1938 with aluminum head Edison Splitdorf mag.
4825 Sweet Air Road, Baldwin, Maryland 21013
Hi! Having been a subscriber to GEM for only a year now, I was happy as all-get-out when opening the June cover. A lawn and garden tractor! I've been tracking Gravelys for six or seven years now.
My collection of Gravely model L's is quite complete. Shown here are a 1938 complete with aluminum head, 5 HP engine, Edison-Splitdorf magneto, a set of curved-down handle bores (sent to me from Alabama), and rear cultivators; a model L 'S' (Slow Tranny) with chain-saw; L with wheel-borrow attachment; and an L 'I' (intermediate Tranny) with leafer-bagger attachment.
These tractors were made in Dunbar, West Virginia. A friend of mine, Richard Juftice, owns a Gravely shop in Spencer, 50 miles from Dunbar. He introduced me to Murry Taylor, who worked as a quality inspector in the Dunbar plant from the late '40s 'til they moved in the '60s. I also met J.D. Thaxton, a dealer through the late '50s. When I walked into his old shop, I couldn't believe it! It was like being in the past. I hauled home what I could. About the remainder of the stuff J.D. said, 'Rodney, next time you're here you can clean house.'
My best friend, though, I've saved for last. At the 1992 Maryland Steam and Gas Engine Show I met a fellow with four D models, single wheeled Gravelys, 1920-1940; at the time I had none. A few weeks later he showed me a letter a model D owner wrote to Gravely in 1977 asking for parts. They stated they no longer carry such vintage parts, but try the Pallbrook Tractor Company in California. Well, I did! I bought it all! What a find!
To sum up, I haven't owned a hit and miss engine, but lawn and garden tractor time is just around the corner. What better one than Gravely, which Ben F. Gravely pioneered in 1916!