A Winch in Time

Mystery History of 1948 Case SI Outfitted with an Evans Winch Finally Comes to Light


| December/January 2003



Virginia Governor William Tuck

Bill DeHardit

Alfred Evans (right) explains the workings of his winch to Virginia Governor William Tuck (seated) and Charles Upham, engineer-director of the American Road Builders Association, in this 1940s publicity photo. (Photo courtesy Bill DeHardit)

Back in the March 2003 issue of Gas Engine Magazine, I wrote about the discovery and restoration of my 1948 Case SI, serial no. 5212750. It is an unusual tractor, because where the belt pulley would normally be located, there is a two-speed gearbox instead. The following information is printed on the gearbox:

AL EVANS WINCHES GLOUCESTER VA ENGLEWOOD NJ

During the Case's restoration I tried, unsuccessfully, to find information about Evans winches, about how the missing winch mounted on the tractor, and what was the winch's intended purpose. However, since the article was published, all of these questions have been answered, due to the many alert and knowledgeable readers of Gas Engine Magazine. I received many letters and phone calls from readers who had information on my Case, enabling me to piece together the details and history of my winch tractor.

Alfred Evans

Alfred Way Evans started his company after purchasing the rights to manufacture a hand-operated winch called a Pull Jack. Once established as a manufacturer, he developed a more powerful, powerdriven winch that mounted on Fordson tractors. This unit was sold and shipped all over the world and was used extensively for clearing forests. When Ford switched from the Fordson to the 9M, Evans turned to Case for a suitable tractor. He ended up mounting his winch on Case SI tractors fitted with steel wheels, which proved to be a very effective combination; the company described it as a 'land-clearing and stump-pulling tractor.'

Evans liked performing dramatic demonstrations of his equipment to prove its efficacy, and on one occasion he used a Case winch tractor to pull over a 7-foot-diameter cottonwood tree. He hooked a line about 25 feet high in the tree, and using snatch blocks and a tackle, he pulled the tree away from the tractor and down to the ground. For another demonstration, he suspended a 5,600-pound weight from a cable controlled by a Case winch tractor. He then stood under the weight and had the winch operator lower the weight to just touch his out-stretched fingertips. Putting his arm down, he had the operator lower the weight until it just touched the top of his head. Talk about trusting your own design!