While reading the letters to the editor in the Farm Collector February 2003 issue, I was somewhat amazed to find the letter from Mr. Herman Calvert. The letter contains a piece of misinformation that may mislead farm tool collectors. He states, 'the unusual thing about Weir plows is that they were made right handed at a time when all other plows were left handed. Right-hand plows didn't come out until the tractor plow.'
This statement is not correct. Virtually all plow companies (I have catalogs for several dozen dating back to the 1800s), made plows in both left- and right-hand versions. In 1910, the Oliver plow catalog offers almost all of its models in both right- and left-hand versions. Preference determined which was bought.
In general, it can be said that left-handed plows were preferred east of the Mississippi, and right-handed ones to the west. The same is true of wood or steel beam plows, both were made side by side to the very end of walking plow production. Some people think that a steel beam plow is newer than a wood beam, it's not necessarily so. I just wanted to set the record straight.
- Alan C King, 204 Westwood Ave., Delaware, OH 43015
Right-hand is 'right' too
As a long-time collector of walking plows and other primitive horse-drawn farm equipment, a letter in the (Farm Collector, February 2003) issue was misleading in regards to the right-handed plow not coming out until the tractor plow.
In my research, I find the wood mold-board plows were mostly right handed. In 1797, Charles Newbold's patent in the U.S. was for a right-handed cast plow. In 1819, Woods patented a plow with replaceable cast shear and cast moldboards that were right handed.
In 1837, John Deere made his first steel plow, which was right handed. The Baker's (cast moldboard) plow, which was held together by wooden pins, was also right handed. A number of companies were building plows, some of which also offered left-handed plows.
The cast iron plows and left-handed plows were more popular east of the corn belt due to the soil types - the cast iron plow would not scour in these heavy soils. The prairie grass required a sod breaker such as a rod plow or prairie plow with long moldboards. These were steel plows that would scour easily. The cleared land was plowed with new ground plows that typically had standing cutters to handle the root problem.
Around 1890, some attempts were made to build large gang plows for use with steam traction engines. These were unsuccessful since these engines were not developed for the heavy work of plowing. However, these became a reality around 1900, but sold in limited numbers for about 20 years. Smaller tractors with two- to three-bottom plows or tractors with disk plows were becoming more popular.
- Harold Eddy, RFD #2, Slater, MO 65349
Hog oiler heaven
Your two articles 'Yankee Ingenuity' in the December issue and 'Out of the Hills of New England' in the January issue were very well written. Thank you for including Anne and I, along with the Nason, Chicoine and Davison families in the January issue.
I remember very vividly when the author's husband took the picture of me in front of the oiler display. On Dec. 18 I received a phone call from Bob Patterson, Sheridan, Ore. He read your article and saw my display of oilers and asked me if I had a Lunkenheimer Oiler. If not he had a number of them and would like to send me one, along with the original instruction sheet, which he did.
If Farm Collector were not read nationwide, I might not have obtained the oiler for my collection. Thank you again twice!
- Ed Jones, 919 N. Hoosac Road, Williamstown, MA 01267
Stumped on pump
I have a water pump that I restored. This is the only one I have seen with two pump rods. It pumps when you pump the handle up and also down. There is no name on the pump. Does anyone know information about this brand of pump? It would be greatly appreciated.
- George H. Archer, 695 N.W. 43rd Ave., Des Moines, IA 50313; (515) 244-1784
Shedding more light on Dietz lanterns
Nancy Smith s article on lanterns implied that Dietz lanterns were manufactured in Hong Kong after the founder of the company, R.E. Dietz, died. Actually, most of the lanterns were manufactured in Syracuse, N.Y. From the mid-1800s to the 1960s, the lanterns were manufactured at the factory located on Wilkinson Street in Syracuse. Due to rising labor costs, manufacturing was transferred to Hong Kong, and now takes place in China. Lanterns are now sold through catalogs. The old Dietz factory still exists in Syracuse.
- Bill Zachow, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Massey-Harris know-how found in original manuals
In your January 2003 Farm Collector on page 12, you received some incorrect information about the Massey-Harris Model 81 Tractor.
I have one just like it that I bought used in 1951 and have the original operating instructions and service manual. It shows a four-cylinder and not a six-cylinder Continental engine, and a four-speed transmission instead of a three-speed.
The serial number on the tractor in the story is 404758, and my tractor is serial no. 401511. The manual also shows a 3-inch bore and a 4 3/8-inch stroke.
My tractor still runs, but it needs a good carburetor.
