I Wish It Were Still Mine...

| September/October 1997

  • Model T Ford Tractor

  • Model T Ford Tractor

560 Twilight Trail, Chippewa Lake, Ohio 44215-9798

I was very much surprised to turn to page 12 of the 1997 Show Directory and see the photo I took of my tractor. It now belongs to George Corey. I thought you might want to know more about it.

My friend Jim Rytel painted it for me, and I thank him for it. Then at a show, George Corey saw it and wanted it. In a weak moment I sold it, but I now regret it. I bought it in 1952 and I think it was in my family until 1995.

But, let's start way back in 1942. It was used to mow an orchard with a sickle bar on the right side that was 42 inches long. I got a plow and cultivator with it. The sickle bar shook so bad I didn't use it. I'd plow, cultivate and work it with a dirt blade that we made using the cultivator. We worked it so hard we cracked the frame! In the photo, if you look closely you can see a seam the length of the frame. That is the extra angle iron we added for strength. When I say we worked it so hard, some think, 'How could you work it that hard?'

Let me explain how it was made and how they got so much power from a Briggs and Stratton 6 HP (I think). The front wheels are cast iron with a hole drilled in them, no bearings. I used to show how badly they were worn by shaking them sideways by hand. The rear wheels, we mounted on an axle that passes through a housing with a bushing on either side and a big gear inside the housing. The bushings were so worn from hard work, and maybe lack of oil, that the wheels leaned in at the top and were re-bushed. The small gear that turned the big gear was worn on one side so we reversed it and used the good side.

This tractor has a Model T Ford differential installed upside down to turn the rear wheels forward. The small gear I spoke of is on the end of the shortened Model T Ford differential. This is only one of five ways they geared down to get power. They loved Ford, because ahead of the differential is a Model A Ford transmission, three speeds forward and one reverse. The one and two gears were two more ways to gear down.