| January/February 1984

  • War Machine

  • War Machine

73461 Broadhead Road Kimbolton, Ohio 43749

Only a portion of the World War I war machine was motorized. A large share was horse and mule-drawn. Heavy purchases of horses and mules by the U.S. War Department left American farms seriously underpowered. This crisis coincided with a world shortage of grain. As an effort to meet this demand, the Pullford Co. introduced its small farm tractor. It was equipped with a model T engine and drive train. It would operate only on gasoline. Numerous attempts by various experimenters failed to produce a satisfactory kerosene carburetor for the model T. Rumely and International tractors burned 7 kerosene efficiently. Pullford would only operate on 16 gasoline. Although Pullford's initial cost was very competitive, the high fuel cost penalty prevented volume sales.

By 1930 petroleum refinery processes produced a much higher production of gasoline from the crude. Gas at 13 was a better buy than kerosene at 11 as a gallon of gas produced more power than a gallon of kerosene. Later development of the diesel engine revised the power output of oil, but this was years later!

Of the limited number of Pullfords sold, most were scrapped prior to the Great Depression. During the 30's there was a serious cash flow problem on the small farms. Maximum production of saleable products was reduced by using horses or mules. New tractors were priced out of reach of the average small farmer. Small used tractors were very scarce.

Our Pullford was back in business. It efficiently replaced three draft horses. It did all our farm work and was also used for custom harvesting. It pulled a six-foot binder very well.

By 1940 Firestone was putting the farms on rubber at a reasonable price. The Pullford was retired to the storage shed. Forty-three years later, we cleaned it up and repainted it.