Detailed Descriptions of Vintage Tractors

Author Photo
By Wilfred Koskela | Jul 1, 1967

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Photo courtesy of Dorothy B. Smith, Ontario, N.Y.
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Photo courtesy of Dorothy B. Smith, Ontario, N.Y.

Wilfred Koskela shares detailed descriptions of vintage tractors with G.E.M. readers.

The front cover picture and the story by F. R. Orr in January/February
issue is interesting to me as I have operated many Aultman-Taylor
tractors and am interested in descriptions of vintage tractors. The oldest was No. 69 on the Pioneer farm 10 miles south
of Lakota, N.D. This No. 69 differed in that it had no heater
jacket on the intake manifold and there was a separate water pipe
from each twin cylinder block into the radiator tank instead of a
larger pipe from the manifold heater out that branched into two
near the radiator tank in the later models. Also different in the
No. 69 was the crankcase had no oil troughs under the connecting
rods to dip in but had a flat bottom that had to have more oil in
it. In going uphill the oil would run back to the pistons flooding
the cylinders and fouling the spark plugs so on a longer uphill pull
it would cause considerable trouble with missing ignition. In the
later models with the oil troughs this trouble was eliminated
altogether. On the Erick-Kyllonen farm near Brocket, N.D. they had
two of the square radiator models and two of the later round
tubular radiator models on which I worked for years so I got to
know these tractors from end to end. The open air flow square
radiators would collect dirt into the water jackets under the
cylinders which had to be cleaned out occasionally. The closed
round tubular radiators eliminated that trouble in the later
models. They were good tractors.

Wesley Hammond of Leicecter, New York, owns this 25-50 Massey
Harris tractor. It was made in late. 1935 or early 1936. The Massey
Harris company bought out the Wallis Co. and at first called their
tractors Massey Wallis. This tractor was the first one using the
Massey Harris name. Only a few of this model were sold out of the
Batavia, New York branch. This tractor had but two owners and was
kept in good running condition until it was no longer used. Wes
bought it and exhibited it at the 1966 Pioneer Gas Engine Reunion
in Fairville, N. Y. In the picture, it is shown powering his
Ireland drag saw. This was completely rotted down and he did a
beautiful job of rewooding it. Makes a real nice exhibit.

This 1923 Model R 25-45 Oil Pull tractor is owned by Franklin
Orbaker, Vice-President of the Pioneer Gas Engine. Association. It
was bought new in 1923 by a thresher in Ovid, N. Y. Franklin
purchased it in 1927. He used it to thresh grain and beans, to run
a 4-run pea viner, to saw lumber and husk corn until 1936. It was
rebuilt in 1962 and has been at the PGEA shows and the Pagents of

Does anyone have a McVicker Automatic gasoline engine? These
engines had no timing gear or push-rod. The igniter was tripped in
the combustion chamber by a set screw in the head of the piston.
The exhaust valve was opened by a rocker arm under the horizontal
main cylinder.

The arm was actuated by a small vertical piston that was pushed
out after the main piston passed a port near the end of the power
stroke. The intake valve opened by the suction of the intake stroke
as usual. The speed was governed by a small weight on a leaf spring
on the hub of the flywheel that would lift off the electrical
ground contact from a commutator ring that was around the
crankshaft fast on the main bearing. While idling it would keep
compressing the same charge every revolution until the electrical
contact would ignite it. Any stroke out was a power and/or intake
stroke. The engine I knew was 6 hp.

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