2404 Quincy St., Rock ford, Ill.
The second tractor that my grandfather and Dad had was a 1921 Hart-Parr 15-30 kerosene burner bought through a farmer's ad in 1922. Twin cylinder, four cycle engine, timed like the LaCrosse engine. This tractor was built by the Hart-Parr Co. In Charles City, Iowa, now with Oliver. The Oliver tractors are made in Charles City to this day. The 15-30 was a conventional four wheel standard tread machine. It had two speeds forward and one reverse. It also had the Madison Kipp six feed lubricator and contracting band hand operated clutch as did the LaCrosse. It had magneto type ignition, an improvement over the unreliable battery type of the previously described machine. The drive wheels were between four and five feet high with round s pokes, a foot wide and were equipped with extending angle iron lugs.
This tractor pulled three 14' plows. It was much heavier and more durable than the previous tractor, likewise steered and handled hard, to this day Dad has a warm feeling for the old Hart-Parr line which included the renowned model known as 'The Old Reliable 60'. He maintains that Hart-Parr was the line that proved gas power practical, as do other old time tractor men.
For several years in the latter 30's Dad had a Fordson and two 14' Oliver plows. This is the first tractor I remember, It, too, was a kerosene burner. The Fordson's ignition was unreliable; the vibrator coils were the big bottleneck - short lived. As to durability, Fordsons were a joke. Weak overall construction and light weight. Also noisy and hot to operate. No comparison between them and the them and the good de pendable Ford tractors of today. One joke back then was 'you didn't have a tractor, you had a Fordson'. The Fordson was the first tractor Dad used on a spike harrow, the previous two were too heavy and slow. The Fordson had 3 gears forward and on the road running empty would go seven miles per hour or more in high.
From there on it was Allis-Chalmers WC's for Dad, although he had a 10-20 McCormick-Deering for a year. This was in 1942 after using a a WC for several seasons, then moving onto a smaller place after several years of renting a larger place before buying this 80. For power and durability the 10-20 was okay, though rather awkward to handle after being used to the all purpose type.
In the late fall of '42, Dad bought his second WC, a '37, a year newer than the other one. He bought it at a farm sale - on steel wheels then. Some years later he bought rubber for it but never discarded the steel wheels. They came in handy the last several winters for odds and ends work in ice, snow and mud. This tractor is the one I learned on. It stayed in the family for 20 years.
The last tractor Dad operated, just previous to retirement in 1959, was a 1950 Oliver 77, the best of them all to his mind. I bought this one after returning from military service and used it until I sold out. Such a nice outfit to steer and handle and good to cultivate with. I was sorry to see it go.
I might mention in passing that the A-C and Oliver I farmed with are, sentimentally speaking descendants of the two early machines which Dad operated in his early experience, the L a C r o s s and the Hart-Parr, which have served their day and played well their part in the drama of agricultural progress. It has been my observation in the course of casual conversation in so many places I've been that the beginning of gas power have taken place no earlier, some instances even later, than the earliest experiences of this tractor veteran to whom I trust this article is a fitting tribute. From the standpoint of one interested in agriculture and the history of agricultural power and implements, such achievements as this are worthy of recognition and tribute. It is, to my mind, an outstanding record.