THE GASOLINE ENGINE

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Here is a picture of me on my International 8-16 tractor built by International Harvester Company in 1916. It is in perfect running condition. I display it at fairs and put it in parades.
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Here is a picture of our 2040 HP Oil-Pull Tractor, Serial No. 1047, which we are restoring. This picture proves that it pays to 'advertise in the Album.' We needed a set of Bull Gears for this tractor so we ran a 'wanted' ad in the Alb

Ferry View Martins Ferry, Ohio

There it comes!

The boys who had been anxiously waiting all morning for the
wagon’s return ran to open the gate. Dad had left early for
town to get the new gasoline engine that had been ordered. After
the team came through and the gate was closed, they scrambled up
into the wagon. There-with its bright paint and brass gleaming like
gold was the little giant that was to make farm work so much
easier. To this farm, as to thousands of others later, had come the
first permanent mechanical power. Heretofore, except for a windmill
or two that pumped water, the only power in the neighborhood aside
from animal was when a ponderous steam traction engine pulled a
separator around to thresh grain late in the summer. Sometimes
portable steam engines pulled by teams of horses or oxen were used
for threshing, cutting of ensilage, and many other jobs.

On some farms the fodder was fed to the animals just as it came
from the shock. It was a very wasteful method. On most small farms
one of the chores for the boys was chopping the stalks into short,
more edible feed. This was done by pushing the fodder through a
cutting box, and chopping with a hinged knife. When done right,
this was a slow tedious job. Naturally, when the boys were in a
hurry the stems were cut pretty long. You might say that some had
just ‘a lick and a promise’.

In the farm papers engine manufacturers were beginning to
advertise. A gasoline engine was something to dream about until Dad
went to the State Fair in 1907 and saw one set up and working! He
examined it closely and after starting and stopping it

several times, ordered one. While waiting for its arrival at the
home farm, a concrete base with hold down bolts was built in the
barn, and a place outside readied for the gas tank.

The upright 3 h. p. engine weighed around 900 pounds, with
tanks, cooling screens, etc. Ignition was furnished by 3 drycell
batteries with a coil and ignitor. Gas was pumped up to the mixing
valve on the cylinder. Belted to a new rotary knife fodder cutter
it did a good job for many years.

Now, instead of the machine oil can being filled before harvest
time, the new engine required that a supply be kept on hand at all
times along side of the harness oil. Instead of just axle grease,
there was also a can of cup grease-and the boys were cautioned not
to waste the expensive grease by screwing in the cups. Everybody
was warned not to be careless around the bright red can that was
used to bring gas from town. In time, some wagons that delivered
lamp oil carried gas in 5-gallon cans.

A competitive windmill company’s slogan was ‘Why buy
gasoline when wind is free?’ Soon there were many more engines
around. Some were belted to a line shaft that ran 5 or 6 different
machines. In the school science books around World War 1 a favorite
problem was to figure the diameters of pulleys to run different
machines at certain speeds from a given R.P.M. Some had just one
job to do and were permanently fastened to cement mixers, pumps,
saws, etc. As engines were made smaller, some were moved around
where needed. Perhaps usually used to run the family washing
machine, and at harvest time it ran the cider mill, and at
butchering time the meat grinder, etc.

In the late 1920’s the gasoline tractors began to be used
more and more on the farms, and with their power take offs took
over the jobs of the larger engines. When the rural electric lines
were extended during the 1930’s, the heyday of the old side
wheel gas engines was over! Some continued to be used, but with the
advent of the light weight, air-cooled engines they became more
scarce than ever. Many were junked, some were covered up in sheds
and barns, others left outside to rust away. Finally, in the late
1940’s it was discovered that most of the old machinery was
getting scarce. Especially the old steam traction engines. As a
hobby, some were restored and meets were held where the public
could see them work. Soon these were large annual events where the
old hand methods up to the latest mechanical ways were
demonstrated.

One of the boys who had so anxiously watched for the wagon that
day so long ago, went to a meet accompanied by his son and
grandson. There with the steamers, old gas tractors, ox teams,
horse powers, and antique cars was a GAS ENGINE exactly like the
one that had been in the wagon – together with other models, and
makes, all brightly painted and running like new.

Grandpap fondly looked at them and thought of all the hard work
they had eliminated from the old hand days. Son looked at them, and
thought of all the work-such as hand feeding and hauling-that the
modern machinery has done away with. Grandson looked,-and thought
of the 4-H girls selling hamburgers at the refreshment stand!

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment