Albert Eshelman on the IHC Titan 45 Tractor

By Staff
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Photo courtesy of Roger L. Eshelman, College Springs, Iowa.
2 / 10
Photo courtesy of Leonard James, Napoleon, Michigan.
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Photo courtesy of Roger L. Eshelman, College Springs, Iowa.
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Photo courtesy of Roger L. Eshelman, College Springs, Iowa.
5 / 10
Photo courtesy of Roger L. Eshelman, College Springs, Iowa.
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Photo courtesy of Roger L. Eshelman, College Springs, Iowa.
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Photo courtesy of Roger L. Eshelman, College Springs, Iowa.
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Photo courtesy of Roger L. Eshelman, College Springs, Iowa.
9 / 10
Photo courtesy of Roger L. Eshelman, College Springs, Iowa.
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Photo courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.

Raleigh Woltmann interviews Albert Eshelman about his restoration of the IHC Titan 45 Tractor.

In the September/October issue of the G.E.M. I promised a written copy
of a tape recording made the day an old IHC Titan “45” tractor was
started after being buried 30 to 35 years in a ditch.

We found later we had made a mistake in calling this Titan “45” a “30-60”. The “45” was manufactured
from 1910 to 1913. After 1913 a few changes were made and it was
called a “30-60”. We have been told that this tractor had
been sent back to the factory a few years after it was manufactured
for some repair, changes, and additions. This could have been some
of the changes the “45” underwent in becoming the “30-60” in 1913. The following is the tape recording. I
have edited in spots for easier reading without disturbing the
content.

Raleigh Woltmann: Hello there, this is Raleigh Woltmann. I
am here at Elliott, Iowa. This is March 27th, 1966 on one of the
side streets of Elliott along side of Albert Eshelman’s shop. I
have Mr. Eshelman here to visit in regards to a phenomenon of
tractor restoration centered around a “30-60”
(“45”) Titan; isn’t that right Albert?

Albert Eshelman: Yes.

Raleigh: Albert, where
did you learn of this unusual tractor and where did you find
it?

Albert: I had learned about it about 2 1/2 years
ago at Emerson, Iowa. Two good friends of mine. Quentin and John
Shultz, went down with me and we looked this over and they insisted
that I go to work on it and get this tractor out of the ditch; this
ditch that it had been buried in for 30 to 35 years. It was in the
bottom of the ditch. We went to work on it with a lot of effort and
it took us almost a week to figure out how we could get this out of
the ditch. We tried different pieces of heavy machinery including a
back hoe, which wasn’t very successful, and we also used a TD
18 IHC and we finally ended up with a large wrecker from Griswold,
Iowa, Mr. Kinsers, and a dragline we had to dig it out of the
ground.

Raleigh: With that lengthy story undoubtedly you
can see that Albert here has run into a lot of work and cost to
bring this thing up to surface and as I can imagine that drawing
this from mucky ground that this was buried in that there was a lot
of work in cleaning and restoring this, wasn’t there Mr.
Eshelman?

Albert: Well, after I had gotten it out of the ditch I had decided to go
no further. It looked pretty near impossible, but as I said before,
my friends encouraged me on again to try to make it run; and that
is what we are going to do here today. As soon as we are over with
this little recording we’re going to try to start this tractor
right here on the grounds, after 2 years of hard work restoring
it.

Raleigh: By the way we have just become
acquainted with Cloid McDowell. He is quite certain he is one of
the few men and maybe the only man living who had anything to do
with this tractor in its hayday.

Cloid: That’s right. It looks very natural
since he has it rebuilt and painted . . . . The last time I operated
this tractor was in 1919 and as far as I knew it could have been
junked or not used since then. I never kept track of it; but I know
that the last time I ran it was in 1919 for Mr. Honeyman who passed
away several years ago.

Raleigh: Mr. McDowell has disclosed to me that
he worked for the Honeyman family almost 50 years ago, before he
was married, and he will celebrate his Golden Wedding Anniversary
next year and that was back in . . .

Cloid: That was in 1916 and I ran this in the
fall of 1919, three years after I was married. I worked for him in
1910 and worked for his mother, Mrs. Ella Honeyman, in 1911 and
1912 and I’ve been around the Honey-mans for years, I guess
there is only one left now and that’s Lawrence. I haven’t
seen him here yet today but he’s to be around somewhere.

Raleigh: And Mr. Honeyman bought this tractor
used you recall, to refresh your memories.

Cloid: I think it was a used tractor when he
got it, yes. Far as I know it was. I don’t believe he bought it
new. That’s been quite a while ago and if a fellow don’t
remember that stuff and pay much attention to it . . . but I’m
sure glad to see it again in the shape it is in now. It really
looks better now than it did when I used to run it — course it is
cleaned up now and everything painted up and it looks real
good.

Raleigh: Mr. McDowell, at that time it was
probably one of the few and maybe the only tractor of its kind in
the neighborhood. What is your recollection.

Cloid: Only of that size. It was the biggest
tractor in the country at that time.

Raleigh: Did the Honeymans ever plow with this
tractor?

