Bluffs Man Bought First UDLX

By Staff
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In this 1938 photograph, Allan Tuttle stands beside his Minneapolis Moline UDLX, of which only 150 were ever made. He purchased the first one sold in the United States. (John Tuttle collection).
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Jim Worden of RD 1, Box 62, Rodman, NY 13682 sent us this picture of his family's Farmall tractor QC 4881. The tractor is driven by his son George and brother Andy, taken in the same spot where it was delivered new in 1926 to Jim's grandfather George. It

The Minneapolis Moline UDLX tractor, of which only 150 were
made, has special memories for 79-year-old retired farmer and
businessman Allan Tuttle of Scottsbluff. When he was living and
farming in Marshall County, Iowa, he purchased the very first UDLX
sold.

Tuttle had been wanting a big tractor, and when he saw the UDLX
advertised he bargained for it. ‘The price at that time was in
excess of $2200,’ he said, ‘but they made me a special deal
on it. I think I bought it for $1,800 cash.’

As the first buyer in the United States to purchase the UDLX,
Tuttle rated special recognition.

‘When I bought the tractor, they had a big deal up in the
St. Francis Hotel in Minneapolis,’ he remembers, ‘and boy,
they put on a shindig up there like you can’t believe. Had all
the big company officials and farm papers and local papers. It was
quite a deal. Along about midnight they took a picture of me
getting the key sitting out in front of the hotel.’

He also received an 18-carat gold watch fob as a memento of his
purchase. On one side of the fob appear the two Minneapolis Moline
M’s, and on the flip side it is inscribed to ‘Allen (sic)
Tuttle. The world’s first owner of a M-M Comfor
tractor.’

‘There weren’t too many four-wheel-drive tractors in
central Iowa at that time,’ Tuttle said. ‘Most tractors
were tricycle type, row-crop tractors. There were a few of what we
call three-plow tractors. International Harvestor made a big
tractor at that time, the 2236, but the price would have been less
because of all the extras in the Minneapolis Moline cab.’

The four-cylinder gas engine was a good one, according to
Tuttle. ‘It performed real well. I had a big farm and a lot of
livestock, I pulled big trailers with it, used it on the belt, used
the power takeoff. And in the wintertime you’d get in that
thing you didn’t have to freeze to death. It could certainly
plow snow, had high clearance, big tires. Lots of snow we could go
through with that thing.

‘That tractor was used awful heavy. It wasn’t a
plaything in any sense of the word.

‘It has a lot of power, and it stood up well for the way we
used it,’ Tuttle continued. ‘Of course, you couldn’t
cultivate with it or do row-crop work. The wheelbase wasn’t
right on the tractor for cultivating, and there was no adjustment.
It was mainly for plowing and tillage and that kind of
thing.’

Besides the three working speeds forward, the UDLX had a 14 mph
speed and a 40 mph speed.

‘It would drive down the road just like a car,’ Tuttle
said. ‘Of course, it was a little dangerous because it had such
a short wheelbase, but it was well balanced.

‘It was just unbelievable the things we did with that
tractor besides just straight farming,’ he added.

One incident he especially remembers. As he tells it, ‘One
time in particular we had a young man and his wife right close.
They came over at midnight. It was 25 below zero, and they had a
little boy 3 years old and a baby a couple of months old. The baby
had pneumonia, and we had one of those 48-hour blizzards. The roads
were all closed, nobody had been over the roads at all and we were
8 miles from town.’

‘I had a young fellow working for me. I called him and we
went out and got this tractor and we took about a 100-foot cable.
This fellow got his pickup truck started, and he got his wife and
two children and we headed for town. I don’t know how we ever
made it, but we never stopped. It had cleared off, and the wind had
gone down. It was a beautiful night. But the good Lord must have
had his eye on us because we made it.’

‘They said if we’d been just a little later getting to
the hospital the baby would have died.’

The tractor was used frequently to pull bogged-down vehicles out
of the mud. ‘A lot of times on mud roads in the spring of the
year some dad-gummed idiot would drive off in the mudhole, and
I’d pull him out,’ Tuttle said.

Sometimes the snow would work to Turtle’s advantage. ‘I
had a couple of young fellows working for me,’ he said. ‘We
kind of liked to have a little fun once in awhile. When we’d
get one of those big blizzards we’d just tie in to it and get
our work all done. Then after lunch we’d go to town in the
tractor.

‘We had a friend who had a billiard parlor, a pool hall.
We’d start down the road, and we’d charge them a dollar. We
needed $5 for playing pool and refreshments. After that we
wouldn’t charge them,’ he laughed.

Tuttle would also go rabbit hunting in the timber with the
tractor when the weather was bad.

Tuttle used the tractor five or six years, then sold it when he
went into the implement business.

‘A fellow who didn’t live too far from me bought the
tractor and some of the big equipment that we had with it during
the war. He had some bad luck with it, upset it, set it
afire.’

‘I heard that he ended up taking the cab off and taking the
tractor to the junkyard.’

Tuttle cannot understand why the tractor ‘didn’t take
off. Of course at that time people had one tractor, two at the
outside, a row-crop tractor. But we were farming heavy enough that
we had extra.’

‘I’d have thought it would have been a valuable tractor
in dry-land country where there wasn’t row-crop work.’

Jim Worden of RD 1, Box 62, Rodman, NY 13682
sent us this picture of his family’s Farmall tractor QC 4881.
The tractor is driven by his son George and brother Andy, taken in
the same spot where it was delivered new in 1926 to Jim’s
grandfather George. It is still stored in the same barn, and is
pretty much in original condition. New rear tires were put on in
1938, and a new mag in 1948.

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