120 Guadalajara Street, New Iberia, Louisiana 70560
Heider Model C and D tractors built from 1915 to 1928 had an accessory power lift that would allow you to raise the plow at the end of a row, make your turn, and lower it for the next row without stopping or leaving your seat. This was all done with your left foot, keeping your hands to drive the machine. Most power lifts came out in the mid-Thirties.
Pressing down the one foot lever would engage a pawl to a gear on the rear axle. This was connected to a lever which would raise up the plow. Just as soon as the pawl engaged you would release the foot lever and it would return to its original position but the axle rotation would continue to pull up the plow for about one-third revolution of the axle. At this point the pawl would automatically be forced to release from the axle gear. The foot lever has a latch that would catch a hook on the lever that raises the plow and hold the plow up.
When you get in position over the next row, simply kick down on the same foot lever to release the plow, and away you go!
There were also two other levers that served as a three-point hitch. These were connected to the drawbar. One lever would angle the drawbar in either direction to put the plows angled as you wished and the other lever would raise or lower the drawbar to give the depth of cut you desired. These adjustments would best be made while you were stopped, because these levers were not. handy for the driver.
When I got my 1919 model D, the foot lever and all linkage to engage the pawl were gone. It took me a long time to figure out how to do this with one foot lever. Knowing that finding the original parts would be impossible, I set out to make what I needed. I finally got it right and it really works nice.
This set-up is a long way from a power lift on a modern tractor but it was a good step.
Another good feature on this tractor is the seven speeds forward and reverse. This allowed you to select the fastest speed that your tractor could easily pull in, depending on the soil you had.
Of course this is because of the friction drive and did not take a lot of gears to do it. I have been told that this friction drive worked very well for people who understand it and used it properly. One thing you never had to do was adjust the clutch and when it was worn down it finally just stopped pulling. You would usually have enough clutch to pull the tractor back to the barn where it took about two hours to replace it.
I made several clutch elements for mine from paper or masonite and they either never worked good or never lasted long. I finally had one made at Paper Pulleys, Inc., P.O. Box 519, Columbia, Tennessee 38402-0519. This fit and worked like an original part.
Progress has left friction drive tractors behind (except lawn mowers), but where would we be now if someone had not tried every method to transfer power to the wheels of a tractor.
P. S. I had to make a fake plow in order to demonstrate power lift.