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
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
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
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.,
To J. R. Maulsby, 416 Green Acres Drive, NW, Huntsville, AL
35805 for sending along service information on several types of
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
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:
A. The Rock Island engines are brown,
comparable to Du Pont 24590. We have nothing else on Rock
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
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
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
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
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.
Vintage 1920’s South Bend Catalog
Pages from a 1920’s vintage South Bend catalog give instructions for mounting con-rods in a lathe and boring the bearing.
Low-Tension Ignition System
Bringing some understanding in a nontechnical way as to how the simple battery and coil and the low-tension rotary magneto ignition systems work.
Weidenhoff Model 818 Magnet Charger
David Cave creates his own documentation through this internal and external examination of his Weidenhoff model 818 magnet charger.