FORD Tractor Story

| January/February 1999

  • Ford Tractor

  • Ford Tractor

  • Ford Tractor

  • Ford Tractor
  • Ford Tractor
  • Ford Tractor

2821 Wilmington Road, Lebanon, Ohio 45036

Here is a group of pictures of my 1955 Ford tractor, model 850, serial number 22047. This story is about the finding and restoring of the tractor that I had hoped to obtain when I was sixteen, but did not get until I was forty.

I was raised around a 9N Ford and a 1952 8N Ford tractor. After graduating from college and spending many years teaching school, in 1980 I started looking around for a 1952 Ford 8N. I could not find one in southern Ohio. I finally found a 1955 Ford 850 that had been mechanically overhauled and was for sale. At Christmas of 1981 I bought the Ford tractor and a grader blade. Since that time I have bought a Dearborn two-bottom plow, a six-foot disc and a lift pole. I have tried to restore all these pieces of equipment mechanically and cosmetically since that date. In 1986 I found a gentleman who agreed to steam clean and paint my tractor. He did a great job. We also got the radiator and starter rebuilt when we had all the sheet metal off the tractor.

In January of 1991, my wife bought me a book called Ford Tractors by Robert Pripps. In the book I noticed a bearded gentleman by the name of Bill Ficken, manager of Strojney Implement of Mosinee, Wisconsin, in a picture holding a crankshaft for a Ford. I wrote the company and a few weeks later the gentleman called me after school. I asked him if he could find a lift arm for the left side of the three point hitch on a Ford 850. He said yes, so I sent him the money and I received the arm a few days later. The old one had been welded. I then continued to search for two radius rods. The ones on the tractor had been welded because the first owner had a loader on the tractor. I finally found two radius rods in a tractor graveyard near Springfield, Ohio. I carefully sanded, undercoated and painted the three new pieces of iron for the tractor and put them on. This made the tractor look better in my eyes. In 1993, I needed to get a new tube, tire and rim. The calcium chloride had destroyed everything on one side of the tractor. I ended up buying two tires, two tubes and one rim. This was expensive but I really had no choice.

During the 1998 summer I repainted the red belly of the tractor. The tractor really does look good. I use the tractor in the spring and fall to plow and disc my garden. During the winter I need to keep my long driveway cleared of snow. During the fall I cut wood to heat our house. I really have used the tractor every weekend of September 1998. The pictures I have sent are of recent times using the tractor to haul wood out of the woods to my house. I cut 100% hedge apple trees or thorn trees (osage-orange) with a big green apple on the trees. These trees are really a pain on cattle, bush hog mowing, tires on tractors, and your skin when cutting the trees. I am not cutting valuable trees such as maple, oak, hickory, ash, and other hardwoods, but I am trying to clear a rather large cow pasture of this unwelcome invader of southern Ohio, hedge apple (osage-orange).

I am trying to find two ribbed 6:00x16 front tires for my tractor. I cannot find two-ribbed, only three-ribbed tires, which seem only to be available in southern Ohio.

Maybe somebody will start making these tires again. I would be interested in knowing if anybody makes them. I thought Miller Tire Company of Wauseon, Ohio, would get them for me, but at the Portland, Indiana, show this past May 1998 I talked to them and they did not have the two-ribbed tires.

I have enjoyed the sixteen years I have spent with my 850 Ford tractor. I wanted to buy this tractor when I was in high school but I had to wait for 22 years before I could afford the time, money and energy to get the tractor.

I hope the pictures prove to be of interest to some readers.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

Facebook YouTube


click me