Vintage Farming In Washington State

By Staff
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Route 1, Box 14, Lowden, Washington 99360  

Here are pictures of wheat harvesting that we did in 1985. The
pictures are of a 1940 Model 51 International Harvester hillside
combine pulled by a 1936 TD-40 International Crawler tractor with a
1948 K-6 International truck. This combination was used a great
deal in our hill wheat country in the forties and the fifties and
some into the sixties until the self-propelled hillside combines
took their place.

The model 51 combine still does an excellent job harvesting hill
land wheat with its self leveling shoe and side hill leveling. We
harvested 35 acres on our shakedown run. It can be beaten by the
self propelled combines only in capacity and operator comfort but
not in cleaning and saving the grain. The TD-40 is in excellent
condition with new undercarriage, steering clutches and brakes plus
a new paint job. My son thinks so much of it that he waxed it.

The tractor starts easily and runs very well. The combine has
been completely overhauled with many new parts from a friend’s
barn and IH dealers in Lind and Colfax, Washington who still had
some parts left. The only thing we didn’t get done before
harvesting was a paint job on the combine. I plan to paint it
before the next time out. During the days we were cutting we had a
lot of wind (as shown by the chaff on the radiator screen-and how
well I remember a tail wind!) and our rear canvas was excellent
when we started. But by the time we finished it was shreds because
the old canvas was so rotten. Some paint on the machine, a new
canvas, two seeping soft plugs on the engine and she will be ready
for a 40 day run.

I know this is not too old yet but by the time Mark is my age it
will be and it will still be ready to harvest wheat. My father
farmed with horses and mules and in 1935 he sold them and purchased
a TD-40. It was a gray one. So I have many years and miles of
driving one of these tractors and I have a soft spot in my heart
for this old girl.

I have been a wheat farmer on my own since 1946. This was after
4 years of World War II and being a 4 engine bomber pilot. In the
fifties I started a hobby of restoring old cars. This has
progressed through cars, a motorcycle, stationary engines, wheel
tractors and crawler tractors. Most of my projects have come from
within 30 miles of home. I have many pieces of equipment I still
want to restore but ‘Uncle Ronald’ has made times pretty
rough down on the farm and right now I don’t expect I will be
able to finish my ‘Farm Power Exhibit.’ It has been a lot
of fun and a great deal of satisfaction to see this old machinery
run well again and be operational.  

Many people restoring Caterpillar 10 crawler tractors find, as I
did, that the pins and bushings in the tracks are worn beyond
turning or using. Used track chain is sometimes available but motor
freight is extremely expensive. If your side rail links are good
and you are willing to spend the money, you can replace the pins
and bushings with new pins, bushings and master pins from your John
Deere dealer that are used on the track of a John Deere MC crawler
tractor. Also some undercarriage parts on a MC crawler tractor were
used on John Deere Lindeman crawlers. Any parts in the MC parts
book that have a ‘Y’ in the number will fit on a John Deere
Lindeman. The ‘Y’ in the number denotes ‘Yakima’ as
the Lindeman tractor was assembled in Yakima, Washington. These
pins and bushings will also fit the track chain of a Cat 15-7C
model as this tractor was a warmed over Cat 10.

This last year I have been corresponding with a man in England
who advertised in GEM for ‘Help’ in restoring the brakes on
a tractor from World War II which appeared to be an 1-6
International. In reality it was an 1-6 that was altered to U.S.
Air Force specifications to pull bomb trailers for hauling bombs to
U.S. planes. I recognized the parts he was wanting to be the same
used on the late 40s International K-6 or K-7 trucks (the same as
the truck loading wheat in my pictures). I have sent him two rear
wheel brake cylinders, information on adjusting Wagner Lockheed
brakes of this type and now have nearly ready to send a master
cylinder. He is extremely appreciative and I am happy that I am the
one in the United States that recognized what he needed and am able
to supply the parts to finish his tractor.

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