Aultman-Taylor Experience

PO Box 863 Farmerville, Louisiana 71241

We finally got into the BIG tractors for replacement of the old
reliable steam power. In the late ’20s and early ’30s,
townships often purchased tractors such as the Aultman-Taylor to be
used in grading the roads. This old four-cylinder lay down gas
powered engine with a slow rpm was John D. Rockefeller’s
friend, for efficiency definitely was not part of the program but
it did have ample belt horsepower for the replacement of the older
source, the steam engine. There were other reasons why this old
iron horse was one of the brands selected for replacement of steam

The challenger unit of steam had to be of similar horsepower,
handling characteristics and traction ability to tow the separator
from a threshing site to the next job of threshing, and it had to
appeal to the owner or operator. The handling characteristics,
steering for example, was by means of log chains as connecting
links on the steering worm powered by a human being. Progress, yes,
our pioneers were in some kind of hurry the internal combustion
engine was here!

The agricultural world was open for new events, names, and
progress was determined to force itself upon the horizon. Progress
was the method the generation demanded.

For example, the original tractor provided a power train with
two speeds: one forward and one reverse at a speed of travel of 1
miles per hour. Don’t criticize. The steam engine did no
better. But man being the impatient individual he is, devised an
improvement in the travel speed by engineering a replacement gear
change, which stepped the forward speed up to three miles an hour.
Wonder what Ray Huron, winner of the first Indy Race, would have to
say about that!

Well as you may realize, when we were faced with procuring
another rig for an up-coming large run of wheat and oats in our
home area, we jumped at the opportunity and accepted the verbal
contract. Now off to find a suitable thresher and power unit.

Our investigation first provided a 36 x 64 Minneapolis steel
thresher that was primarily ready to use with minimal usual
preparation and it had a 16 foot feeder table which was just fine.
You old-timers must know how the young hell-bent for leather
bundle-haulers would just break their back trying to slug a new
rig, well, they could throw it on but they couldn’t control the
feeder governorha, ha! So it looked like the thresher part of the
new team was about ready now with two parts of the triangle. We
knew of a good separator man who was available, and a blower man
came to us for employment, so the lone link to a good team was the
power engineer, and of course, the power unit. What about the unit?
We had to find a real horse for the belt.

Someone had told us of a township (adjacent) that had purchased
a new crawler type tractor and the former wheel type tractors were
now for sale. So, we investigated the rumor. They might be
Aultman-Taylor wheel type tractors.

The newest tractor had the engine completely overhauled and the
lugs on the rear wheels were badly worn from road work, but the
second tractor was primarily a source of parts or salvage. The rear
wheels and lugs were very usable. If we could buy both of the
units, then the rear wheels could be interchanged. We decided to
investigate and planned a trip only ten miles from home. We had to
make the trip and check it out! Well, the story proved correct, and
the operator-commissioner gave us every manner of cooperation in
our search for the power horse. Yes, we had struck gold!

The new iron horse was all that we needed and the price was
within budget, so we made a deal. The two units were purchased. One
was the older type tractor with the square cooler radiator as
pictured on page 3 of the May-June issue of the Iron Men Album of
1993, and the other had the tube type round radiator. However, the
newer unit did have badly worn lugs on the drive wheels. The other
tractor’s wheels were good for many a trip, so no problem, take
them both home and switch the wheels.

The Township had overhauled the engine but the tractor had not
been put into service and the purchase of the new crawler became a
reality to our benefit! Well, how about that an engine overhaul
included, it seemed a terrific buy, now to move these monsters to
home base. In those days you simply started them up and people
drove a unit to the intended place of operation, but two? Well,
help was cheap so two people simply made the trip. Shouldn’t
take over a good early, start (daybreak) and let’s see, 1 miles
an hour should be home by dark (no lights).

