While continuing work on our forthcoming tractor encyclopedia, we're amazed at the tractor makes and models that keep appearing. It isn't enough to look at two or three different tractor directories sometimes a particular make appears only in one of them, and for a considerable number of tractors, there is no appearance in any of the directories. Scanning farm magazines and other literature sometimes yields an additional item, and occasionally one might find a tractor advertised in Motor Age or another automotive journal.
Tractor development moved along very quickly in the 1910-1930 period. After all, the tractor evolved from a heavy and awkward machine built over a huge steel chassis into a small, compact, unit frame design in less than twenty years!
Tractor development continued during the 1930s, despite the devastating effects of the Great Depression. By the end of the decade, the majority of farm tractors were redesigned to include streamlining, and this gave tractors a styled and very modern appearance.
An interesting part of our research is the rapid change of methods involved in the research itself. When we began writing books on engines and tractors some thirty years ago, everything was typed out by hand and then taken to a typesetting company. Copying photographs was quite a difficult task that often required doing the work a second time.
For several of our earliest books, the entire manuscript was written out, then typed, then sent to a typesetter. We thought we had reached one step toward heaven when we bought that first IBM PC computer back in 1981. (It even had a spelling checker.) Cameras improved dramatically, and eventually we settled on a Canon A-l to shoot all our photographs.
Now we have hundreds of rolls of film, and along comes a little film scanner into which we feed the film, and presto! The whole thing is converted into electronic bleeps and bytes, we hasten this 'file' onto a Zip Disk, and there's our picture as part of some invisible magnetic media. There's a Page Keeper program that identifies and catalogs all this stuff so that we no longer will have to sort through dozens of rolls of film looking for that negative that isn't where it's supposed to be.
At the moment, we're only putting those things on disk that we need for a specific project, but eventually, we'll probably feed those rolls of film through the scanner and actually have all this stuff at the ready. All of this can be very intimidating, and for most folks having a film scanner probably isn't in their future plans.
Now, getting back to where we started. If you're thinking that farm tractors developed so quickly, say in twenty years, look at what's happened with the publishing industry in thirty years we have gone from handset type and Linotype machines to digitized methods whereby the printing plate can now be made right at the computer!
By the way, this issue marks the close of 33 years of continuous publishing for Gas Engine Magazine. Who would have thought that Elmer Ritzman's thin little first issue of 1966 would have become the popular hobby magazine of today!
Our first query is:
33/12/1 United Engine Q. 1 am restoring a United 1 HP Type A air cooled engine as shown on page 520 of American Gas Engines. 1 would like to know if these engines were the same color as Associated engines, and the trim colors. On mine there is enough original paint to determine that the connecting rod, mixer, and igniter have traces of dark blue. Any information would be appreciated. Clair Fetters, 575 W. River Bay Ct., Dunnellon, FL 34434-
A. Associated and United engines came off the same assembly line at Independence, Iowa. These engines are the same color. However, it is quite possible that dark blue trim might have been used.
33/12/2 What Is It? Q. See the photo. What is this? The pocket at the bottom looks like a letter holder. Gordon Wince, PO Box 76, Dupree, SD 57623.
A. You're correct. It is a letter holder. Long ago, we were told that these were provided by the company to their dealers. Whether this legend is totally correct, we don't pretend to know. However, we do know that about 25 or 30 years ago there were some of these recast by somebody or other.
33/12/3 Alamo Engine Q. I have an Alamo 4 HP engine, s/n 14919, built by hunt Moss Co., Hillsdale, Michigan. Can anyone provide a parts breakdown schematic? Doug Stewart, 9 Meunier Dr., Hopevalley, RI 02832.
33/12/4 Lake Motor Company Q. See the photos of a 67 cubic inch air cooled v-twin with overhead valves. It was made by Lake Motor Company, Milwaukee , Wisconsin. It has an aluminum crank' case with crankshaft extending out of both sides. There is an 'L' stamped on the crankcase, but the s/n has been eroded away. There is a tapped hole in each of the heads, possibly for a fan mounting. So far I have found no information on this engine. Can any one be of help? Lester Dickey, 1178 E.,500 S., Anderson, IN46013
To J. R. Maulsby, 416 Green Acres Drive, NW, Huntsville, AL 35805 for sending along service information on several types of carburetors.
33/12/6 Galloway Engines
Ernest Bina, RR 1, Box 164, Lankin, ND 58250 has a Galloway 3 HP, s/n 47311 and needs further information on it, including the method of connecting the fuel tank to the mixer. He also inquires about whether any remnants of Galloway Company still exist, and unfortunately they do not.
33/12/7 West Bend and Others
Jesse R. Wright, 471 Broadwell Dr., Nashville, TN 37220 sends along a clipping that shows West Bend eventually became a part of U. S. Motor Power Inc. Also, Power Products engines were eventually taken over by Tecumseh Products in Grafton, Wisconsin.
33/12/8 Standard Tractor Registry Michael Murphy writes:
I am starting a registry for any tractor made by Standard Engine Company, including Standard Twin, Standard Monarch, Standard Walsh, and Standard Garden Tractor. Also, the Allied Motors Corporation, including: Viking Twin and Viking 3, and the American Farm Machinery Company, including the Kinkade garden tractors. Anyone having any of these machines, please send your information to:
Standard Tractor Registry
c/o Michael Murphy
1441 Crestmont Drive
Downingtown, PA 19335-3742
33/12/9 Witte Engines Q. Can you provide manufacturing dates for the following engines: 3HP Trojan (built by Witte) s/n 56567 1 or 2 HP Witte, s/n 5318 James Beedh, 610 N. Grant, Erie, KS 66733.
