Inspired by a 1994 magazine article on a 25 hp International Harvester Titan Type D tractor restored by LeRoy Baumgardner Jr., Don Hermann set out to make a 1/8-scale model of that same tractor.
Don, a retired farmer from Genesee, Idaho, had purchased a metal lathe when he was discharged from the U.S. Army several years earlier. Since then, while building several model engines, he has definitely achieved the status of master machinist. Don’s talents with the lathe are mainly self-taught. He is one of a unique cadre of Pacific Northwest machinists who have developed great friendships through the activity of building scale models. Don is a member of the Lewis-Clark Antique Power Club, Lewiston, Idaho.
International built the 25 hp Type D from 1910 to 1914. According to C.H. Wendel’s Standard Catalog of Farm Tractors, the model was originally sold as a 20 hp tractor but was upgraded in about 1912. A single-cylinder engine was used.
Working scale model
What makes this model so special and unique? Several things, including the fact that the unit actually runs. This scale model gas engine runs on gasoline; the working powertrain propels the unit across the floor at a speed of 40 feet per minute.
The model is accurate to scale and intricate detail. Don made special efforts to convert the bar stock metal used to fabricate parts so that they resembled the casting patterns commonly found on machinery manufactured during the early 1900s. He purchased a 25 hp IHC Famous engine kit that fit his scale, but he fabricated all other parts.
Don’s special care in building this model paid off. Incredibly, all of the parts fit on the first try and not one had to be re-made. Don’s son-in-law made the decals and the wooden base that holds the tiny Titan. The base unit includes rollers under the wheels, so the unit can be operated in place.
Don says the model took about four years and “many miles” to complete. Why miles? Although the full-size Titan restored by LeRoy Baumgardner Jr. was originally used just 60 miles northwest of Don in St. John, Wash., by the time Don became interested in it, it was located in Kinzers, Pa. Don contacted LeRoy and learned that the Type D Titan nearest to Don was located in Crosby, N.D.
Don was determined to make his model as accurate as possible, and while he was able to purchase a parts book and operator’s manual, neither provided the dimensions and details he required. So he went the extra mile — actually about 6,000 of them! Don and his wife, Donna (since deceased), ended up making three trips from Genesee to Crosby to take photographs and measurements of John Tysse’s Titan to recreate this masterpiece.
Don and his family have donated the Titan to the Eastern Washington Agricultural Museum, Pomeroy, Wash., where it can be viewed during regular hours or by special appointment. FC
For more information:
— Eastern Washington Agricultural Museum, 99 Fairgrounds Rd., Pomeroy, WA 99347; phone (509) 843-3506.
— David Ruark farms in southeast Washington. He and his wife are members of the Lewis-Clark Antique Power Club of Lewiston, Idaho, and enjoy restoring, displaying and demonstrating antique engines, tractors and farm equipment. Contact him at email@example.com.