1941 Krohne Tractor

Necessity Breeds Manufacture The Krohne Manufacturing Co.

| June/July 2002

Henry 'Hank' Krohne sitting on one of his Krohne tractors sometime around 1941. Hank built the chassis himself, sourcing the running gear and other hardware from readily available new and used sources. All told, he built 50 of these tractors, most of them evidently staying in Michigan.

Henry 'Hank' Krohne of rural Hartford, Mich., a large tree fruit, vegetable and grape farmer, needed a new tractor. In early 1941 farm machinery was hard to acquire, so Hank decided to take matters into his own hands, turning his attention to building his own.

Hank built his tractor drawing from a combination of new and used parts. His tractor used a Ford Model A motor, a Ford Model A transmission coupled to a Ford truck transmission (which was evidently used much like a transfer case, most shifting being done through the Model A transmission), a Ford truck rear end, an Allis Chalmers gas tank, a custom-made hood, 16-inch front tires and 12-inch by 28-inch rear tires, all pulled around a 6-inch channel-iron frame. The resulting tractor was fast and durable. Painted a distinctive bright red, these tractors sold for $800 in 1941, and all told Hank made 50 Krohne tractors.

The Bronte Winery and bottling plant in nearby Keeler had three Krohne tractors on their 140-acre grape vineyard to disk and haul out wooden boxes of grapes on a 4-foot by 10-foot trailer.

The surviving Krohne tractor, which Robert has since purchased. The Ford Model A engine is clearly visible despite years of overgrowth.

The only known surviving Krohne tractor, which has been sitting idle for the past 45 years. Robert was able to buy this tractor the same day he finished putting this story together.