Howard K. Holdeman of Bristol, Ind., left, turned an eclectic selection of vintage parts into a working tractor. These photos show his progress; some were taken in August 2001, at the Tri-State Gas Engine & Tractor Association Show in Portland, Ind.
During my various tractor trades, I acquired a John Deere model L tractor chassis with no motor, radiator or hood. 'What to do with it?'
I had a chance to purchase a motor from a John Deere combine model 40, which is a four-cylinder and also has a much larger displacement than the original L engine.
I had a clutch and a bell housing from an old model L Hercules engine that was 2 inches smaller than the bell housing on the model 40 engine.
By having a 1/2-inch steel plate made, the two bell housings would work so I could use the clutch from the old L. The combination clutch housing and the length of the four-cylinder was longer by 4 inches than the old tubular frame would permit, so I cut the tubes and substituted two 3-inch 4.1 steel channels and welded them in place of the tubes. The L drive shaft was eliminated, and I used one end of the old drive shaft. I took a 1985 Mercury car's used rack-and-pinion front steering and adapted it to the front of the tractor. The next step was to remove the old steering box and extend the steering shaft.
I sandblasted the chassis and parts and repainted it John Deere green. I installed new tires and a new, original hood and grille.
- Howard K. Holdeman, Tired Iron Farm, 19467 C.R. 8, Bristol, IN 46507; (574) 848-4628
Information sought on Bantam plow
I am looking for any information about a single-bottom plow with a three-point hitch, which was manufactured by the American Bantam Car Co. Thank you.
- James Walsh, 7624 Taylor Ave., Winthrop, IA 50682; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to helpful readers
I thought I should thank everyone for responding to my letter (Farm Collector, July 2002) concerning a hay stacker. I received one letter and two phone calls.
The first call was from Ron Williams of Manhattan, Kan. He thought the stacker was built by Jayhawk Mfg. in Great Bend, Kan., but had no details. The second call was from John Wetter, a farmer near Norton, Kan. He indicated that the stacker was built by Clem Robbins in Norton. He didn't think many of the stackers were built; the few made were marketed under the Norton Mfg. name. (This confirms the recollection of my father, who called it a Norton stacker.)
The third communication was a letter from Wally Harris of Americus, Kan. He reported he saw a restored stacker in the Sunflower Pioneer Power Association Show, Almena, Kan. I thought that possibly a member of that club might contact me with more information. At this point, no one has contacted me.
This project started when a Wichita (Kan.) Eagle newspaper reporter, Phyllis Jacobs Griekspore, ran an article and picture about George and Bertha Herd's wheat harvest on their farm near Coldwater, Kan. I saved the article and decided to see if I could learn more about the old stacker. I contacted The Wichita Eagle's reporter and was directed to George Herd's son, James, who lives in Wichita. James still had the farm harvest scene picture and had a copy made for me. The results have been very interesting.
- Ralph R. Look, 8006 Watson, Wichita, KS 67207
Superior Sanitary churn a family heirloom
Here are pictures of my old, restored 10-gallon crock churn. Printed on the front is 'Superior Sanitary Churn, Superior Sanitary Churn Co., Northville, Mich.; patented 12-18-1910.'
The churn is in mint condition, except the big top glass lid is cracked. I would like to get a new glass lid. Could anyone tell me if the company still exists and where, or if these glass lids are available anywhere?
My parents purchased the churn before 1918, and I will be 90 years old in November. I well remember standing behind it when I was 6 years old and pushing the handles back and forth to turn the churn around and around for my mother. I couldn't reach the top, so I held on to the sides to operate it. The hole on the churn to drain the buttermilk off was at the bottom and was stopped with a cork or corncob with cloth.
- Quinter R. Miller, 209 Carmi Court, Cerro Gordo, IL 61818
Felins tying machine knotter know-how sought
In response to the vintage Felins tying machine ad sent by Marshal Futney of Rosehill, Kan.: I have one of those machines made between 1932 and 1933. I worked at a farm that had 25 acres of asparagus. I was about 14 years old. The tying machine never worked too well on asparagus because the company wanted two strings on a bunch. Some say it works like a knotter on a wheat binder, but could someone tell me exactly how the Felins tying machine knotter works?
- Ray Hartge, 9208 Meadowbrook Lane, St. Louis, MO 63114; (913) 426-7566
Milking machine a puzzle
I think this item was produced in the 1930s; it was called a Duplex Visible Milking Machine. This is all that I have - no manual or teat cups. It milked directly from the cow into a 10-gallon milk can. Does someone have more information on this machine?
- Wilfred Clark, 2610 Carey Road, Hamilton, NY 13346
'GO' tractor shown in 1920s photographs
I recently found a couple of family pictures that include the General Ordnance tractor that I think was my dad's first tractor. The photographs probably were taken about 1925. That good-looking kid standing by the wheel is me, and I was born in 1922, so I probably was 4 or 5 there; I'm 80 now. The other two people have to be my mom and dad, Elmer and Lena Weidler of Howard, S.D. I can remember the tractor, but that is all. Can someone give me any more information on this tractor, which was made by the General Ordnance Tractor Co.?
-Vincent Weidler, 43663 235th St., Howard, SD 57349; email@example.com
Corn planter query
I would like some information on this corn planter for a one-row, walk-behind lister. It has some dark-green paint under the grease. Who made it, when was it made and what color was it? The disks are 18 inches in diameter, and the angle of the disks can be adjusted. The corn planter plates are 4 3/8 inches in diameter and have 5, 6 or 7 holes in each plate, which must be for corn spacing. One plate has 20 small holes, which must be for sorghum. The pedal must be to raise or lower the planter. Thank you.
- Kenneth C. Falk, 217 E. Cottage St., Nortonville, KS 66060
Hay rake briefly sports dual wheels
I was traveling recently on Highway 166 through Tyro, Kan., when I noted a number of pieces of farm equipment parked in a lot, including this hay rake. The natural question that entered my mind was why would there be dual wheels on such a rake? Over the years I have seen some strange things, but this was more strange than usual. I investigated and learned the owner reportedly had used the rake to support two unattached manure spreader wheels. A few weeks later the two 'extra' wheels were gone, so I suppose someone else had stopped to look and ended up buying them.
- Ivan L P falser, R.R. 1, Box 162, Caney, KS 67333; (620) 879-2938