244 Mabry Drive, Camden, Tennessee 38320
First, let me thank the publishers of GEM for a fine magazine. And thanks to all the good readers who have written articles sharing their experiences, expertise and information that has been so enjoyable and helpful over the years. Hopefully, my article will impart the enthusiasm and satisfaction that can be gained by creating a machine that can be enjoyed by others. You readers who build model engines, tractors and machines know already.
After many years of a very enjoyable hobby of restoring and showing old gas engines, I began to realize that the time was fast approaching that I should get away from the heavy work, and cultivate an already burning interest in model building.
I noticed that the rear end of an early model Wheel Horse tractor had some similarity to the Model B John Deere tractor. Yes, I decided this Wheel Horse transaxle was the beginning of a scale model 1936 John Deere, Model B. Taking a few measurements from a full size tractor and after much study, I could go with the one-quarter scale very well. Many weeks of spare time was devoted to the scale-down process and development of actual measurements for the numerous components I would fabricate and use. Many junk yards, flea markets, metal and hardware suppliers were visited to accumulate needed materials. The actual fabrication and manufacture of 'Little B' began the fall of 1991. My hobby shop is used primarily in winter, during inclement weather. By spring of 1993, 'Little B' was assembled, painted, stenciled and ready for showing. It has had a very busy show season. It leads our Benton County Two Cylinder Club in parades, and is a feature of our West Tennessee Antique Tractor and Engine Club. It has been shown at Heritage Days, festivals and other special celebrations in this area. The 'Little B' has been featured in several newspapers and farm publications, including
The Progressive Farmer and the Tennessee Cooperator. Several dollars and many enjoyable hours have gone into this little tractor, but I guess the greatest reward comes when you see the 'little guys and gals' jump, scream, yank at Dad's pants leg and point as 'Little B' parades by.
My wife Martha may not admit it, but I can detect her interest in the old machines I drag in. At least she delights in the joy I derive from my hobby. While driving through the country she calls my attention to any old machinery she sees. On one occasion as we drove through a small town, she excitedly exclaimed, 'Did you see that?' I glanced in the rear-view mirror to see an old Hardie orchard sprayer sitting no more than 50 feet from the street. I hurried to get out of traffic, turn around and go back to the driveway where the old sprayer sat. A quick examination revealed it to be complete, with good restorable running gear, wooden tank, pump and 2 HP Stover engine. I asked the lady who came to the door if the rig was for sale. She said it was. That it had been in their storage building for years. That they intended to fill the wooden tank and the engine hopper with dirt and make a flower display for the backyard, but just never got around to it.' Now,' she said, 'I want to get the thing out of my way. I'll take $100 for it.' I not only was glad to pay her price, but was proud to rescue the tired old sprayer rig.
Martha and I have been retired for several years. We spend many enjoyable hours driving the back roads, seeing the beautiful countryside, talking with wonderful people and, of course, keeping our eyes out for old machinery. She says that I can spot an old tractor through the cracks of a barn 600 yards away! She finally did convince me, after I knocked over a farmer's mailbox, that I really should watch the road now and then, while driving on the back roads.
The miniature machinery hobby is for all ages. Especially if you are retired and this article sparks a desire in you to build something during that spare time, then go for it! You will be glad you did and your wife will probably love me for it.!