The 1923 Farmall

| November/December 1986

805 S. Main St., Sandwich, IL 60548

This tractor was fourteen years old when I purchased it from the Grandgeorge Implement Company located in Somonauk, Illinois, DeKalb County. The year of purchase was 1937. After doing some needed repairs and painting the color I.H.C. grey, it was put to work at jobs which a tractor was used for in those days.

I shall now attempt to describe the various features of this experimental tractor of which only a few were built. There were no numbers on the engine block. This machine was used to maintain a golf course as it had very wide steel rims on all wheels. The engine was low compression and had an Ensign two bolt carburetor which was bolted to the hot manifold and would burn kerosene, using gasoline to start with. The ignition system used a Splitdorf magneto. The governor case was designed round and there was only one governed speed which could be adjusted with the use of a spring tension which was contained inside the case. The throttle and magneto control shaft were low down and parallel with the frame and had a quadrant the same as the 10-20. The crank is offset with a gear case which had a pull rod to engage it for starting the engine. The brake cables had pulleys bolted to the frame of the tractor. It had an open and exposed pinion gear which engaged with a larger spur gear and beveled gear which engaged a quadrant gear which attached to the bolster shaft that was splined and tightened with a heavy bolt. This was a great improvement.

A heavy cast iron cover on the axle housing was made to receive the seat spring. The later tractors were bolted to the top of the axle housing. There was a notched plate bolted to the bull gear case which was used to raise the drawbar to three different positions. I made new plates with holes inserted and bolted them to the housings. I made this change to accommodate the two row corn picker. That machine certainly made life easier for me. I bolted two heavy gusset plates to the transmission case and rear axle strengthening the frame to bear the weight of the corn picker. These were also used in later tractors. I designed and built a mechanical manure loader in 1947. Due to the war, I was not able to buy a machine so I figured a way to build one. It was very successful and I used it on this tractor until 1970 at which time I bought a 1939 used Farmall with all the new features and transferred the loader to it. I use it quite as often as it has tremendous lifting power. So, the old Far-mall was not used much anymore.

After having used the Farmall for several months I decided to give it a complete overhaul. The engine was laid across the frame which made it easy to work on. I replaced the main bearings, resleeved the block with new sleeves and pistons, new exhaust valves and new sleeves for all eight valves. I cleaned everything of dirt, old paint and grease. Then painted it International red with new decals. After all of that was done, the Farmall ran and looked new again. This was all done in 1942.I must say the upkeep cost of that machine was very low considering the many years I used it. After a few years of use, I changed the front wheels. There was much wear to the straight roller bearings in the front axle and as they caused erratic steering it was necessary that I do something about the problem. I obtained a front end bolster and wheels that were on a late H tractor which had been in a fire; putting in new bearings and races and with some machine work it was adapted to the Farmall. These wheels were reversible so I could spread them out for muddy field harvest condition during corn picking time. This change raised the front end about four inches. I used the Farmall then for several years to pick hundreds of acres of corn for many neighbors.

Once I retired the Farmall from use, it sat around in the rear of a building for several years. I was planning to restore the Farmall but it needed parts which I had junked so I sent a request for help to Gas Engine Magazine. They printed this request but said I probably would have a very hard time to find them. It was sometime later that I received a call from an Ivan Weaks who lived near Delta, Ohio. He was interested and asked if he could see the old tractor. He came and looked at it, wanting it for his I.H.C. collection because it was the only one he didn't have.