A. The first engine was built in 1921; the second in 1923.
33/12/10 Rock Island Engine Q. 1 have a Rock Island 2 HP hit-and-miss engine, s/n A78856, and would like to know when it was built and the correct color, or other information. Kevin McWhorter, 32391 Olympia Rd., Minier, IL 61759. Email: FDRAOOLE@FCG.NET
A. The Rock Island engines are brown, comparable to Du Pont 24590. We have nothing else on Rock Island.
33/12/11 Monitor Engines Q. Can you tell me the year built of the following engines? Monitor 1 HP, s/n 42360; Monitor 3 HP , s/n 9551. Harold Carlin, 306 Indiana, Rapid City, SD 57701.
A. In order, they are: 1930 and 1916.
33/12/12 Wisconsin Engines Alexander L. Thomson, 21 Peter Road, Woodbury, CT 06798 writes, regarding 33/9/11 and 33/9/14. He identifies both of these as Wisconsin engines. Mr. Thomson writes in part:
I think that the vertical air-cooled mentioned by John Beaty in 33/9/11 is a Wisconsin. They produced numerous models of single cylinder engines such as the AA, AB, ABS, ABN, AK, AKS, and the AKN. All of those engines are covered by Parts & Repair Manual TTP2OO41, available through Wisconsin dealers. The company still produces several models of single cylinder engines, all being heavy duty industrial models.
The engine described by Robert Rowe III in 33/9/14 is a Wisconsin. The T-Series Wisconsin engines are two cylinder vertical and were and still are built in a variety of configurations. Early models such as the TF and the TD were used on balers, compressors, and other equipment. The early models have an even firing order with power pulses at 360 degree intervals. They were built with shimmed, poured bearings on the connecting rods. The large counterweight on the crankshaft made them a very smooth engine. Later versions such as the TJ employ a 540-180 degree firing order which eliminates the need for a counterweight but causes an uneven firing order like the John Deere horizontal engines. Later models also use insertable bearing shells for the connecting rods. All models use tapered roller bearing for the mains. The D-suffix indicates hardened valve seats for longer life.
Wisconsin engines are very forgiving, long lasting, and easy to repair. They definitely are not throw away items. They are available in rating from 7 through 65 horsepower. Engine configurations may be one- or two-cylinders and the V-4. The company is now known as WisCon Total Power Corp (a combination of Wisconsin and Continental). The address is 3409 Democrat Rd., PO Box 181160, Memphis, TN 38181. Tel. 901/365-3600.
33/12/13 Novo Engine Q. I have a 1 HP Novo engine, s/n 65248 and would like to know when it was built. I also have a 4 HP Sta-Rite engine, s/n 10098, and would like to know its age; also the correct color scheme, and whether a Wizard Type 61, Model 4 magneto will work on this engine. Bill Millward, RR 3, Utterson, ONT P0B 1M0 Canada.
A. The Novo engine was made in 1920. The only information we have on the Sta-Rite is that it was gray, similar to DuPont LS144.
33/12/14 Unidentified Crawler Q. See the photos of a small crawler, 36 inches wide and 89 inches long. The pads have rubber strips between two angles. It has a Briggs & Stratton 10 HP engine, built 1949-1957, which looks to be original. There are several casting numbers, such as 494 on the clutch and brake pedal. It has turning clutches and brakes. There is no identification plate. Any help in identifying this tractor would be appreciated. Dan Schmitt, 11920 Ponca Road, Omaha, NE 68 U 2-1035.
33/12/15 Ottawa Engine Q. I have an Ottawa 7 HP engine, sin HI9374- What year? How do you get an engine clean enough to paint, and what is the correct color? Earl J. Langel, 2341 -250th St., Milford, IA 51351-9736.
A. We believe the Ottawa engine is red, similar to DuPont RS904- There is no s/n information on these engines. Sanding and degreasing are the major requirements prior to a new paint job.
Once the engine is polished down, be sure to degrease it so that the primer will bond properly. We've always thought that the painting was the fun part . . . cleaning up an engine can be downright drudgery in our estimation.
A Closing Word
While on our European tour last summer, our friend Ed Westen was talking about Strait's tractor, built by Killen-Strait at Appleton, Wisconsin. Originally the company started out as Killen-Walsh in 1913 or perhaps a year earlier. Lacking capital the firm then reorganized as Killen-Strait in 1914 and continued until 1917 or 1918 (see page 169 of Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors). Ed's father owned a Killen-Strait tractor, so of course he has quite an interest in the company's history. Thus far, he hasn't found anything on the Killen-Walsh phase of the company. If anyone can be of help, contact Ed Westen, E2762 Hwy F, Kewaunee, WI 54216
Previously in this column the question was raised about cleaning up an old engine. Years ago, before all the exotic cleaners appeared, the method was to take a gallon can, fill it nearly full with water, and then pour in a can of lye. This mixture takes off almost everything. Adding a little soap helps the mixture stick to the metal. After it sets a short time, hose it off thoroughly. Always pour the lye into the water . . . NEVER pour the water over the lye! Always wear a face shield! Always wear protective gear! This old method's been around for years, and while we're not telling you this is the way to clean up an engine, we are telling you about the method, along with adding some precautions, which you should heed religiously if indeed you're inclined to use this method.