As I read C.H. Wendel's Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors, I was struck by how few - if any - of the very early tractors exist today. This revelation motivated me to see if I could create a replica of my own.
I had quite a few pieces of old iron lying around, so I challenged myself to arrange the different pieces in a recognizable fashion and eventually make my own tractor using a stationary engine as the power source. With the occasional help of my son, Mark, I got busy on the project one winter 12 years ago.
I used a 3 HP Alamo as the power plant but incorporated many other familiar pieces such as a 9N Ford wheel hub for the mock radiator. The front end was also the cooling area of the tractor in those days. The engine oil was cooled and returned back to the engine.
The roof was originally a large water tank. I cut out the ends and bent them back as far as they would go, then welded them in place. This allowed me to fasten two air tanks in the hollow upper area and install a small air compressor to build up air pressure in the tanks. The compressed air passes through three homemade plastic PVC whistles of different sizes, creating a sound similar to a railroad train - folks seem to love this sound!
The steering wheel was taken from a greenhouse and was originally used to open and shut windows. The wheels were taken from a horse-drawn John Deere manure spreader.
An International Harvester cattle feed grinder can be belted to the Alamo engine's pulley. I believe having something for these old engines to power (replica or not) creates more interest in old agricultural equipment. People also want to know what they powered, and too many old engines just sit there running and do no more than that.
I hope folks find my homemade tractor as interesting and challenging as this 80-year-old collector did. The picture was taken one early morning eight years ago at one of our shows, the Stonewall Antique Power Association of Virginia.
Since then, I have shown the results at many shows. However, I have to show some of Mr. Wendel's pictures from his encyclopedia before folks know what they're looking at.
Contact engine enthusiast Dennis Anderson at: 2592 Saunders Road, Vinton, VA 24179; (540) 890-5580.