Cloid: No, I don’t think there ever was a
plow hooked on it, not as I remember. He got a plow tractor
afterwards but he never did use this one. It was used for threshing
only. . . He ran it on a fodder shredder some too. He had a
shredder. He shredded fodder and that took quite a bit of power
too.

Raleigh: Without a doubt these early tractors
were probably more successful for belt work for the fact they had
horse power to draw something but nothing to power a belt to a
pulley threshing machine, shredder and the saw mills . . . Well, I
think we’ve taken a fair amount of time now and Mr. Eshelman
has designated 2:30 pm for the official starting of this tractor
after the 2 years of restoration. He has invited neighbors and
friends from a long ways off that are in this type of antique
restoration and they have responded to his call. I would estimate
from 200 to 300 people here today that are deeply and directly
interested in this piece of work.

Cloid: It’s really interesting to me to see
this kind of rig back where it will run again and they should
preserve this. It’s something that should be kept. There
hain’t very many of this kind in the country that I know of . . . . It’s quite a piece of work I’ll tell you, to pull that out
of the mud and clean it up and make it look like it will run . . . and I think it will too. We’re going to try it in just a little
bit.

Raleigh: I don’t believe there is any doubt
about it at all. The amazing thing is that a tractor built 50 years
ago laid idle, buried and could be made to run
. . . . Well we’ve
been reminiscing here and like I said, it’s past the 2:30 mark
and we’ve given Mr. Eshelman the okay to start this tractor . . . . Now we will wait for the first puff of — maybe that isn’t the
right word — the first explosion that will come from this engine
that has been silent for 30 years or more . . . . Putt, Putt, Putt,
Putt, Putt . . . . (The sound of the Briggs and Stratton
starting engine.)

Raleigh: Mr. Eshelman has replaced the air
cooled engine. It is not original. It is gear driven to a fiber
pulley that runs on the flywheel face. Bang! — Bang! (Backfire of
the Titan engine).

Cloid: Well she shot twice didn’t she! Putt, Putt, Putt, Putt, Putt . . . . (The Briggs and Stratton
starting again.) CH, CH, CH, CH, CH, sss, sss, sss, sss CH, CH, CH,
CH, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, CH, CH, CH, CH, CH, CH, CH, CH, The
Titan “45” running under her own power. (A burst of
applause from the crowd.)

Cloid: That’s remarkable! That thing
going like it is a being in the mud hole that long. CH, CH, CH,
sss, sss, sss, sss, CH, CH, CH.

Raleigh: To me, I’ve restored cars, and
this engine is performing better than I had expected it to;
starting it for the first time. He seems to have it timed very
well; apparently it is carburation that needs adjusting. CH, CH,
CH, CH, CH, sss, sss, sss, CH, CH, CH.

Raleigh: It’s amazing the smoothness it
runs! CH, CH, CH, CH, sss, sss, sss, CH, CH, CH, CH, CH, CH, sss, sss,
sss.

After the foundry went out of business a farmer bought it and
mounted it on a saw rig. When I got it, nine months ago, the farmer
hadn’t used it for 10 or 15 years and had been sitting outside
all this time. But it was in good shape, except for the fact that
it was so rusty. It runs very good now.

That is the end of the tape recording. I want to add that the
carburetor was changed and that the Titan “45” runs very
good now, and moves under her own power. Albert Eshelman has 5
children, 2 girls and 3 boys, and I want to speak for all of them;
Well done Dad! I might also add that we were all on hand for the
starting of the tractor.


The following pictures are of the old Titan “45” from
the initial digging to the finished product. To anyone coming
through this area, please feel free to stop in at Elliott, Iowa and
see this tractor.

Mr. Eshelman uncovering the cooling tank of the Titan. The tank was removed to decrease the weight of the tractor.

Threshing beans on Raymond Hyatt farm, west of Napoleon,
Michigan, fall 1963. 20-40 Oil pull built in 1918. Pitts beaner
built in 1906. Leonard James on the engine, and Robert James
feeding the separator.

The Titan as it appeared after removal. A muddy mess! ! !

The tractor on the bank of the ditch after removal from the hole in the foreground. Notice the deep ruts in the mud made by the wheels. Here you can get an idea of how deep the tractor was buried.

Mr. Eshelman in the process of removing the pistons. Maybe this is hard to believe but the original piston rings were used.

Mr. Eshelman standing between the wheel and the gearing. Gears and other parts hand scraped and sand blasted.

Replacing the flywheel-crankshaft assembly. The weight of this assembly was almost 1 1/2 tons.

The finished product being pulled from the shop for the first starting.

The Titan “45′ under her own power in August 1966 at the Elliott Fall Festival.

My Starite, 4 1/2 hp engine, S.N. 694, speed 300 RPM with a bore of 5 1/2 and stroke of 7 feet. It has a hit and miss governor and is fired with battery and vibrator coil to a spark plug.

This picture should be in color to show the gaudy colors it is painted, as the flywheels are bright red and the rest is peacock green. These are the original colors.

This engine was used to drive the blower of a foundry at Sauk City, Wisconsin until 1912 when it went out of business. When it was new – the date of manufacture — I have never been able to find out.

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