1766 McGraft Street Muskegon, Michigan 49441
I have read so many interesting articles on old engines in the GEM I thought perhaps I should share my experience with a company-owned 9 HP United hit and miss.
It was in the early 1920s or thereabouts that Dad and four other neighbors got together and purchased the engine from a farmer living about 10 miles from our place. This farmer bought a new 4-wheel drive Fitch tractor, made in Big Rapids, and had no further use for the United.
The farmers in the neighborhood had just erected woodstove silos and bought a new IHC silo filler.
This engine was equipped with a buzz rig. The joint owners always helped each other out during wood buzzing and silo filling.
Usually in the first part of January, the owners would meet at our home with their records. Each farmer had his record of the hours that he used the engine. They would place the money at the center of the dining room tableana men the money was equally divided among the members. The ones who used the engine very little got more money back from the kitty than they contributed.
Dad always got less back as he had a 30-foot silo and buzzed more wood since he sold seasoned wood to people living in the nearby town of White Cloud for home heating.
The engine did a pretty good job of filling the 20-foot silos but the pipes would plug up quite often when filling Dad's 30-footer. They had to stop the engine, fold back the filler cover and clean out the pipes. Dad got impatient so he began to hinge back the hood with the filler running. The silage in the pipe would fall down on the blower and be blown all over the place! This worked fine until one time the hood got hit by the blower and then Dad decided it was too risky.
After that incident, we cut a hole in the pipe near the blower and fitted a cover to the hole; then we could clean out the pipe with the filler running.
This worked fine but there was usually a wad of silage between the hole and the blower that had to be cleaned out by hand or with a corn stalk. One time Dad reached down a little too far and the blower fan tore his fingernail loose after that he was more careful!
I graduated from high school in 1931. I was always interested in machinery so I bought an old 4 cylinder Dodge car for about $20.00; a Ford truck rear axle at $4.00; junked binder wheels and from these built a tractor. I cabled up a pulley on the front of the engine and with six strap hinges made a governor.
We used this mess on the silo filler then the filler pipe seldom clogged. Could fill a 20-foot silo in half a day providing the fellows cutting corn could keep up.
When I built this tractor, the cylinders were honed out and over size pistons and rings were installed. On one of the cylinders, the oversize wasn't enough so it used oil on that one cylinder. As I had put a straight pipe through the hood for the exhaust pipe, it was funny to see it puffing blue smoke rings each time the exhaust valve opened.
This tractor did a good job of buzzing but was not good at plowing.
In 1939 Dad decided to buy his first tractor a new Ford Ferguson with a 16' plow. We rented twenty acres from a neighbor and planted Navy beans. It was a good year and Dad made enough off the beans to pay for the tractor and plow, which I believe was about $750.00.
The owners were all 'old country Swedes' and I still have pleasant memories of them sitting at the table talking in their broken English.
The old United was sold for scrap during World War II. I have gone to several old engine shows but as yet, have not seen anything like it.
I still have a few old tractors and antique farm machinery. Had a 15-30 Rumely I sold. Would like to hear from the man who bought it.