Boise, Idaho 83704
This is written in response to a letter from Vince Dailey,
Ronan, Montana, published in the May-June 1978 G.E.M.
When I was nine or ten years old, which would be 1920 or 21, we
lived on a farm in eastern Kansas near Yates Center. Dad bought a
used La Crosse Happy Farmer tractor. It was his third tractor. He
had a 27 Hart Parr and a Model L Emerson before that.
One of the interesting features was the final drive gears. They
consisted of several segments probably one and one quarter inches
thick with rather course teeth. The pinions were rollers on pins
between two plates. Dad said they worked fine until he got stuck in
mud and then the rollers did not roll and they got a flat side on
them and they wore rapidly.
Originally the radiator and fan set crossways, facing the
direction of travel. The fan drive was by a round leather belt
going around two idler pulleys. The belt was difficult and
expensive to maintain. He turned the radiator lengthways and used a
The ignition was a K2 Atwater Kent, which had some kind of catch
and trip arrangement. It consumed only a small amount of battery
current (hot shot or four dry cells). It was hard to keep working,
especially in dust.
The motor ran backward. I remember Dad standing behind the
tractor and pulling on the flywheel to start it.
This was the first tractor which I tried to drive. About the
first thing I did was turn too short and caught the spade lugs in
the grain binder tongue.
One of the jokes about the ‘Happy Farmer’ was that they
were not sure whether the farmer was happy when he got the tractor,
when he ran it, or when he got rid of it. We junked the tractor
about 1923 or 24.