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
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
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.