When The Going Gets Tough

| November/December 1985

7148 Dodgeon Court Cincinnati, Ohio 45231

What makes a tractor get up and go is a mystery to many. But it's no mystery just hard work for five exhibitors at the fifteenth Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Fair in Georgetown, Ohio.

Combining brawn with brain, five mechanical craftsmen face lifted the old iron dinosaurs of the field restoring them to full power. Having their tractors on display, they talk of their sporting adventures and the lessons they learned getting these old metal hulks running and rolling again.

Mike Rohrich

Mike bought his Minneapolis-Moline at a local consignment sale, a 1949 4-plow model U which does its share of farm work. 'Me, my Dad and my brother farm about 400 acres,' Mike says, 'and we have ten altogether.' A litter of ten Minneapolis-Molines! His old-timer belongs to the series that sold under the slogan 'vision line design.' The seat stood high on these VLD's and could be swung off-center by jerking the hips. The operator could sit and see all around, every planted row, from his swivel seat. Minneapolis-Moline built one of the Army's first 'jeep vehicles.' They were tractors scaled down with truck wheels. Molines haven't rolled off assembly lines since the White Company absorbed them and Oliver and Cockshutt. Like Molines in general, there are few model U's around. 'Extinct...gone,' Mike says of his favorite tractor, the 'prairie gold' Molines are scarce as the big grass prairie itself whose sod they helped rip, a prairie which stretched one time across miles to Batavia, Ohio, where Mike farms.

Don Carlier

Don Carlier began a hobby and career at the same time. He left the Navy (years ago) and joined Anstaett, the Case dealer. He left Anstaett, but he hangs onto the old Case workhorses. It's been a lively past time with him ever since. 'I liked them,' he said, fondly remembering the old tractors, 'They were the best.' Don was looking for PTO parts to repair his Dad's '37 Case when he found his '38 RC in Afton, Ohio. 'It was in too good a' shape to part out,' he recalls. He bought it and he keeps it in just a hare's hair of mint condition. Case made three models in that era: a small RC, a three-plow DC and a big LA 'wheatland' tractor for the rugged, rolling prairie lands.

Delbert Parker

Delbert Parker of Sardinia bought his 1942 John Deere in 1982. His grandfather had one, and he wanted an LA model 'like grandpa had.' The LA is a small tractor, easy to garden, easy to transport. He found one between Mount Orab and Williams-burg which he keeps for show. . . (and for looks!) with a buzz saw on front and a chain-driven Milwaukee mower on back. With the help of his neighbor Glen Pindell, he made the rip saw. Raising it up from the operator's seat by crank, he explains, 'All you do is drop it down with the belt in place and it works.' With the technical savvy of an expert engineer, he pointed to the lefthand thread on the sawshaft, then the 'piece from the phone company,' and finally to a triangular brace made 'from Allis-Chalmers cultivators.' Each was a standby part that slipped into his 'from scratch' design. 'LA's start easy, run easy, are easy to handle and John Deere makes parts,' he says. Tapping a freeze plug on the engine block, he adds, 'I could order a new one.' He went on with his story about his freeze plugs but in a different light. When one of his freeze plugs started to leak, he popped it out, brushed off the rust and resealed it in place with epoxy glue. The plug hasn't leaked since not a drop. Delbert participated in the antique power show for his ninth year, but it was the first year he was forbidden to go in the uptown parade. 'Cleats,' he says, pointing out his mower wheels. The old 'Gay 90's' mower had a four-foot bar, a wooden tree, and unlike any mower he'd ever seen, a lightweight chain drive in place of a worm gear box. The mower is a one-of-a-kind and more than double the age of his Deere.