Recognize this tiller?

| January 2010

  • Unknown make of rototiller
    Richard Ohlin inherited this rototiller and hasn’t been able to determine the machine’s manufacturer and age.
    Richard Ohlin

  • Unknown make of rototiller

I inherited this rototiller and haven’t been able to locate the manufacturer’s nametag. I’ve been trying to determine the machine’s manufacturer and age. I’m certain that the Clinton 2-1/4 hp cast iron engine is a replacement. The engine’s drivebelt can be positioned in one of two driveshaft pulley positions to supplement the drive gears. A drive-shaft interconnects the engine with the drive wheel and tine gear boxes.

The machine has two forward speed gears and a neutral, but no reverse gear. The rubber drive treads are seated in guide channels welded onto a cylindrical steel drum. The handlebar height can be adjusted up or down and locked in position at any height. A heavy spring secured between the handlebars permits the bars to be separated, then locked in the center, right or left positions. The right and left handlebar offset positions permit the operator to avoid walking on the freshly tilled row.

Two articulated control rods run down the left handlebar. One rod disengages the machine from the neutral position and engages one of the two forward drive speeds. Pulling the drive control rod backward selects the lower speed; pushing the rod forward selects the higher speed. The second control rod engages and disengages the rear 8-tine tiller blades. An adjustable foot behind the tines controls the tilling depth.

This machine hadn’t been used for many years, but after cleaning the engine’s needle valves I was able to start it after a few pulls. It did quite a nice job of tilling the garden. If anyone could provide information as to the manufacturer and age of this machine, I would appreciate it.

Richard Ohlin

Send letters to: Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; FAX: (785) 274-4385; e-mail:

Don Davison
6/7/2012 1:20:42 AM

Update: It is a Howard Bantam Rotavator circa 1952. Here is a link to a site with lots of info.

Beth Beavers
6/6/2012 1:52:43 PM

No need to apologize, Mr. Davison. Thank you for sharing this information!

Don Davison
6/6/2012 1:25:11 PM

Sorry to post all of this, but Richard's email is not working for me. I came across your posting inquiring about the make and model of an old rototiller. It is identical, as far as I can remember to one my father owned when I was young. It would have been in the late fifties, and my dad did not have much money, so I would guess the tiller would have been well used when he got it. I was very interested in this stuff as a kid, and in fact became a millwright, and now I teach the same trade. So from my recollections as a seven or eight year old boy, here goes. I do not know the make of the machine, but very much remember the motor as being a single cylinder Villiers engine. The engine was shifted from side to side to tighten or loosen the drive belt, therefore acting like a clutch. He eventually replaced the engine with an electric motor, but as I recall, with limited success. Yours is the only picture I can recall ever seeing. I realize the post is older, so if you have since found more information on the tiller, please let me know. Don Davison


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