A Faithful Old Friend


| July/August 1984

  • Garden tractor

  • Garden tractor

310 South Jefferson Street Brownsburg, IN 46112

The garden tractor became like a family member on March 5th, 1937. My father ordered it from the Sears Catalog. I was 16 and remember well how we went to the train depot to pick it up crated disassembled. The first year the turn brake linings were too soft, pulled the rivets and ruined the drums. Sears sent a man out and furnished new harder linings.

Some tractors were beginning to have rubber tires on the front wheels at this time. Most farmers still preferred steel on the back. Our new garden tractor had spade-lug metal wheels 3 feet in diameter and 12 inches wide. The 4 HP Briggs and Stratton gasoline engine pulls a 10' plow. Everything, including the wheels are built onto the transmission. It has oil encased chain sprocket drive. The clutch is an idler driven by a 2' flat belt. It had the original one until 1982 when a new one had to be especially ordered and manufactured. The new belt cost $31.00.

My dad died in 1939 and I plowed gardens, up and down the street, in Pittsboro, Indiana, for several years. In the spring of 1943, my new 18-year-old bride took an Indian blanket along and watched from the sidelines. She learned how to help me put on the different attachments. After 40 years she is still helping. Yes, Old Faithful is still plowing each and every spring. I don't use the harrow or laying off shovels anymore.

The tractor could have a sulky seat but we never got that. It is a walk-behind and according to my youngest son a 'man killer'. It does separate the men from the boys on the corner turns. It does the work of a team of horses but doesn't eat much hay just sitting there in the corner of the garage waiting for spring!