Gas Engine Magazine


By Staff

Rt. 1, Box 22, Emmett, KS 66422

In December 1980, I bought a 1928 Sears Economy engine from
Elmer Hofmeister of Claflin, Kansas. It was used as a stationary
engine in a farm elevator, and was still in the elevator even
though it had not been used for many years. As it was a very cold
day and Hofmeister was too busy to get it out at that time, I did
not pick it up until almost a year later.

It was in mint condition, but I did put on a new connecting rod
bearing, then cleaned and painted it red. It has 6′ pistons,
9′ stroke and runs at 400 rpm. This engine has never failed to
start on the fourth turn of the flywheel.

For a couple of years, I just put the engine on exhibit in a
trailer in a parade we have each year at our Tall Sunflower
Festival in Emmett, Kansas. It is a hit and miss engine, so it only
hits 13 times per minute at 300 rpm; it only hit now and then
during the parade, but it really banged when it hit since I did not
put a muffler on it. We had the engine in the parade a couple of
years this way, then I started to think, ‘Why not let it pull
itself?’ It appeared to me that a lot of power was going to

I designed and built a frame and running gears during evenings
and weekends. The transmission is from a 55 series John Deere
combine which is a transaxle-type gear box and includes a clutch,
3-speed transmission, differential, and twin disc brakes. The
brakes are not really satisfactory, so I am going to install other
disc brakes. The steering sector is from a 1946 Ford truck and the
front axle is 2?’ square tubing with Ford car spindles. The
front tires are 145 space saver spare tires, and the back tires are
1200 x 16.5.

The engine was then placed on the frame and connected to the
transmission with two V-belts on 12′ pulleys: a one to one
ratio. The low gear is 25 to 1, second gear is 11 to 1, high gear
is 5 to 1, and reverse is 12 to 1. It runs 7? miles per hour in
high and VA miles per hour in low.

When I first drove the tractor around, it was awfully light on
the front end, and bounced rather badly * whenever the engine fired
since it was on rubber tires. To counteract this, I put a 700 pound
weight box on the front end, and that helped smooth out the ride.
It still bounces some when idling or when the engine is slowing
down after being shut off.

After having it sandblasted, a friend, Darrel Carr, painted it
International Red. A neighbor high school girl, Jean Karnowski,
painted the signs and black stripes on the engine and frame. Then I
put the Economy decal on and decided to call it ‘One

My wife, Carol, and I have had a lot of fun with this tractor,
and it is becoming quite well known around the area. We took it to
16 parades or tractor pulls in Kansas last year. Don Rezac, the
representative from the 61st District, has driven it in some of the
parades for his political campaign. It really draws attention.
People of all ages have enjoyed riding on it, and I’ve enjoyed
showing it off.

After deciding ‘One Lunger’ needed a little brother, I
built a tractor with 6 Maytag motors to show this year. There are
some other ideas I will be working on next winter. We plan on
taking both tractors around to a number of shows this year in
Kansas and Missouri, and will take in some we missed last year.

I am 61 years old and have lived around Emmett, Kansas, all my
life. I am in the manufacturing business, having started out with a
portable welder, going on to a repair shop and then to
manufacturing trailers, pipe trusses, special built railroad
equipment and other custom-built steel fabrication.

I have always had an interest in collecting gasoline engines,
and have a number of them. Antique cars and tractors are also a
love of mine. I have a restored 1926 Model T Ford, and one of these
days will get around to restoring some others, but right now
building my own tractors is consuming my time.

  • Published on May 1, 1988
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