| September/October 1990

Back in the April 1990 GEM, John Hamilton submitted an article on tractor design, specifically on chassis design. Hopefully a study of Mr. Hamilton's article has been beneficial to those contemplating a model tractor. When it is considered that these and many other decisions must be made in designing a model, then consider the challenges which faced the early tractor designers. At the time there were virtually no reference books whereby it was possible to make the design off the shelf. For those builders fortunate enough to have experience in mechanical engineering the problems were big enough. However, for the erstwhile tractor designers without a technical education, designing a tractor was indeed a challenge.

Beyond the chassis and steering layout came other necessaries, such as the layout of the final drive system, drawbar arrangement, and of course the selection of an engine. Given the state of the art some eighty years ago, we will never cease to look at the early designs with amazement. In short, we must give a lot of credit to our ancestors for their determination in designing workable farm tractors. To put it another way, look back on some of your own mechanical projects. In all honesty, some of these are crude at best, at least that is how the Reflector feels about some of his past projects. In this perspective then, it is much easier to be forgiving of our ancestors for having built some tractors which we now consider to be the very epitome of crudity. But then, they didn't have a lathe, a welder, an acetylene outfit, or a full set of micrometers. For many of them, the shop was a shade tree, and the tools consisted of an anvil, a forge, and a 5-pound hammer!

Due to the rush of summer activities we don't have a lot of correspondence this time, but we begin with:

25/9/1 Fairbanks-Morse Q. I have a Fairbanks Morse Z, 17 HP. The only identification on it is a number moulded on the side of the crankcase. If this is the serial number, could you tell me anything about it? The number is 7682A24. Any information will be appreciated. Barry J. Tomyke, Box 148, Stonewall, Manitoba ROC 22,0 Canada.

A. Perhaps this engine was built by Canadian Fairbanks; we don't know. The number is certainly not anything with which we are familiar. A photo would be most helpful. Meanwhile, perhaps some of our readers might have some information.

25/9/2 N O D A Engine Q. Is the N O D A one lung gas engine anything special? Is it a Japanese or American engine? The engine is tight but looks in good shape with all the parts. I am not too familiar with restoring engines. I worked on one, but I sold it before it was done. Also, how much is a 1936 Allis-Chalmers WC with cultivator worth? It is stored inside. Henry Baerg, 433 Amatsubo, Minami Ashigara-shi, Kamagawa 250-01 Japan.