National Summer Tractor Show: A Gaggle of Garden Tractors
Central Hawkeye Gas Engine & Tractor Show marked by rare and unusual exhibits.
Below: This 1924 Shaw Du-All T-25 was a first-year model. “I’m only aware of six or eight others,” says owner Joe Franklin. “They’re not real common.” To change speeds on the 2-speed tractor, you’d change the length of the chain.
Left: Mike Harper, Macomb, Ill., showed a pair of Red E power cultivators produced by Pioneer Manufacturing Co., Milwaukee. The Red E (far left) was a gear-driven garden tractor with no belts or chains. This original unit dates to the 1930s; the unit at left, to 1927. The Red E used Model T Ford parts: pistons, valves, springs and carburetor, with a flywheel on the front. The line was produced in the 1920s and ‘30s for use on truck farms. The appeal for Mike? “I like garden tractors because they’re still cheaper to buy, they’re easier to handle and work on,” he says.
Left: A 1951 3 hp Choremaster Model C. Part of Joe Franklin’s collection, the piece includes a sickle bar mower that moves in two directions. Right: Joe’s 1950s-vintage Chain Tred Model C, built in Portland, Ore. “Actually, to me it looks worthless. But it runs great. And I have a blade for it. You could push snow with it,” Joe said wistfully, on a day last July when temperatures neared the century mark.
Above: Don Miller and his son, Byron, with their Agro-Util. The tractor has a 2-speed belt; top speed is 3 mph.
Right: Gene Niesen’s Amigo Model 99. Produced by Demco, Dowagiac, Mich., the 1960s-vintage unit has a 6 hp Lauson engine and hydrostatic transmission. “It’s a real smooth-running tractor,” Gene says.
Left: The David Bradley Fred Lewis’ father bought in 1949 generated a revenue stream for Fred. “I plowed gardens all through high school,” he recalls. “I got $2 or $3 a garden.”
Left: A rare pair owned by C.K. Curtiss. What’s believed to be a 1970s-era Buffalo prototype on left. Just 28 were shipped to Central America, C.K. says. The Schield Two-Way tractor, circa 1980, that never went into production.