Eimco ‘Tower Horse’

By Staff
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Theo with dump rake, 1992 Belgrade show.
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Fellow in suspenders is Mr. Bonham, 1990.
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Theo with buckboard at Lynden, Washington show.
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Prototype from 1937 Popular Mechanics.

456 N 300 W, Kanab, Utah 84741.

This unique tractor filled a need as it replaced the horse on
the small farms and ranches in the west.

The ‘Power Horse’ was designed to hook up to the horse
drawn equipment- ‘no need to buy more equipment with this new
‘horse’,’ was one of the selling points. It was
designed to control completely from the seat of a mower, dump rake,
wagon or sulky plow, etc.

Just snap the reins, like with a horse, and it closes the two
control clutches and you’re off; pull on the reins and you
stop. Pull extra hard and the tractor will back up; release the
reins and go back to neutral. Then back to snapping the reins and
you’re off again. Pull left line back and the tractor will
start a left turn. Pull one rein back to reverse and the other in
forward and the tractor will spin a turn in its own length.

This tractor is four-wheeled drive and weighs in at 2500 pounds.
Roller chains drive the wheels in the large side castings.

To this tractor’s gear box, transmission and wheels, an
Allis Chalmers B engine was added, giving the power horse the
‘Allis’ look. The tractor will pull about 80% of its own
weight. Instead of spinning down like other tractors, it starts to
crow hop like a four wheel pickup.

The Bonham brothers, Bond and Bert, designed and built the power
horse with Eimco Machinery of Salt Lake City, Utah doing the
casting work. (See photo of prototype from 1937 Popular Mechanics.)
The tractor was in production from 1937 through 1941. Mr. Bonham
told of World War II shutting them down. Eimco Machinery was also
building mining equipment. The military figured that mining
equipment was more important to the war effort than tractors. Eimco
still builds mining equipment today.

When the Utah club hosted a small show in Hurricane, Utah, one
of the club members invited Bert Bonham, who then lived in St.
George, about 20 miles distance. Mr. Bonham was very pleased to see
what was happening to his old ‘power horse’. (He can be
seen in picture with reins in hands).

Bonham told us about building the power horse and the problems
he had. We have noticed power horses are several different colors:
some Allis Chalmers orange, some copper. Mr. Bonham said with war
conditions power horses were painted with whatever color they could
find. Our power horse is tan and brown.

To restore our ‘power horse’ there are parts of three
gear boxes, plus an engine from an Allis Chalmers tractor which we
bought under the red cliffs of Bryce Canyon National Park in the
small town of Tropic, Utah.

The first time we started our tractor and tried the clutches we
had the tractor blocked up so there was no ground contact. This
turned out to be a very smart move, for when we closed the left
clutch, a pin dropped out. Had it been on the ground, it would have
locked in a turn and would have been very hard to reach the kill
button.

We have had this ‘power horse’ to a number of shows,
from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, to Phoenix, Arizona, from Vista,
California, to Linden, Washington, to name a few. It has always
sparked much interest wherever we have shown the power horse.

At a show at Belgrade, Montana, we had the opportunity to work
the ‘power horse’ as designed. A horse drawn dump rake was
hooked to the draw bar. A large field was raked to move the straw
off, so the Peerless steam tractor could pull the 20 bottom
plow.

I noticed many cameras and videos in use while pulling the dump
rake. This made the project very worthwhile.

Antique tractors is a most enjoyable hobby. We hope to see you
next summer at one of the many great shows.

The power horse was built in Salt Lake City, Utah, so the Utah
club has decided to feature the Eimco Power Horse at the
EDGE&TA national meet at Salt Lake City in 1994.

For anyone out there trying to restore one of these fun
‘power horses’ who may have questions, we will be happy to
help. Just write or call Theo or Wesley McAllister, 456 North 300
West, Kanab, Utah 84741. Phone 801-644-2254.

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