1102 West River Road, Battle Creek Michigan 49017
I am sending you a picture of a small toy tractor which I built
for my youngsters back in 1949. It had a Briggs and Stratton
engine, salvaged from a washing machine, used-V belt drive with
idler pulley to tighten or loosen the belt on first reduction for
clutch action, and double V belt a-round large brake drum attached
to one rear wheel for final drive. All belts were enclosed so there
was no danger of any one getting hurt. I used Ford wheel bearings
for the wheels, also for the front post bearing so it could be
steered. Single front wheel was from a wheelbarrow. Rear wheels
were merely discs fabricated from wood.
Rear tires were fastened to them by lots of large wood screws
through the bead. No air nor inner tubes in rear tires, the
stiffness of them was sufficient to bear the weight. Frame was made
of hardwood 2 x 3’s. Speed of motor could be controlled and it
would travel about 2 miles per hour maximum. It was not very heavy
and the only time any of them ever got hurt was when they fought
for the right to drive it. One of them ran it over a month old
kitten amidships which got up and scampered away unharmed. I made a
small plow for it using an old jointer and they could cut grooves
a-round the dooryard a couple of inches deep.
It surely did a lot of running, one summer used 15 gallons of
gas, which would mean about 120 hours. David (now in armed forces)
was driving it when not much over 3 years old. I employed a fellow
with a bull-dozer to bury some stone piles and took David back
there to watch, the fellow had to cross the field to get to the
next pile and offered him a ride on it, which he refused, and for
the time being we couldn’t find out why, but at noon at the
dinner table he told us the bulldozer didn’t have any steering
wheel (it was steered with levers) and he was afraid to ride on it.
The kids are pretty well grown up now, Curtis the youngest is 17
years old now and a Junior in high school. Margaret age 4 is shown
on tractor in picture taken 1952.