Rt 2, Box 22 Mebane, North Carolina 27502
In June of 1986, while visiting a friend Steve Doby, the subject of old things came up. Steve said to me, 'Come to the shed out back, I have something to show you.'
Arriving at the shed, I saw this rusty old three wheel lawn tractor, the likes of which I had never seen before. Upon closer examination, I discovered it was a Sears Craftsman.
Steve said it would run so we proceeded to crank the two cycle engine. It started on the fourth pull. I asked Steve if he would sell the rusty monster and he said he would.
Weeks went by, and one day while talking to Steve, I asked if he still had the little tractor, and he said he did. Well, we agreed on a price and I went and picked it up. That was the start of Rusty Iron Fever!
After arriving home with the tractor I started the clean up process. The tires were rotten, the belts missing and the shroud and recoil were off the engine. Disassembly and clean up lasted several weeks of working in my spare time. During this time I wrote Sears-Roebuck and Company for any information they might have.
One day I received a reply from Sears with a page from a 1953 catalog which showed a Sears 'Yard Hand' tractor which resembled the one I had purchased. This was the only information Sears could supply.
When the tractor was sandblasted, cleaned, and painted it was put in the corner of the shop with a box containing the engine. That's where it stayed for the next two years.
In September of 1988, my wife Jean and I went to the gas engine show in Silk Hope, North Carolina (one of the best shows in our area). While at the show, I told Jean we should complete the Sears Yard Hand and exhibit it at the show next Labor Day weekend. She said that was a good idea.
So, out of the corner comes the Yard Hand. After making sure the engine was OK, the shroud and recoil were installed and the engine was mounted on the tractor. After four trips to town for belts, the correct pair was purchased, also new tires were installed. The engine started, and after a few adjustments with the help of Melvin Doby, Steve's dad, the Yard Hand was ready to go. So, around the yard we went.
I could tell from the expression on Jean's face that she wanted to ride the Yard Hand, too. Around and around the yard she went testing the Yard Hand. She liked the little tractor so much, I gave it to her.
Labor Day weekend of 1989 came, and off to the Silk Hope Show we went. Jean really enjoyed that day, watching the people look at her tractor and answering the questions they had about it.
John Coward of Sumter, South Carolina told me the slot in the hood and the two mount holes were for mounting a rip saw attachment. I sure would like to see one. John also said that Hiller Aircraft Company of California made the original Yard Hand and made them for Sears-Roebuck. He also owns a Yard Hand.
Since the purchase of the Yard Hand we have purchased an Avery Model V, two Gibson Model D's, a Mead Mighty Mouse H.G. crawler and a 27 Stover hit and miss.
I enjoy reading GEM very much and would like to hear from anyone regarding the Yard Hand tractor.