- Marion Grant, 9315 E. Day Road, Mead, WA 99021; (509) 466-2245
Digging up dirt on SIMAR
I found two minor errors in last month's SIMAR story, 'Few and Far Between,' (Farm Collector, February 2003). It's not SIMAR Co., just SIMAR. Rototiller Co., which formed in 1930, became Rototiller Inc. in 1932. Rototiller Inc. did not become Troy-Bilt; some of the former employees started the Watco Machine Co., which later became Troy-Bilt in the old Rototiller Inc. factory, and was owned by a financial backer of the new company.
I have nine SIMAR machines of different sizes and versions. These machines are not as rare as the men in the article think. I keep an unofficial registry for all rototiller brands in the U.S. from the hundreds of e-mails I receive from my Web site. I have not kept the spreadsheet up to date, but between the spreadsheet and names that need to be entered, I know about more than 100 SIMAR machines. Jason Andrews and Robert Urich are not on my list; they will be now.
I will admit Urich's C30 is not a model I have on my list. The number 13458 would be the machine serial number, not a patent number. The engine serial number is on a small brass tag on the left side of the housing for the flywheel. He did a nice job of restoring it.
Too bad Andrew didn't mention the model numbers of his two machines. Model numbers varied from year to year, a C30 was also called a type 3, 30, 30B, 31C, C3, C4 and others with no particular pattern.
The cylindrical gas tank on the handle bar is not unique to SIMAR. What is unique is the fact that the air filter is running through the center of the gas tank.
Rototiller Co. started importing the German Siemens K5 in 1930; Siemens sold the motor-cultivator line to another German firm, Bungartz, in 1934. Rototiller continued to import the improved K6 until 1937.
Rototiller Inc. of Troy, N.Y., imported the SIMAR from 1932 to 1939 when the war in Europe began. E.C. Geiger Co. of North Wales, Pa., began importing them sometime in the 1950s until about 1975. SIMAR went out of business in 1982.
Rototiller Inc. sold its line of SIMAR-inspired B-1 rototillers to Graham-Paige Motors in 1944. The most popular antique Rototiller in the U.S. is the Graham-Paige/Frazer models. I can come up with over 250 machines on my registry.
- Donald A. Jones, 734 Cedar Lane, Perkasie, PA 18944; (215) 795-2844; e-mail: email@example.com
Fageol fan seeks radiator resolution
I enjoyed the 'Oddball' article about the Fageol Motor Co. in the December 2002 issue. I've been looking for vehicles with that name for a few years. Here is a Fageol radiator that I've had for a long time. It was used on a piece of haying equipment until it got hard to repair due to leaks. It's made of aluminum. Maybe someone could tell me if this one is off a truck or a tractor?
- Frank Gatterson, 64806 5. Harvey Road, Burns, OR 97720; (541) 493-2476
I came across this Deering Ideal, made by Deering Harvester Co. It's a one-horse mower with a 3-foot-6-inch cutting bar. Does anybody have a picture of it with a horse hooked up to it? Is there any value to this?
- Kenny Olen, P.O. Box 903, Topock, AZ 86436
How'd they do that?
Around 1920, a 1 1/2-story building, which was attached to the house we now live in, was moved .4 of a mile down the road to an intersection.
I have been told that this was done with a horse and pole attached to a windlass or capstan that wound up a rope attached to the building, which was on skids.
When the rope was wound up, it was unwound and the capstan relocated. I want to build a model display showing how this was done. Does anyone have any drawings or pictures showing this process?
I am particularly interested in how the capstan was held in place during the winding process. Any comments or information will be appreciated.
- Bill Kappler, 8527 Ravlin Hill Road, Clymer, NY 14724; (716) 355-2574
Gone but not forgotten
It was a happy day when Dad took the outhouse to the burn pile. I was 9 years old when we turned the pantry into a bathroom. I have a lot of memories with that little outhouse, the funniest was when a big raccoon chased Dad out of it.
- Ernie Henning, 1 1 03 Grand Ct., Davenport, IA 52803; (563) 326-3264
Reader needs mower info
I would like to know who built this mower and the year it was built. It is an all-steel mower with cast lids and an over-and-under gear box.
-Arlen Wanless, Box 347, Mission, SD 57555
Memories of Avery
The article in the January 2003 issue on Avery tractors brought up a memory of one of my first experiences with heavy machinery. There may be a connection or perhaps not.
In the early 1930s, I was in my teens and was able to hang around a nearby project putting in a road and sewers. A good bit of dirt had to be hauled away, and it was done by two Best crawler tractors pulling what I think were Avery wagons. Loading was with a steam-powered shovel. The wagons were all steel with drop bottoms for unloading. They were equipped with crawler tracks instead of wheels, which kept them from sinking into the ground and making even harder pulling. Does anyone know if I have the name right and it is the same Avery company? It seems it might be. Later the job was completed using a Caterpillar D-7 pulling a cable-operated carryall scraper, it was the first in the area.
- Stuart L Faber, 5512 Evergreen Ridge Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45215; (513) 821-0943