Memories of Tractors and Gas Vehicles

By Staff
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Photo courtesy of Harry Bonnema, Lemars, Iowa.
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Photo courtesy of Sherman Kline, Mt. Airy, Maryland.
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Photo courtesy of Sherman Kline, Mt. Airy, Maryland.
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Photo courtesy of Harry Bonnema, Lemars, Iowa.
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Photo courtesy of Harry Bonnema, Lemars, Iowa.

Sherman Kline’s memories of tractors and gas vehicles.

As I sit here in the warm you can look out and see the trees all
covered with ice. They look like beautiful big crystal chandeliers
with the sun shining on them.

I promised Elmer a little story for the G.E.M. about tractors and gas vehicles. So will do so.
First a little about how this started. I was born in January,
1901.

My first recollection of Farm Motive power was steam, but that
is another story.

The first gas vehicle I remember was a motorcycle, which was a
Henderson. There were two brothers, Willie and Glenn Green, who
rode past our home. We were just little Shavers at that time.

The first automobile I ever rode in was a one cylinder Cadillac.
How nice the thing seemed to ride. My father got his first car in
1918. It was a Maxwell. We wore this car completely out.

In about 1920 my mother got an Economy 11/2 horse power gas engine to run the washing
machine and it was a good engine. We were on a large farm at the
time.

In 1921 the farm was sold so Dad sold out and moved to a small
farm. I had to look for a job or rather it came to me in the form
of a neighbor. He had an old Fordson Tractor. While there I bought
my first auto, which was a new Model T Ford Coupe 1925. While there
I also met the girl who was destined to be my wife. That was forty
years ago.

After our wedding trip my father-in-law asked me to go in
partners with him on his farm. You see, I married his housekeeper
as his wife had passed on.

Now the gas business — he had a Fordson Tractor which we used for
several years with four horses and said tractor.

He also had parked back of the shed a “Little Bull
Tractor,” a three wheeled tractor which I as a youngster just
had to see it work. I managed to get it going and had a lot of
experience with it.

I also had an IHC Titan which I used to pull stumps on about 5
acres of new ground. Finally the Little Bull and The Titan were
scrapped for war scrap.

Then in 1935 I traded the old Fordson on a new Model C Case. The
picture with the spades on is the way it looked when I bought
it.

This is a Massey Harris Pony. I do garden plowing, etc. with
this outfit. Also does the belt starting on some of my stubborn
engines.

As time moved on so did the advance in farm power. In order to
use it on the hay fields I had to put it on rubber as the spade
cleats would push the hay down in the ground so deep that the rakes
of that time could not get it, also to move it on the paved
highways. Then I ran into another problem.

In plowing on heavy sod, the sod wheel kept slipping so I would
stall. Next I had to install independent brakes, that made it work.
Next power takeoff machinery began to be popular, so I had to
install a power shaft. This lasted a few years, then the
hydraulic systems took to the field. So I decided to buy a new tractor
with every thing on it.

I then decided to paint the case and spruce it up a little, so I
could put it in some of the shows. So you see we, the Mrs. and I,
have been going to some of these — what do you call them? — Steam
Shows. The picture which has the top on it is as it looks
today.

I installed an air brake system from a truck on it so I could
pump up the tires and spray paint, also last but not least to Blow
Steam Whistles with air.

Some of my 430 gas engines. Picture taken at the Booneville
threshing show in 1964. The air-cooled engine is a 3 hp Gade.

We have had lots of compliments and fun, also offers to buy
it.

I almost forgot to say my father-in-law was a steam thresherman, sawmill and shingle Mill man and a good one. He taught me how to
saw lumber that could be used and use all of it.

Will try and give a little story about him, as that is another story. We have pictures of his rig and crew. Were he living today
he would be 100 years old.

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