McLean Tractor HUSKY MODEL 48

| May/June 1987

  • McLean tractor

  • McLean tractor

208 West Main, Box 406 Oakland, Illinois 61943  

In 1934, Mr. Clyde F. McLean Sr. of Indianapolis, Indiana, and his brother, Cleo, started building two-wheeled garden tractors. Since his father was a business man and fine mechanic and machinist (I have seen his work and it was the finest), and Clyde inherited his father's talents and skills, he had no problem in building these fine tractors.

The first tractor Clyde produced was a chain-driven machine, with cast iron drive wheels that were about 16 inches in diameter. It didn't take him long to learn that the wheels were too small. They let too much dirt get into the drive chains. He changed the diameter of the wheels to 21 inches, and this solved the problem. This McLean tractor remained unchanged for the rest of its production years which ended in 1941 or 1942. The tractor then was changed over entirely to Briggs, Clinton and Kohler 3 to 6 HP, with rubber tires. I might add that rubber-tired wheels were available after 1937-1938.

These tractors were powered by the world famous Model 92 Maytag washing machine engine. Clyde McLean Jr. told me that they employed two 'pickers' who traveled all over the country 'picking' and purchasing these Maytag engines for them. At this time, the average price they paid for these engines was five dollars apiece. These engines were cleaned and repaired, given new rings and any carburetor (or mixing valve) parts that were needed were replaced. They also replaced all gaskets and repainted the engine. The flywheel magnetos were re-charged and adjusted before they were installed on the tractor. These Maytag engines had adequate power, as they could spin the wheels under any condition.

These tractors were made to till and cultivate the soil, so several different shovel arrangements were available. They also made a front-mount sickle-bar mower, which proved to be a very useful attachment.

About 1936, the buyer was given an option. For twelve dollars extra, a back-geared Briggs & Stratton engine was available.


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