Sent to us by Marvin L. Proctor 1326 East Third Pratt, Kansas 67124
One engine and tractor enthusiast who does not want to wait until he retires to enjoy restoring gasoline engines, old trucks, and tractors is Marvin Proctor from Pratt, Kansas. Marvin, a Pratt Community College mathematics professor, has found a perfect way to combine his skills in mathematics with his interest in his hobby.
After traveling uncounted miles, Marvin found his mysterious tractor in a local salvage yard less than a mile from his home. Two years after he first saw what he thought was an Allis-Chalmers Model B, he decided to investigate and was surprised that the tractor turned out to be a Harvey Power-Flex Model '10'. This identification was made from the decal on the front of the tractor, since there was not a manufacturer's name plate. He had never heard of this make of tractor, and to this date has a limited amount of information as to the origin of his Harvey tractor.
The Harvey Power-Flex '10' is a small tractor measuring 40 inches in height at the hood. The overall length is 86 inches, and its width is 51 inches. The rear and front tires are standard 8.00 x 24 and 4.00 x 12. This size makes the tractor more maneuverable for gardening.
After Marvin purchased his tractor in November 1981, he and a friend loaded the tractor on a trailer. This task should have been easy, but the steering gear was frozen and had locked the front wheels at about a 15 degree angle. This was an early indication of the condition of the entire tractor. After much maneuvering and zig-zagging, the tractor was finally loaded.
The steering column was broken and rusted from weather exposure, causing the mechanism to lock. Marvin then rebuilt the steering gear from Ford car parts taken from three other steering gears. He noted that the steering column was bent and cut badly from rubbing against the dash. This damage was caused from the stress of mounting the tractor from the side and grasping the steering wheel for leverage. He later bolted a brace from the control panel to the floor of the tractor to give added support to the steering column. On the back of the steering wheel the letters IH are stamped. These letters have not proven to be a source of information about the origin of his Harvey tractor because the rubber and plastics company makes steering wheels for several other motor companies.
After the steering gear was repaired, Marvin removed and identified the engine as a Clinton one cylinder, 9.6 HP, Red-Horse model with a cast-iron block. The Clinton engine is cantilevered in front of a ? inch steel bell housing. The housing is bolted by three bolts to each side of the framework. This unusual placement of the engine enables the 6-volt combination starter and generator to be belt driven from the front of the engine. Although the starter windings were still good, the generator windings had shorted out. He felt this was too expensive to have repaired, so he substituted a 12-volt system in place of the 6-volt system. This and the steering column brace are the only modifications that have been made while restoring the Harvey tractor.
After Marvin totally disassembled the tractor and had each piece sandblasted, he tore down the differential. One of the keyslots was broken and the other badly worn. He found an old Ford axle, and he had it turned to shorten the length and tapered to fit the end of the wheel housing. Bolted to the front of the differential is the gear reduction unit. While repairing the gears, he noted 'American Gear Company, Harvey, Illinois' was stamped on one of the gears.
The hitch assembly is mounted to a plate that is located underneath and to the center of the tractor. The snow blade that is mounted to the front of the tractor is also attached to this plate. Therefore the work loads are balanced from the center of the tractor whether the tractor is pushing or pulling. When purchased it was obvious the snow blade was bent. This indicated to Marvin that his small tractor had been abused above its maximum limits. The 1? inch x 3 inch channel-iron frame has an 8? inch extension welded to the front of the frame. The snow blade is mounted on this extension. On the right front extension is stamped the number 1121. It is not known what this number indicates, whether it is a part number or the tractor's serial number.
During the restoration of his Harvey tractor, Marvin found several clues to prove that this was a manufactured tractor, but he has met with several dead-ends as to the origin of the tractor. For example the Clinton Engine Company and the American Gear Company are no longer in existence. It is not known when the gear company ceased to exist or if it was absorbed into a larger corporation. The Clinton Engine Company was located in Maquoketa, Iowa. The American Gear Company was located in Harvey, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Is this a coincidence? Or is this where the Harvey Power-Flex Model '10' tractor originated?
The Ford car parts that were used to manufacture the tractor are from the years 1939 to 1948. Marvin seems to think that his Harvey tractor can be dated between the years of 1949 to 1952. It is during this postwar period that many companies were building tractors, but to date only a few have survived. The tractor is assembled from many Ford car parts, including: front hubs, differential, steering gear and knuckles, hydraulic turning brakes with a master cylinder for both sides, clutch and transmission with three-speed column shifting, and both brake and clutch pedals. The front Ford wheels were cut to fit the rims and the front axle was cut and shaped in a jig. In addition to the parts that were cut in a jig are brackets that hold the channel iron to the differential and a mounting for the steering gear that was also cut and then bent to a 90 degree angle.
By September 1986 Marvin had begun to re-assemble his tractor. Before he had the fenders and hood parts sandblasted and the dents removed, he made detailed tracings of the decals and matched the original colors. After buffing the oxidized orange paint from a small area on the hood, he found the color matched perfectly to the orange that was used by Allis-Chalmers. The yellow paint matched the yellow used by Mayrath. The Mayrath tractor is like the Harvey tractor in that it is no longer being manufactured. The restoration has been completed, and the Harvey tractor is again capable of performing the work load for which the tractor was designed.
While in the process of restoring the tractor, Marvin has exhibited his Harvey garden tractor in several gasoline engine and tractor shows. Without the decal identifying the tractor as a Harvey Power-Flex ' 10', at a glance the color and the design of the tractor are similar to an Allis-Chalmers B, except it is a smaller tractor. In his spare time, Marvin tackled the tedious and time consuming process of reproducing the tractor's decals. These decals were cut from mylar vinyl using an exacto knife and jeweler glasses. Except for the modern materials used in cutting the decals, it is difficult for a person to note the difference between the new decals and the original.
Not only has Marvin worked many hours in restoring his Harvey garden tractor, but he also has put many hours into investigating the origin of his tractor. Although there are several clues to prove that Harvey is not an only tractor, these clues have not provided any information to the Harvey tractor's history. Marvin would appreciate any correspondence with anyone that may have information about the Harvey tractor's history, or from anyone who owns a Harvey. Replies may be sent to: Marvin Proctor, 1326 East Third Street, Pratt, KS 67124.
About the author-Jean Small, a student at Pratt Community College, wrote this article as part of the requirements for her 'Problems in Creative Writing' class, Jean returned to education after her daughter started high school, Jean, along with husband Jim and daughter Leona, lives at Sawyer, Kansas.