A Diamond T Truck Outfitted with a Fords Grinding Mill

1940 Diamond T truck utilizes Fords grinding mill and molasses impregnator to make feed more appealing to livestock

| January 2011

Last summer, I attended the annual show of the Crawford County Antique Farm Machinery Association at the county fairgrounds in Bucyrus, Ohio, which included the annual state gathering of the Massey-Harris Ferguson Club of Ohio. Lots of Massey-Harris, Massey Ferguson and Ferguson equipment was there, including my 1944 Massey-Harris 101 Jr. Standard tractor (which I’ve since sold). I want to mention one of the most unusual things I saw at the show.I’ve long been a fan of old trucks. One of the most attractive of the trucks built during the 1930s and 1940s was the Diamond T. The company started in Chicago in 1907, when Charles A. Tilt began custom building passenger cars before switching to heavy trucks in 1911. In 1933, Diamond T brought out the first of their stylish and streamlined models, which featured lots of chrome trim, V-type windshields and chrome hub caps. The Diamond T was a fairly popular truck from 1911 until 1958, when it was bought by White Motors, which merged the firm with Reo in 1967 to create Diamond Reo.

It was exciting to find a 1940 Diamond T truck with a Fords grinding mill and molasses impregnator mounted on the back at the Bucyrus show. Owned and nicely restored by Charlie Zolman from near Lexington, Ohio, the truck and grinder once belonged to his uncle, who owned Zolman’s Feed Store in Fredericktown, Ohio. The elder Mr. Zolman bought the truck and grinder new and then traveled around Knox County for the next 25 years grinding feed for farmers.

Sweetening the deal
Molasses was mixed with ground feed to make it sweet and better tasting to animals so they would eat more of the stuff, or to make barely palatable feed more appetizing. However, everyone has heard the old expression, “slow as molasses in January,” and that created problems for the mixer: keeping the stuff liquid enough for good mixing.

In 1933, Elias G. Myers of Toledo, Ohio, applied for a patent on a truck-mounted hammer mill with a “means of mixing molasses or other liquid with subdivided edible materials such as ground grain, hay, alfalfa, beans and other vegetable matter such as may be used as ingredients in mixed feeds.” The patent was issued in 1935 and assigned to the Myers-Sherman Co., Streator, Ill.

The idea behind Mr. Myers’ invention was to use heat from the truck engine’s cooling system to warm the molasses to “a desired state of fluidity for mixing purposes,” and then to atomize that fluid and inject it, under pressure, directly into the stream of ground feed as it was blown from the hammer mill.

The patent drawing shows a heavy truck with a molasses tank mounted right behind the cab. Behind that is the hammer mill and molasses injecting apparatus, with the cyclone-type feed collector and bagger at the very rear. The necessary pipes, valves, pumps and fans are shown as well.