and cross frames are unnecessary because the winch has several sturdy axles that hold it together.

We received the puller from Ted as shown in the Image Gallery. It required some cleaning, oiling, greasing and the removal of some later modifications. We added a grease cup and replaced a couple of missing springs. We measured the sprocket and ordered a compatible driving sprocket and chain with 1-inch pitch. Ted told us that the spiral-grooved drum was made for 5/8-inch wire rope, so we had an anchor cable and pulling cable custom-made in this size. The cable shop confirmed that if the wrong size cable is used on this type of drum both the cable and drum can be damaged during a hard pull.