Letters to the Editor

Recalling the IH Model 51

Content Tools

The article in the January 2007 issue of Farm Collector on International track layers was very interesting. I really enjoyed it.

I did notice, as did Don Wood (Farm Collector, March 2007, page 6), that the cover combine looked like a Model 51. I hesitated to write as I have not been around those combines for 50 years, but after I read Don's response I thought I would add my 2 cents.

The radiator on the Model 51 was on the other end from the one I was around for 10 years. Also, there was no electric power as is on this model. Although we harvested bulk grain, we harvested 50 acres of "Triplet" one time. I think my mentor, Jasper (the person I worked for), wanted to show me what it was like to not only jig sacks but also to do it in almost the worst itch wheat there was (only Tarweed would surpass the agony).

I noticed the sack sewer's seat is still on the Model 51. The grain delivery auger has been removed, so I doubt this machine ever sacked wheat. That makes sense, as bulk grain was almost universal by the time the TD-14 came around. I pulled that Model 51 with a TD-35 from the time I was 14 on some very steep hills around Pomeroy, Wash. The old-timers said that made a "Cat Skinner" out of you because of the steep soft hills and the tractor being marginally capable of the task. For all other drafting tasks the TD-35 kept up with its closest competitor at the time, the 3-cylinder Caterpillar.

The same article mentioned that the TD-35 had a 4-speed transmission. Both of the TD-35s we had on the farm had 5-speed transmissions. All five gears were working gears.

The cover photo shows the TD-14 with paint still on the track pads. The tractor must have been quite new, as the stubble would shine those pads to look like chrome in just a few days. Those slick and shiny pads would allow some fun sideways rides on steep coves.

At that time in eastern Washington, brand loyalty ran strong. Around Pomeroy there were International equipment and trucks to almost the complete exclusion of other makes, whereas around the Walla area it was all yellow and green with many GMC trucks. The dealers had much to do with this loyal following, I suppose.

As you no doubt can tell I miss those times and machinery very much. Thank you for reading.

- John Liebermann
2034 Palm Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
(719) 532-9589
(719) 930-4383

Editor's note: John's correct. The transmission on the TD-35 was a 5-speed. Thanks for the correction!