1916 Case

By Staff
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The Case show in the above photo as it looked in 1986, Ashton, Idaho.

Route 5 Box 9, Idaho Falls, ID 83402

The first part of this story was submitted to me by Marie and
Herman Lenz of Idaho Falls.

In 1916 Arnold Kuhnroth of Ash ton, Idaho, a small town not too
far from the border of Yellowstone Park, decided he wanted a
tractor to replace some of the work done on the farm by horses.
There were no dealers in Ash ton or the Snake River Valley at that
time, and a salesman came through the area from Salt Lake. Arnold
had a talk with him and purchased the 1916 Case through a catalog
order. It was shipped by rail in 1917 to Ashton.

Arnold and his brother, Albert, used the tractor until 1920.
They only used it for plowing because it was so slow. Arnold often
remarked he could walk faster than the tractor would go.

They only used the crossmotor Case on their farm fourteen miles
east of Ashton and also on a rented farm. Arnold and Albert did all
other farm work with horses and in 1920 went back to only using
horses, just leaving the tractor set. After farming for several
more years the brothers rented their farm out. In 1967 prior to
Arnold’s death he gave the Case tractor to Lawrence Lenz of
Idaho Falls.

I heard about the old three-wheeler from my brother about
fifteen years ago. It was parked in a grove of pine trees near
Arnold’s farm and was all complete at that time. About four
years later I decided to talk to Lawrence Lenz about a purchase and
went up to Ashton to take a look and see what shape it was in. The
excitement I had walking up to her soon changed to anger and
despair. Somebody did not like old iron so they put a chain around
the copper radiator and literally tore it off. Then they got their
trusty little hack saw out and cut off the steering arrow. They dug
a little deeper and found a wrench to take off the fuel tanks and
also the seat and bracket. Then they finally decided to quit
dissecting the poor old tractor. Luckily all the engine, wheels and
sheet metal were intact.

After talking to Lawrence a few times we agreed on a purchase
price for the 10-20 Case and I bought it in 1976. The following
weekend I rented my neighbor’s trailer, called up my old iron
friend, Carlos Nelson, and nephew, Don Petersen, and left early
Saturday morning for Ashton. We arrived around 9:00 A.M. at the
tractor site and went over to Eddy Lenz’s farm to borrow a
tractor to pull the Case onto the trailer.

After loading her up, which was about 11:30 A.M., we headed back
to Ashton for a bite to eat and parked in front of a restaurant. It
was interesting to see the people look and chuckle at the old Case
tractor.

Finished restoring the Case in 1981 which took three years to
complete in my spare time. Went up to Oscar Cooke’s Dreamland
in Montana to get all necessary measurements from his 1915 Case for
my radiator, fuel tanks and other missing parts.

The tractor and engine were completely torn down to every last
nut and bolt, parts were sandblasted and primed. The engine was
stuck pretty bad and it took a lot of solvent and pounding to get
the pistons free from their 60 years of being idle.

Had to pour all new babbitt bearings and machine new parts etc.
Got the babbitt work done just in time too, because the old
gentleman who did the pouring passed away six months later, bless
his soul. Also had to replace fender and side metal for engine
enclosure and nine new cone lugs for the outrigger wheel.

Have shown the 10-20 in Fourth of July parades in Idaho Falls
and won a few trophies with her. She’s also been on display in
the local Teton Mall the last two years for their Agriculture Day
and draws a lot of spectators.

Am presently restoring a 1917 LaCrosse Happy Farmer and also
still looking for parts for it, but having lots of fun. I am
looking forward down the road to showing her in parades, etc. when
finished.

Gas Engine Magazine
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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines