Nebraska Rancher's Half-Century With F-20 Farmalls

| September/October 1988

  • F-20 Sweep
    Brother on 1939 F-20 sweep moving a stacker.
  • F-20 Sweep
    F-20 sweep and stacker.
  • Hay meadow
    Hay meadow with new stacked hay. Each crew stacks 15 to 20 stacks most days.

  • F-20 Sweep
  • F-20 Sweep
  • Hay meadow

HC-63, Box 38, O'Neill, Nebraska 68763

This is the story about a tractor that had a bearing on my life. It is the F-20 built by IHC. In 1935 my dad bought a new F-20 and the next year a second one. They both had double mowers which cut hay in 14 foot swaths. These two tractors were traded for two new ones in early 1939 which was the last year they were built. They were used to mow hay for a few years until Dad got an H Farmall and an M Farmall. At that time we were using old cars for hay sweeps. It seems like they were always broken down, so my Dad took the two F-20's to a machine shop and had them reversed by putting the ring gear on the opposite side of the pinion and putting all appropriate parts facing the other way. With a 12 to 15 mile an hour gear you could sure sweep the hay!

After spending two years in the Navy I was back to the hayfield until going into partnership with two brothers. From that time on I managed the hay crews and did all my own shop work which brings me to the last of my story.

I always used from three to five sweeps at one time. In order to keep them running I went to farm sales and bought extras. I might have owned 15 F-20's at one time. I think I only had two accidents with F-20's in all that time. Once when one of my nephews was cranking the tractor it kicked and I had to take him to the emergency room for stitches. The second accident was while changing motors I got a hand caught between the motor and the frame. More stitches in the fingers.

While going to farm sales I got interested in old engines and tractors. At one time I owned over 60 tractors and still own over 90 engines. So you can see I am hooked! But-that's another story.


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