THE ADAMS COMPANY

By Staff
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Glenford, Ohio 43739

Some time back I was searching through my large collection of
agricultural implement catalogs and folders for a friend who was
restoring an old tractor and needed colors for reference. In the
search I came across the catalog of the Adams Company. It has been
in my possession since 1914 and one of the things of interest to me
was the two-roll corn husker. At that time, I had hoped to persuade
my father to buy one.

The power required for the two-roll Adams machine is listed in
the catalog as  6 HP. Our 4 HP Associated engine ran an 8-inch
feed grinder very well and the Adams agent said it could handle the
husker, but maybe not to full capacity. Well, I was never able to
talk dad into buying the husker although the agent did sell two or
three in this area.

Those who have husked corn by hand out of the shock know that it
is a time consuming, back-breaking job. It merits a few words about
corn harvest in our community. No one cut corn before the first of
August as it was said it would spoil; but harvest was begun on the
first of September, weather permitting. First, the corn was cut and
placed in shocks, ten or so acres taking twenty days or more. When
the corn was thus cut and shocked, the ground between the rows was
disced in preparation for sowing wheat. Often, the discing was
completed prior to the fly-free date for sowing wheat (October
10th, most years) and some corn husking was done immediately after
the discing.

After taking two or three days to get the wheat into the ground,
the corn husking began in earnest. Two shocks were husked and the
ears thrown into one pile between them. The fodder from four corn
shocks was made into one fodder shock. Fodder was valued for
livestock feed over the winter and was hauled to a convenient
location for winter use. The corn hauling was carried on if the
corn got too dry for easy husking.

The ears of corn piled at two shock intervals were picked up by
hand and pitched into the high-sided wagon. At the corn crib they
were then shoveled off by hand, another back-breaking task. When
both the piles of ears and the shocks of fodder were removed from
the field, a strip remained across the field where each row of
shocks stood and the space between these strips had been drilled
with wheat. When the weather and husking progress permitted, we
often disced the narrow space where the row of shocks had stood and
drilled this area with oats for horse feed.

So you can see that corn husking lasted over a long period of
time. If your corn was husked by Thanksgiving time, you had done
well. This was my motive for the purchase of the Adams corn husker.
Later on, in the 1920s when tractors became more plentiful, there
were five corn husking outfits in our area. We no longer needed a
husker of our own. The use of a large husker powered by a gasoline
traction engine enabled us to have the corn in the crib and fodder
blown into the barn well before Thanksgiving. The men in our area,
who had formerly made extra money by cutting corn by the shock and
hand husking it by the bushel, were now employed by work in feeding
the larger machines.

One part of the Adams catalog dealt with the Adams traction
gear. Many of the commercially made tractors of the time were of
rather large size and were expensive. They really had no place on
the small farm of 100 acres or less. The Adams Company had the
answer. They said that if you had a stationary gas engine, put it
on our traction gear and be in business! Their gear was made in two
sizes, the No. 1 suitable for engines of 8 HP or less and the No. 2
for engines up to 16 HP. The specifications for these gears
were:

No. 1 Gear:

Rear wheels 36 x 9′, steel cleated. Front wheels 28 x
4′, steel. Frame, 5′ steel I beam. Platform, 3×5′ for
engine.

No. 2 Gear:

Rear wheels 50 x 12′, steel cleated. Front wheels 32 x
8′, steel. Frame, 6′ steel I beam. Platform, 3×6′ for
engine.

A photograph in the Adams catalog shows one rather large size 16
HP engine mounted on the No. 2 traction gear. There was not much
room left for the driver! Several of the photographs show an
upright screen cooled engine which leads me to believe the two
cylinder Cushman engine was popular for the application. Alan
King’s Volume 2, page 29, of Gas Engines lists such a two
cylinder Cushman.

Other companies made traction gears similar to the Adams,
permitting the small farmer to have a small, inexpensive tractor.
The P. E. Shirk Company of Blue Falls, Pennsylvania made a gear for
4 to 15 HP engines. The Victor was made at Loudonville, Ohio. (See
pages 27 and 30 of ‘The Agricultural Tractor
1855-1950’.)

The Adams gear was listed as made in 1910. I have yet to see one
of these at any gas engine show. Other items listed in the Adams
catalog include farm wagons, engine trucks for the largest to the
smallest grain elevator or blower, and four types of saw frames.
There is also a price list card loose in the catalog giving the
price of the two-roll husker at $198 and the four-roll husker at
$298, although the latter is not shown in the catalog. It also
lists the grain elevator or blower at $50 and the saw frame at $20.
Blades for the latter were $5 for the 26-inch diameter and $7 for
the 30-inch.

A verse on the back of the dealer’s business card describes
the advantage of the small gas tractor:

‘The tractor on the farm arose before the dawn at
four,
It drove up the cows and washed the clothes and finished every
chore.
Then forth it went into the field just at the break of day,
It reaped and threshed the golden yield and hauled it all
away.
It plowed the field that afternoon and when the job was
through,
It hummed a pleasant little tune and churned the butter,
too.
and pumped the water for the stock and ground a crib of corn
and hauled the baby around the block to still it’s cry
forlorn.
Thus ran the busy hours away, by many labors blest,
and yet when fell the twilight gray, the tractor had no
rest,
for while the farmer peaceful eyed, read by the tungsten’s
glow,
the patient tractor stood outside and ran the dynamo!

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