Little Tractor

By Staff
article image

7529 Bedford Omaha, Nebraska 68134

(The following two articles are reprinted courtesy of Green
Magazine.)

Jack Kreeger collects just one series of tractors. The Omaha,
Nebraska collector’s interest lies in the L series, which
includes the Y, 62, L, LA, and LI. Along with Ed Brenner of
Kennsington, Ohio he’s considered one of the leading
authorities on these tractors.

Somewhere along the line he heard of the model L’s
predecessor, the model Y. Feeling that this would be just the
tractor to complete his collection, he began advertising for a Y or
parts of one. He would also put a ‘Wanted’ sign up at shows
he attended. Then one year at the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa show a fellow
came over to him and said he had a two cylinder Novo engine like
those used in the earliest model Y’s. This engine was complete
with shipping records showing it was shipped to Deere and Company
on June 22, 1936. Incidentally, Jack Kreeger’s birthday is June
22nd.

Later, Kreeger was told about a Deere and Company employee
magazine which had an article about an engineer, Willard Nordensen,
who worked on the Y project. It took almost a year before he was
able to acquire a copy of this magazine. In the article were
pictures and mention of the model Y. The article stated that Mr.
Nordensen had retired in 1968. Doing a little figuring they
discovered Mr. Nordensen would now be in his 80’s. Kreeger
tracked him down in Dubuque, Iowa and Mr. Nordensen invited him
over for a visit because he had some things he thought Kreeger
might like to see. Some time later when the Kreegers visited Mr.
Nordensen he brought out two albums with 214 pictures of the model
Y. After the pictures were copied in 35 MM, Kreeger took them back
and had Mr. Nordensen identify the people in them. The list reads
like a who’s who of early Deere and Company tractor engineers:
Sklovsky, Maxon, Brown, and Wormley. The pictures also showed the
tractor broken down into parts, showing the parts bought from Ford
and those Deere had built themselves.

Armed with pictures, Kreeger approached Dan Schmidt of Omaha and
said, ‘Dan, can you do it?’ Schmidt said, ‘Why
not?’ Kreeger describes Schmidt as an ‘artist’ with a
welder who, over a period of months, very painstakingly built the
model Y tractor with parts Kreeger found. These parts included the
Novo engine, the Ford parts and wheels from a model H manure
spreader, the same as were originally used. Everything was found or
made as close as possible to the original tractor. The tractor
carries serial number 101 RP. The RP being for reproduction.

Work on the Y reproduction began on November 28, 1986, and was
finished on June 5, 1987. By the time the tractor rolled out of
Schmidt’s shop, there were over 300 shop hours in it.

Kreeger says it was a very trying and educational experience,
but it brought back part of the history of Deere and Company.

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