This is a photo of me and my grandfather, John Bailey, who was born in Kansas in 1896. This particular day it was too wet to plow, as evidenced by the straw and mud on the Farmall’s wheels. That is a 3-bottom 16-inch Minneapolis-Moline trip plow. The tractor’s serial number tag was gone. I now think it was a Rice R-9, as it had real wide tires and flat fenders. It also had a hand clutch. It had an LP engine; 60 gallons would run about 20 hours. In the picture we had already put the cans over the exhaust pipes. You can also see in the picture the backward tread on the rear wheel. That’s the spare. The cab could be from an early Ford Model TT. There was a small toolbox in each back corner of the cab. In cold weather, we put cardboard over the windows and it worked just fine. The old tractor did many years of hard work on my grandparents’ ranch west of La Veta, Colorado. My grandfather was a veteran of World War I. I am thankful to have been able to work and hunt with him for many years. This photo was taken in 1971. I was 20 years old; Grandpa was about 75.
Doug Bailey, La Veta, Colorado
We have bought an Advance-Rumely steam traction engine. I am trying to learn the history of the engine. Because we live in the Netherlands, no one here knows anything about this engine. Perhaps someone in the U.S. will recognize the engine.
The engine sold for $19,000 on a Hilpipre auction in 2011 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. It came from the Blount farm, and was sold to Belgium. It has a 9x11 cylinder. The gearing and bearings are in very good condition. The serial number tag that should be on the smoke box is missing. I am doing a cosmetic restoration. The grates and water tanks are not very old, I think. The safety valve is very big. The firebox, flues and front flue sheet are also in very good condition. Production of this model began in 1915.
I would be very grateful to learn any information about this engine.
Bob Bruin, Valkkogerdijk, 9a 1744HE, St. Maarten, Netherlands; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a photo of my dad, Edgar York, who lived in Four Mile Township, Morris County, Kansas. He is shown here, harvesting wheat with his Oliver 88 tractor and 6-foot Oliver combine. The combine had a Continental 4-cylinder engine. The engine was water-cooled, but had no water pump; it cooled by convection.
Clarence York, Knoxville, Tennessee
In November 2013, Farm Collector had an article on Iowa State University students restoring a mist green Oliver 880. I don’t have a mist green Oliver, but I do have two Oliver 880s painted meadow green. I have had one for 32 years and the other for 20 years. They have all the options Oliver offered at the time: power traction hitch, power booster drive, power shift wheels, power steering, independent PTO and front and rear weights.
John Wiggins, Springfield, Tennessee
These pictures show a Fuller & Johnson horse-drawn corn planter dating to the late 1880s. The planter was donated to the Badger Steam & Gas Engine Club by the Curtis family of Lodi, Wisconsin.
When we received the corn planter, it was rusty. Its wooden parts were well-deteriorated, but intact enough that copies could be made of white oak. Metal parts were sandblasted, primed and painted. A cast iron seat was found and reproduced. “Bonanza” was the trade name for this planter.
Club members Verne Kindschi and Lyle Opperman took over this project and had a lot of fun with it. The planter, Fuller & Johnson gas engines, implements and machinery are displayed at the Fuller & Johnson Museum at the Badger Steam & Gas Engine show grounds on Sand Road north of Baraboo, Wisconsin. For more information, visit the member page established by Lyle Opperman and Verne Kindschi on the club website: Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club.
Lyle Opperman, Baraboo, Wisconsin
I was excited to get my first Whizzer at age 13. I traded an electric train that I had outgrown and $10 cash for it. I rode it slow around the yard so Dad could hear it running. A few days after I got it home, Dad could hear knocking (but I didn’t).
My dad had a lawnmower repair shop. He put me to work taking out the Whizzer’s side-plate screws. He made sure I kept track of them and that I put each screw back into the hole it had come out of.
I hitchhiked to the next town (Brazil), where there was a Whizzer shop. I bought new inserts (85 cents, if I remember correctly), came home and put it all back together. Before long it was knocking again. That time, Dad had me remove the crankshaft. He checked it and it was flat on top. He honed it back to round and then I put in oversized inserts. It lasted for many more miles for me and three subsequent owners.
Please note the clutch in this photo. It is a 2-speed automatic, the only one I ever saw. I don’t remember if it was made by Whizzer. I would twist the gas handle grip up and it would start; then I’d put it back to idle and it would shift automatically into high gear and away I’d go. It was explained to me a planetary gear that made the two speeds, which meant very little to a 13-year-old boy. I’ve worked on motorbikes, motor scooters, cars and lawnmowers all my life, but I still have never taken apart a clutch like that, so I still do not know how it worked.
I traded the Whizzer for a Cushman motor scooter. After I retired and entered my second childhood, I bought another Cushman; I am still riding it at age 77.
James Creek, 8100 S. St. Rd. 157, Clay City, Indiana
From Sam Moore: Thanks for the note about your Whizzer. At least you got one; I never did. According to a Whizzer website, the 1950 Sportsman was introduced with a “Bi-Matic” transmission, a 2-speed automatic that shifted up at about 15 mph. It sounds like that’s what yours had. It seems the Bi-Matic wasn’t very reliable; it was only made for about a year, which could explain why there are so few around.
It’s Dec. 24, 2014, Christmas Eve day. I just read the editor’s column in the January 2015 issue of Farm Collector. It’s about shucking corn by hand. It reminded me of something that happened to me a few years ago at the Half Century of Progress show in Rantoul, Illinois.
I grew up on a farm in Indiana and have been collecting and participating in farm shows for years. Part of what I do includes demonstrating work with Bob and Zues, our team of Percheron draft horses. Often I have the thought that, “this is only fun because we don’t have to do it this way anymore.”
Every once in a while I run into a farmer who has no interest in the old way of farming. I really never quite understood that. Well, a few years ago, at Half Century of Progress, we were enjoying the whole thing, including working the horses on a plow, mower, wagon, cultivator and Blackhawk check-row corn planter owned by a friend.
It was all very enjoyable. Then we went by an area where they were shucking corn by hand. My wife suggested that I give it a try. Shucking corn by hand, you’ve got to be kidding me! I did enough of that as a kid to last me a lifetime.
And then it hit me: the fellows who farm with current machinery – maybe that’s how they feel! They want no part of the traditional methods.
Dad’s 2-row pull-type corn picker unloaded to the left. That meant that when you opened the field, you were going to run over the first four rows of corn. The tractor would get two rows and the wagon would get two more rows. The choice was to pick those four rows by hand ahead of time or (an even worse option) pick ears up off the ground afterward. I didn’t like either choice.
I’m going to be 67 next week and plan to continue playing with the old tractors and horses. I may plant some corn with the horses again but have no desire to pick any of it by hand. I always enjoy getting Farm Collector and read it from cover to cover.
Larry F. Whitesell, 4314 S. 300 W., Tipton, IN 46072; email@example.com