Boise, Idaho 83704
The picture is of a 1 HP IHC engine my dad got for me. The
machinery on the ground is the blower pipe turntable and reverse
gearing of an old Case wind stacker. Dad had to replace it with a
later, gearless type.
Actually my love for machinery goes back further than this. Dad
let me ride with him on the Hart-Parr ’27’.
The first tractor I tried to drive was a LaCrosse ‘Happy
Farmer.’ About the first thing I did was turn too short and
catch the spade lugs on the grain binder tongue.
When I was 12, I helped my uncle thresh and plow with a 30-60
Oil Pull. I soon learned to adjust the fuel and water carburetors.
(Water was used with the fuel to control pre-ignition.) I also
could stop and start the thresher and idle the engine.
When plowing, we used an eight-bottom, independent beam,
hand-lift plow. I could drive the tractor as the steering chains
were disconnected from the front axle and steered only a single
wheel which turned the front wheels around the ends and ran in the
furrow through the field to guide the tractor. It was about ten
feet out in front of the tractor on a triangular frame. The tractor
had one speed, 1.9 mph.
My uncle also taught me to drive his model T T Ford truck. I had
to look through the steering wheel. It had a top speed of about 15
At about this same age I ran dad’s 30 HP Minneapolis steam
engine on a sawmill. It was easy to keep up steam firing with slab
wood. We also had an 8-16 Mogul which I could start and drive to
drag logs, etc. I also ran it on a rock crusher. It would run on
the cheapest distillate, but took lots of water as it was hopper
When I was 15 or 16 I bought my first threshing out fit a 12-25
Avery and a 24′ Case Standard threshing machine. It was the
only one I ever saw like it. Most small Case were 22 or 26′
A little later I bought a 20-40 Case tractor and 32-54 Greyhound
machine. It was the only one I ever saw like it, but it was a good
machine. I soon traded the Case for a 25-50 Avery to get more
power. I broke quite a lot of prairie sod, powered ensilage
cutters, etc. with this tractor.
Dad and I have owned most of the tractors in the Avery line: a
two row, 6 cylinder motor cultivator, 8-16, 12-25, 14-28, 25-50 and
40-80. We used them for sawing wood, house moving, moving oil well
drills, threshing, silo filling, cultivating, planting, grading
roads, plowing, etc.
One time I bought an old 10-20 Mogul that had sat for several
years. The neighbors thought it would never run again. I got it
running and farmed with it for a while.
In 1929 I bought a used 10-ton Holt and pulled a township road
grader two seasons.
In 1932 I bought a new (never used) 20-30 Oil Pull. It sat at
the dealer’s for several years. It gave a lot of trouble,
partly my fault and partly the tractor, I suppose.
In 1933 I bought a used 10′ Holt combine. It did pretty well
until it got into long fluffy straw. It had only an 18′
cylinder and would choke up in the feeder housing. As far as I know
this was the second combine in Woodson County.
In 1934 I got a new (built in 1929) McDeering 22-36. This was
one of the best tractors I ever owned!
From 1936 to 1957 we lived on the same farm and had a Farmall H,
4 Fords, a D2 Cat and an Oliver 55 diesel. Also had a 10′
Massey-Harris S.P. combine.
This all took place within five miles of where I was born,
southeast of Yates Center, Kansas.
From 1957 to 1972 I owned and operated two machine shops, so I
have been connected with farm and other machinery from the repair
The other picture is of six of our twelve grandchildren. The
grand-daughters are driving my model Samson Iron House tractor
pulling a cart. This model is powered by an old B and S washing
machine engine and drives with lines like a team of horses.
I still work part-time in a machine shop and work on small
engines, so am back where I started, running and repairing small