Junk Pile Tractor


| March/April 1986



Harry with his junk pile tractor

Rt. 1, Box 1041, Parma, Idaho 83660

First let me say that I am 91 years old and I can remember the first gasoline engine I ever saw, in 1900 my grandfather had it. Our power in those days was horse power and I have spent many days on the platform of an eight horse power, driving the horses furnishing power to saw wood. I have seen threshing being done with horse power, steam, big heavy oil and gasoline tractors. I also was in my teens before I ever saw an automobile. The first ones were single and two cylinder cars. Always having wheels in my head, I did trouble shooting on stationary engines, tractors, automobiles, and also built radios and repaired them for many, many years. I owned and operated threshing machines with steam power and many oil and gasoline tractors for power, later operating combines during my many working years. In my later years I collected some old engines to renew. Over the years I have built and helped build several tractors. My first one was when I was 16 years old using a 4 HP Cushman motor.

The engine in this little tractor I found in a junk pile, took it all apart and worked it all over, and it has run for many years on this tractor. This engine is an upright Nova 5 HP at 1600 rpm. It has a radiator and fan for cooling, roller bearings on main crankshaft, and runs likes a watch. I was getting close to 80 years old when I started putting the tractor together. I used the side channels from a Ford car frame for the side frame; Studebaker rear axle narrowed by cutting and welding; rear wheels from an Oldsmobile using brakes on both sides. The transmission is from a Chevrolet pickup four speed, drive from crankshaft to transmission roller chain. The front axle is from a model T Ford car, cut and welded and the front wheels from an old trailer dolly. Ford spindles were ground and bushed to fit the wheels. The steering gear is from an old Chevrolet car clutch-dry plate.

We have used this little tractor for many years and many grand- and great-grandchildren have driven it many, many miles. This picture was taken this last summer with myself at 91 years of age. We have a box we can slip on the back for hauling things. We use the four speed transmission, from 1 to 12 mph, have liquid in the rear tires, and can spin the tires in the lower gears, so we can pull quite a load. I drove it in the Old Fort Boise parade one year pulling a big JD tractor disc.

As an old time thresher I wrote this poem several years ago other old threshers might like it:

AN OLD THRESHERMAN'S DREAM