Jerry the Mechanical Horse

| July/August 1993

  • Tractor3

  • Jerry tractor

  • Tractor3
  • Jerry tractor

4392 North 4th St, Columbus, Ohio 43224.

This is a Jerry tractor, manufactured by G.F.H. Corporation in Denver, Colorado, Serial #9. Judging from the type magneto and the size of the spark plugs, owner, Bob Thompson estimates that Jerry was built around 1918. Jerry is one of two running tractors of this type that Bob knows ofthe other one is in New York. Bob has tried numerous times to find more information on Jerry tractors, but is always running into deadends.

Jerry is four-wheel drive, powered by a Leroy four cylinder engine Model C-2, estimated 15 HP. Jerry is driven much like a horse, with the driver sitting atop a wagon, two wheel cart or even from the calliope Bob pulled in the Plain City, Ohio, Steam Show one year. Jerry has three reins. Two reins control the steering and transmission. Just slack the reins and Jerry will go forward. Pull halfway back and he goes into neutral. Pull all the way back and Jerry goes into reverse. To steer, pull on the left or right rein and Jerry will go left or right. The third rein is a safety feature that you tie to whatever piece of equipment is being pulled, so in the event that it comes unhooked from Jerry, it will automatically trip a kill-switch on the engine, shutting it off. To ad-just the speed you have to manually do this at the carburetor before mounting up.

To hook up any horse drawn equipment, you just slide the tongue into a collar device, then tighten down four bolts to secure it, tie off the safety rein and you're ready to ride. This tractor would save money for the farmer who wanted to modernize, as he would not have to go out and buy all new equipment. He could use any of his horse drawn equipment that had a tongue.

Jerry can usually be seen at various antique steam and tractor shows throughout Central Ohio, such as Plain City, (Miami Valley Steam Club Show), usually held in July. Bob Thompson also takes Jerry to the Portland, Indiana, Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Show during late August. Jerry is always a big hit at any of the shows Bob takes him to. It'll stop passersby dead their tracks just to get a good look at the horseless tractor.

The day Bob's grandson and I took Bob's Oil Pull around the neighborhood it brought people to their front doors. I was quite excited about this, but when I told Bob about it, he said 'Oh, Mike, that's nothing! When we take Jerry around the neighborhood, he brings them out on their front lawns!'


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