photos by Doug Swift
Carl Van Wylen’s three-wheeled Kaywood, possibly the only
one made, made its debut after restoration at the Hartford Old
Engine and Tractor Show.
At the 6th Annual Hartford Old Engine and Tractor Show in
Hartford, Mich., on Labor Day weekend 2002, we had the largest
display of locally made tractors of any show I’ve seen.
What a sight to see – Friday, Love, Tructor, Parrett and
Kaywood, all sitting in a nice row. There were two Kaywoods on
hand, one of them a three-wheeler owned by Carl Van Wylen of Sand
Lake, Mich., and possibly the only one ever built (see Gas Engine
Magazine, August 2002). The other was a four-wheel Kaywood owned by
Wayne Bolton of Niles, Mich. There were also two Parrett tractors
on display, a four-cylinder and a six-cylinder.
One rewarding part of researching these locally made tractors is
sharing information with people who never knew their family was in
the tractor business. The late Ferdinand ‘Ferd’ Thar was
half owner of Kaywood, and also ran large farms in Michigan and
Florida. I’ve located two of his daughters, three of his
grandsons and one granddaughter, some of whom knew nothing about
Ferd’s activities making Kaywoods until I told them.
Also on display was the 1936 Love Tructor owned by Frank
Prillwitz, Eau Claire, Mich. Ron Goller, from Defiance, Ohio,
brought an ‘improved’ Love tractor built by David Friday of
Hartford, Mich. Ron’s tractor has a 6-inch by 10-inch cast
aluminum tag on the left side of the hood proudly proclaiming its
Don and Dave Baiers brought a very unique Love tractor built
sometime around 1944. It has a four-cylinder Ford Model A motor, a
Ford transmission and a Ford rear end. It was built on a unique
frame made out of 24-inch I-beam, laid flat with holes cut out for
where the motor, transmission and rear end are placed. The story
goes that during World War II, when metal was scarce, J.R. Love
heard about a large bridge being torn down in Chicago, Ill. He sent
a man to check it out and ended up buying the bridge I-beams to use
as frames. The Baiers’ Love tractor is one of these so
The circa 1944 Love tractor belonging to Don and Dave Baiers.
Note the frame, said to have been made from a section of 24-inch
I-beam salvaged from a bridge.
Don and Dave also brought a 1950 Friday tractor (equipped with a
six-cylinder Chrysler industrial motor) that once belonged to the
late Michigan state Senator Charles Zollar and was used on his
farm. Don and Dave also brought along their rare Minneapolis-Moline
Fred Rinehart of Hartford, Mich., brought his John Deere LI
industrial, custom-painted red at the factory for the city of
Chicago, which bought 50 of the tractors. Also on hand were the
1917 and 1918 Waterloo Boy tractors restored by the Paul Bolinger
family of Chelsea, Mich.
The show featured the usual number of garden tractors, as well.
Carl Hewitt brought his John Deere Model M, formerly owned by the
state of Michigan, painted yellow and equipped with a sickle mower.
Mart Deegar brought his John Deere 340, also in mint condition, and
I brought my patio tractors – restored and painted four colors; red
and white, blue and white, orange and white, and yellow and white.
Always a crowd pleaser.
Charles Avery brought one of his Avery tractors. Norm and Ken
Funk brought their BO John Deere along with a unit built to look
like a Rumely and powered by a large hit-and-miss engine. They also
had two smaller units similar to the ‘Rumely’ and built on
Sears garden tractor frames.
Larry Manley brought his load of antique washing machines, all
running, and Chuck Pickney brought an unusual display made from a
propane cylinder. Chuck pours water in it, which comes out the
bottom and then goes up through a check valve from where it is
pumped through a copper pipe six feet high and then back into the
tank – all by gravity. The people of Cedar Springs must be proud of
Chuck, because he goes to a lot of shows each year.
Don Peck brought his portable sawmill and shingle mill and cut
logs all three days of the show, Chuck Bergstrom helping him with
that and with the threshing, also.
There were some good, rare buys at the flea market, including
three Bantam garden tractors and a Swisher mower. Two of us saw
them pull in – I was second and got the Swisher, which is very
unique. Another man bought all three Bantams in less than five
Special thanks to Doug Swift of Doug Swift Photography, who took
the pictures I’ve included. Doug said he had never been to a
tractor show, and that he had only intended to come out for an hour
to take pictures. He arrived at 8 a.m. and left at 5 p.m.!
‘I’m going to see more tractor shows from now on,’ Doug
said. Amen to that.
Contact engine enthusiast Robert Hall Jr. at: 444 S. Olds
Ave., Hartford, Ml 49057-1355.