So when we filled up the front unit with gas (the one that had
the rebuilt engine in it), we noticed that the under platform tank
consumed approximately 100 gallons of gasoline, and mounted on the
right fender was a supply tank used in bringing in supplementary
fuel to the carburetor. Well, it must be all for some good purpose
soon with the show! For a monster such as this we could justify
high consumption but if she had the horses it had to be accepted.
On with the old Navy maneuver, drive and tow, with the two tractors
together. Albert used a device of his own to tie the towed tractor.
A model T Ford was driven by either of us with supplies that might
be needed. He and I were assigned personnel to transport them to
our lots and shed the ten miles, on dirt roads.

The trip seemed to be only a simple two-day trip, more or less,
but after running for approximately two hours the engine slowed and
stopped. We theorized that with all the new surfaces in the engine
rebuilding, that a ‘burn-in’ obviously was occurring. So,
let her cool down, have a basket lunch, crank up again and away we

All is well again for a two-hour ride and then slow-slow-slower
and a dead stop. We sit again! This pattern dogged us all the way
home and two days became four days, but we finally entered the
outskirts of the home town, our storage lot and shed for a rest for
A.T.s, our new friends. We counseled with the hope that we knew
what was the cause of the two-hour run in periods and theorized
that when put into the harness (belt) for hard work threshing, all
would be corrected and all will be happy.

The period preparing for the ‘big run’ was quite a
pleasant time for we were going prepared for a hard run with 14
bundle racks, plenty of grain wagons, some trucks, primarily Model
Ts and 28 Chevys and with an above average separator, top personnel
at the tractor and separator; an energetic blower man, 16 foot
feeder, 64′ blower housing. Why don’t we let them practice
setting to add some showmanship for the new run. So we had them
practice setting up, from pulling into the site and put the stop
watch on them. They liked it and now we were ready to go.

The first day we pulled into the farm yard with an air of cool
confidence and a bit of showmanship. We were the experts! We were
ready to perform the professionals.

I will never forget this tractor man. He was the picture of
confidence as he wheeled the old tractor through three staggered
gates with the separator, without slowing the engine, at almost top
speed and we breezed to the site selected for set-up. Now to get
the belt on the separator man had the belt rolled out and the
blower and weigher auger tube were in positionlet’s go

We had our noon lunch early and then out to take the first loads
of bundles, now waiting to pull into the feedergive them the high
sign, wind her up!

Everything seemed in harmony for a sweet symphony, the rhythmic
rise and fall of the straw racks, the whirl of the blower fan and
the chuckle of the solid beat of the exhaust from the slow turning
engine at last at work. The cock a doodle young bundle haulers were
so busy keeping up with our high capacity they didn’t have time
to let their devil-may-care minds stray with non-productive
activities the grain was dry, the yield was high, owners were all
pleasant. There was little for us to do but ‘politic’ with
happy talk. We were proud, for our plans had jelled. No problems,
no worries, just tell a few cute stories, enjoy sweet success and
soon go on to the next rig for further supervision.

WHOA! Better check with the tractor engineer before leaving as
to how the engine is behaving. Is it okay? He had a little problem
the tractor started coughing and the transfer pump had to be used
to keep it running. The music of the system almost stopped (should
not have made the inquiry it heard us!) By some quirk of fate the
engineer had pulled, out of the sack, an old trick to announce that
after the racks were unloaded at the rig, they would shut down some
event of a relative funeral or whatever, but it would happen
shortly. We delayed leaving to see what was going on. When the
racks were finished, the tractor man said to us, ‘Something is
not right with this engine. I have been feeding more fuel into this
engine in order to prevent it from stopping for sometime. Something
is blocking the fuel inlet.’ So, we began removing fuel lines
and blowing them and finally got to the carburetor, removed the
float chamber to check the float setting. Maybe the float is not
holding enough fuel in the float chamber for siphoning the fuel
into the venturi. When the chamber was removed all was revealed. A
little sparrow had built a nest in the float chamber and the float
did not allow enough fuel to pass into the venturi tube!

We were delighted to find the trouble that had dogged us while
learning about our new horse Ault-man-Taylor. Needless to say, we
installed a make-shift screen on the air intake to prevent any
further illegal entries into the carburetor intake.

A little sparrow had almost killed a giant!

Tweet-tweet-tweetsaid the little sparrow!

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