| January/February 1986

  • Massey Harris  12/20

  • Massey Harris  12/20

Route 5, Box 82, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa 52641

Massey Harris began building the 12/20 in 1929 and continued until 1936 when it was replaced with the Pacemaker. The 12/20 A 37/8 bore by 5 inch stroke produced 12 HP at the drawbar and 20 HP on the belt pulley, and would run on gasoline, kerosene or distillate.

My grandfather, father, and myself as well are Massey Ferguson dealers. This tractor was sold new in 1934 to Earl Canby of Winfield, Iowa who farmed 120 acres with it until 1946 when he traded it in. The Massey was overhauled and put in a shed waiting for the next customer to purchase it. With the new rubber-tired, more efficient tractors of the late 40's, the tractor was never resold. Some of the mechanics who worked for us would give the crank a few turns every time they passed it in the shedthis kept the newly overhauled engine from becoming stuck.

In 1971 I was 15 years old and the antique tractor bug hit me. I begged my father to let me get the old tractor out and get it running. He finally agreed, and with the help of one of our mechanics, Lloyd Zickafoose, the tractor was running like new in a matter of a few days. I wish all tractor restoration was this easy. After I was well versed in the starting and operation of the 12/20, I was driving the tractor all over the farm and I even hooked it up to an old pull-type plow just to see if I could scour the bottoms. When I was convinced the tractor was in fine running condition and all the oil leaks were fixed, I proceeded to clean the many years of dirt and grease off of it. I then repainted the tractor. As a young man of 15, the paint job was crude but effective. I found some old decals from a Massey 44 and adapted them to the 12/20.

With the tractor running like new and a brand new paint job, my 12/20 was ready for its first public showing, at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. A very proud 15-year-old boy drove his Massey 12/20 in its first parade past a grandstand filled with thousands of people. The Massey has made every reunion since except for 1984 when it was torn down for some needed repairs and a shiny new paint job.

Along with the Massey 12/20 I have in my tractor collection a Wallis 20/30, a Massey twin power Challenger, an Allis Chalmers WC, an Allis Chalmers U, and a Rumely 40/60 Oil Pull. I have one more tractor I hope to add to my collectiona green Challenger on steel.


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