Rare Titan Conies To Pennsylvania

By Staff
1 / 3
Titan tractor as it looked after being unloaded.
2 / 3
'25 HP type D Titan tractor as found near St. John, Wa., by Mr. Clarence Harsch.
3 / 3
Truck driver Roger Larson arriving at George Bittle's farm near Littlestown, Pa., with a Rumely gas-pull on front of truck, 25 HP Titan tractor, and 55 Massey Harris.

P.O. Box 1313 Hanover, Pennsylvania 17331.

I’ve had an interest in gas engines for many years. For
about the last five years, my thoughts had turned towards owning an
old IHC tank cooled, one cylinder tractor. It was a dream that
someday I would own one. Little did I know things would fall into
place and this year (1992) my dream would come true.

To my delight, I heard of an old IHC tractor for sale while
attending the Canandaigua, New York gas engine show this past
August. Unfortunately, it was located in the state of Washington.
So I placed a call to Mr. Clarence Harsch and he told me he did
indeed have a 1913, 20 HP, type B tractor for sale, but another man
had first option to buy it. He also informed me that he had a 1911,
type D, 25 HP Titan he would sell. Mr. Harsch told me he was
selling his collection since he was getting up in years and wished
for other collectors to enjoy his tractors. Since it did not suit
me to travel to Spokane, Washington, we exchanged many phone calls,
pictures and letters about the 25 HP Titan. About three weeks
later, I was the proud owner of a type D, 25 HP, Titan tractor!

From these exchanges with Mr. Harsch, I found out that the
tractor was used for about twenty years in the St. John,
Washington, area to power a thresher. After the thresher runs had
died out, the tractor was parked for about fifty years.
Fortunately, the tractor escaped the scrap drives during World War
II and was left alone. Mr. Harsch also had an original manual which
went with the tractor. Although I have never met Mr. Harsch or
known him before August of last year, I found him to be an honest
man and very pleasant to deal with. One excerpt from his letters
tells about his first chance at running a 25 HP Titan.

‘I was 17 years old when the water had frozen in the
horizontal pipe to the cooling tank. This had to be thawed out in
order to get the water to circulate. I suppose I was strutting
around the outfit like a smart aleck at 17 years of age. I expect I
thought I knew it all. I suppose I kept yapping until the owner
turned to me and said, ‘Damn it, then you run it.’ I
didn’t need a second invite, so I took right over then and
there and finished out the threshing with no problems. Later I
bought a 25 HP Titan, used it for a while and then sold it in 1936
or so.’

Mr. Harsch also informed me that when he got the tractor, it was
in relatively good condition, but there were a few parts that were
broken. John Tysse of Crosby, North Dakota, kindly loaned parts
that he had so that Mr. Harsch could have new parts made. Joe
Richardson of Orofina, Idaho, made new clutch blocks. Without the
help of these two gentlemen, it would have been much harder to
restore the tractor. And Mr. Harsch asked me to express his thanks
for all their help. I kept all the correspondence I received from
Mr. Harsch because I enjoy reading his stories.

Arrangements were made through Leaman Trucking of Willow Street,
Pennsylvania (one of GEM advertisers) to bring the tractor across
the U. S. A. The job was well done and at a very reasonable
price.

After making the deal, it seemed like the day would never come
until the tractor arrived. About 8:45 A.M. on Monday, November 2,
1992 I received a phone call from Roger Larson, the truck driver.
He had arrived and was waiting at a nearby restaurant. The trip
took about five days covering approximately 2,700 miles from
Spokane, Washington, to Littlestown, Pennsylvania. It was the
perfect day to unload a new old tractorRAIN! The truck was a
conventional Peterbilt with a sleeper cab and a forty-eight foot
single drop trailer. What an impressive load it was carrying!
Besides my 25 HP Titan tractor, there was a Massey Harris with
loader and a Rumely gas-pull.

The loading dock we used is located in a grassy field. The
grounds were slippery so that after we had the Titan unloaded, the
truck needed to be towed back onto the hard road. I am glad we had
a good truck driver. I am also grateful to Brian Bittle for having
his 830 diesel John Deere tractor available for unloading my Titan
and pulling the truck back to the hard road.

The tractor I have is serial number XB1193. There were a total
of 1,757 of the 25 HP type D Titans built at International
Harvester Company’s Milwaukee Engine Works. The 25 HP Titan is
the largest one-cylinder tractor built by IHC in the Titan series.
Production of these tractors ran between 1910-1914. Of all the
tractors built, I know of fewer than twelve still in existence in
the United States and Canada. My tractor is the only one I know of
here in the East, the next closest ones being in Illinois, Missouri
and Alabama.

Here are some dimensions to give an idea of the size of this
tractor:

Rear wheels 22′ wide x 70′ dia.
Front wheels 10′ wide x 44′ dia.
Frame 10′ channel iron
Distance from ground to top of flywheels, 8 feet
Distance from ground to top of exhaust stack, 10 feet
Engine has 10′ bore x 15′ stroke
Total weight a little over 18,000 pounds.
Besides this Titan tractor, I own an 8-16 Mogul. According to my
wife, my tractor collection is complete!

My sincere thanks to these people who helped unload the truck
and get the driver back on the road: George and Brian Bittle, Tom
Mitten, Leon Livingston, Levi and Gail Baumgardner and my
father-in-law, John Whalen. Much credit for the pictures and moral
support goes to my wife, Gail.

I would also like to express my thanks to John Tysse, Dave
Boomgarden, Harold Ottaway, Mike Burns and Doug Janzen for all
their advice and help they have given me.

If anyone wishes to see my new acquisition, please contact me at
717-225-6987.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines