THE INTERSTATE TRACTOR


| January/February 1988



Four-Furrow Keans Plow

Interstate 1917-1918, with four-furrow Keans plow. Photo date unknown.

Reanacoolagh, Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland

On a fine day I was driving alone from one town to another in the southern part of Ireland, where I had a good view of the Atlantic Ocean shimmering in the sunshine. A walled fence along the roadside had some gaps where cattle had knocked the stones off the wall. The gaps were replaced by timber to fence off the gaps. Passing one of the gaps I noticed something like an old tractor, beside a tree-lined fence. This was in the early 70's. I stopped my car, as I had an interest in old tractors and any old farming implements that go with them.

I crossed the road, got over the wall, and walked along beside the fence. Of course you will understand, rows of wire were tied onto the tree trunks dividing one field from the next. I got to the tractor. There were cattle in the field. It was late June, but the cattle had plenty of grass. There were plenty of cow hairs on the tractor. Even though it looked to have been there for a long time, little damage had been done. I walked around it.

Hitched to the tractor's draw bar, by a rusty chain which I had to pull out of the ground, was a three-piece Springtime harrow. A bit further back by the trees was the funniest trailing plough I ever saw. Both the harrow and plough were in fair condition, but plenty of dust and rust everywhere, some parts missing here and there, but things didn't look too bad. I had no idea what make or model the tractor or plough was, and I had never seen anything like them before. I thought of Case-Massey-Harris, and an Austin tractor. I had seen them in collector's sheds and at ploughing matches. But this had no name, no number, nothing.

I was brought back to earth when I looked after hearing a noise behind me. I was confronted by the nicest herd of Shorthorn cows I had seen for many days. The general of the herd was a Hereford bull. He came a bit closer to the tractor. He must have been about three years old, and his weight must have been near one ton. He had a large pair of horns, one of which he caught between two rods that reached from the governor to a point near the steering wheel, and he pulled the rod out of place. I walked over and replaced the rod. It was then that I noticed that the engine was an overhead value model engine.

Just then two young chaps, I would say they were in their mid or late twenties, came up the field. They had a white collie dog with them who barked on seeing me. The cows took off with the bull following them, but not before he hit the wide wing of the old tractor with his hind part, putting part of the wing almost against the right iron back wheel. Both back and front wheels were made of iron or steel. There were cleats on the back wheels which didn't seem too worn. The boys asked me who I was, after a friendly greeting from the dog. He was a big strong dog, with one black ear and one black eye. 'We have this dog for to handle the bull. You had a trial; he is not cross, but we need to keep him under control.'