Confessions of a Tiller Tinker


| April 2003


Its enormous size and large, two-stroke engine surprised me when I set eyes on the machine. The price was right and it ran well, so I bought my first Rototiller: a 1947 Graham-Paige Model B1-6, better known as a Frazer Rototiller.

After a few minor repairs - including new tines - I tilled my garden. The machine's sound, especially when tilling deeply with a wide-open throttle, is unique. The engine doesn't have a governor, so the operator must be careful not to give it too much gas. Yet, after that summer, I decided it needed maintenance if I wanted to keep the tiller in service.

They are the forerunners to the present-day Troy-Bilt Rototiller. Rototiller Inc. started manufacturing the Roto-Ette Model T in 1949 after an engineer convinced the company's founder, C.W. Kelsey, that his one-wheel Home Gardener was too expensive for the average gardener. On the other hand, built in 1952, the Model 2 was slightly more affordable. I salvaged the best parts from both tillers and reassembled the Model 2. It didn't have its original Briggs & Stratton engine, so I purchased one and will eventually install it in the Model 2. Still, the tiller is easy to operate and especially useful to till flowerbeds.

I didn't consider myself a collector, even after tinkering with those three tillers. I just liked old, worn-out equipment that I could fix and actually use. That changed after I attended the 1999 Grease, Steam and Rust Show in McConnellsburg, Pa. As I walked through the gate, I saw something unbelievable. There before me sat an entire display of Rototillers!

Five handsome Rototillers sat on a trailer, each with detailed information about the garden machines. I'd never seen anyone display the large, yellow tillers anywhere, and I was so excited that I searched for the owner. The unique display belonged to Bob Antram from Somerset, Pa. We talked for more than an hour about Rototiller history, and in the process he shared a wealth of information and renewed my interest in restoring my first Rototiller.

I decided to narrow my 'old iron' hobby to Rototiller equipment from that moment on. I sold my other old garden tractors within a few months and made room for more Rototillers.






SUBSCRIBE TO FARM COLLECTOR TODAY!

Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.




Facebook Pinterest YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265