Tractor Owner's Dilemma: 1917


| January/February 1998



Historic Photo

This historic photo comes from J. C. Allen and Son, Inc. of West Lafayette, Indiana, and is reprinted with permission.

J. C. Allen

If you think You've got troubles, take a look back to wartime, when tractor owners and operators faced problems of shortages and delays that usually were tougher than those of peace time today.

Among our readers who lived through World War II are doubtless many who recall the effects of rationing on the civilian sector.

The same effect occurred during World War I, when the government cut back stringently on civilian supplies of fuel, and the call to the armed forces depleted manpower on the home front.

It was a Catch 22 kind of puzzle: How to produce more at the exact time that you were having trouble finding equipment to run, more fuel, and a way to get repairs done fast.

Here is a letter written by T. F. Finch, of Box Elder, Montana, to the state's Governor S. V. Stewart, dated May 18, 1917, which tells the story in plain words.

'Gov. S. V. Stewart' Helena, Montana