By Staff
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1931 Serial # 302143.
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1930 Serial # 301118. Notice the home-made steering assembly, just to the rear of the gas tank.
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R.D. 2 Coming, NY 14830

In the Fall of 1940, when I was a young farmer twenty-five years
old, the 1923 Fordson I had been using for four years was becoming
increasingly temperamental. So when I had a breathing spell after I
got the winter wheat in, I started shopping the dealers for a
better tractor and finally bought a 1930 Massey-Harris four-wheel
drive, price $300.00. I tried to get a service manual but they were
out of print. During the next few years I bought two junkers for
parts. I had it cut down and put on rubber in 1946 when tires were
released from wartime rationing. That was the same year that I took
a wife who is also still going strong.

Mr. Crisco, three or four miles over the hill, had a 1931 which
he bought new. During the years, I sold a few parts to his son,
John, who was chiefly responsible for keeping the tractor running.
In 1952 Mr. Crisco died and John tipped me off that the tractor was
about to be sold for old iron. I bought it for $75.00, drove it
home and used many of my spare parts rebuilding it. The service
manual came with it. I could have done a fair job writing one by

In those years they shared the farm work with a team of horses.
They also powered a sawmill, buzz saw, feed grinder, etc.

From 1958 through 1979 I worked as bus driver and mechanic to
meet the needs of a growing family, but still farmed part-time,
with the help of said growing family, until they moved on to other
vocations. One boy is now a preacher. The younger one drives a
tractor-trailer. He and the daughter live on sections of the home
place. In 1958 my father and mother were both promoted to a
‘better country.’ Father had spent his entire eighty-one
years on the family farm. It must have been about 1960 that we
cleaned ‘No. 1’ up and painted it. Rather than original
colors, we chose the red and yellow that was current to M.H. at
that time.

About the time I retired, a back problem persuaded me to part
with the horses in favor of a small garden tractor. Now I’m
back to farming (Angus cattle), lumbering, sawmilling, etc., and
the two Masseys are my only source of power, aside from the garden
tractor. The rubber tired job mows, rakes, bales, and hauls hay
every summer and hauls manure, wood, and logs in the winter.
I’ve made a few improvements, such as automotive tie-rod ends,
and the home-designed steering which shows in one of the pictures.
The gear-reduction is from an old garden tractor. These were made
when it was just an ‘old tractor’ rather than an

I try to keep the steel-wheeled one ‘original’. It was
restored and painted in 1984 and shown in the ‘Pageant of
Steam’ at Canadaigua, New York. However it is not idle, but
does all my belt work and occasional field jobs.

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