While traveling a side road in Woodstock, Conn., I drove by a deserted farm. The barn was rundown, with a door missing, and a bank foreclosure sign stood in the yard. I'm not ordinarily a person who trespasses on someone else's property, but curiosity took over as I wondered what piece of iron might be inside that barn.
I backed up in front of the barn but couldn't see much inside the dark opening. Determined to have a closer look, I jumped out of my pick up truck, pushed my way through the tall weeds and carefully peered into the barn. When my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I saw the familiar outline of a dusty tractor steering wheel poking out of a collection of crates, buckets and long-forgotten farm tools. Boy, was I excited! My tractor meter was pegged! This was a model I'd never seen.
The hood was missing and the tractor was so dusty that I couldn't tell what color it used to be. I wiped off the grille and saw it was a rusty orange. My first thought was that it must be an Allis-Chalmers, or maybe a Case, but the styling puzzled me. It had a strange-looking single-front wheel with a very primitive-style fork.
I looked around for more clues, and leaning against one of the old, rough barn posts was the hood, with the lettering 'The General, Cleveland Tractor Company.' I remembered. Cleveland Tractor Co. ... that's Cletrac. Cletrac made crawlers, not tractors.
This is some of what I discovered: The General was made from 1939 to 1941 by the Cleveland Tractor Co. of Cleveland, Ohio. General GG was the model designation, and it was available exclusively in tricycle configuration. A Hercules IXA-3, four-cylinder, 3- by 4-inch gasoline engine, rated at 12-15 hp, powered the unit. This was the only wheeled tractor ever offered by the Cleveland Tractor Co., makers of the once famous 'Cletrac' Crawlers.
After 1941, the B.F. Avery Co. sold this tractor, painted red and \with a slightly larger, 3 1/8 inch-bore Hercules engine. It also was sold for two years by Massey-Harris dealers, but there, it remained Cletrac yellow and did not bear the Massey name.
I called the lawyer's telephone number on the foreclosure sign and was referred to the bank holding the mortgage. The bank staff was kind enough to help me contact the owner. 'I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the tractor,' the owner told me, 'but I'll let you know.'
A few weeks later I got brave and called him again. 'My brother came and took it to Maine,' he told me. Oh, well, nice thought. It was fun to see this rare tractor, but it sure would have been even more fun to bring it back to life.
Howard A. Budd, Center Farm, Box 5, Eastford, CT 06242
I wonder if someone might know what this set of wheels might have been. I don't know if it was used this way or turned over. Any help would be appreciated.
-Harold Anderson, 2514 15th St., Lindsborg, KS 67456
In the 1940s, I worked on a harvest crew, using a McCormick-Deering M grain binder. I was 10 or 12 at the time, and the machine was old then; now I'm in my 70s. Over the years, I lost track of the machine, but recently I found it again, way out in the woods, half buried in the sand.
I'm now restoring it and looking for any information I can find. In addition to having the McCormick-Deering M identification, the year '1890' is on the back of the machine, on one of the gear housings that have to do with the binding process.
Any information on parts availability, how the belts were mounted or a detailed picture of how the binder works would be greatly appreciated.
-Hubert Davis, 1022 N. W. 143rd St., Newberry, FL 32669; (352) 331-6844
Regarding the 'Slipping 'n Sliding' letter to the editor (Farm Collector, July 2002): The song referred to in the letter sparked my memory, but I can only remember one verse. If someone has the sheet music for that song, I would appreciate having a copy.
-Oscar B. Stene, 30339 110th St., Fulda, MN5613 1; (507) 425-2740
I am seeking information about a machine called a 'Rears Field Burner,' which I think originated in Oregon for use in burning green field stubble. Any information would be appreciated.
-Seth L Pierrepont, 845 Alexander Road, Princeton, NJ 08540; (609) 759-8888; spierrepont@sycamorevc. com
This is my nephew, Chase, and my dad, John, (grandson and grandpa) as they enjoy an afternoon drive on their restored John Deere tractors - a 1941 H and a 1937 B. John Deeres are especially important to this family as Dad worked for Deere's Tractor Works in Waterloo, Iowa, for 22 years before he retired. He and Chase have spent many hours working on these tractors, and it was great to see them having such a good time after all that hard work!
-Marie McNamara, 2206 70th St., Windsor Heights, IA 50322; (515)557-3095; marie. mcnamara@amerus. com