Letters to the Editor

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In 1979 we sold our farm where we had a dairy herd for 33 years.
After selling I had more time for my hobby of woodworking and I
built wooden models of farm machinery. I now have over 50 various
tractors and each one has a farm implement attached. Many
industrial machines are in my collection. This photo (top) is my
model of a buck rake we built.

While I was still in school in the 1940s, we were making hay
with horse and wagon, and hay loader. We put on more cows and that
meant more hay was needed. My brother and a hired man built a buck
rake and I helped when I got out of school.

We started with a 1927 Cadillac Coupe with a V-8 engine. We
stripped the body leaving only the hood over the engine. The
Cadillac had a PTO on the transmission, which had an air pump to
fix tires. This was perfect for a gear attachment to run a hoist to
raise the basket or load after loading. We attached a Plymouth
differential and transmission over the PTO. This gave us three
speeds to lift the basket.

We cut the left axle on the differential and welded the drive
shaft to the housing so all the power was sent to the right side.
On this side we welded a spool using two brake drums to wind a
38-inch steel cable through a pulley system to lift the basket. An
emergency brake was attached to hold the spool and the load of hay
for transport. The hay basket was 12 feet wide and 16 feet long. It
was made of ash and each tine had a metal tip.

The Cadillac was long and fast. It was not built to carry a
heavy load, so we added helper springs from an old Plymouth on the
back. Speed was the advantage. It would go nearly 25 mph in
reverse, which helped greatly loading hay. Then going to the barn
was a quick task. My brother found if you loaded it the best you
could, then drive off leaving the load, get another load, and come
back and back into the first load at high speed, you could acquire
a load of nearly 1 ton. When lifting this load sometimes the front
wheels hardly had enough weight to steer the machine.

We used the hay sling system in the barn. A sling was laid on
the barn floor and the buck rake would drop a load on the sling. I
would hook the sling and haul it into the mow with a Farmall A. If
the hay field was near the barn my brother could get hay to the
barn faster than we could put it away. We used this system until
about 1955 when we purchased a pick-up baler.

– Norman Riley
3586 Nelson Road
Auburn, NY 13021

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment