Proud Survivor: International Harvester Co. Type A

1908 International Harvester Co. Type A perhaps the oldest running gas tractor in U.S.

| March 2012

  • IHC Type A Roof
    The roof on the International Type A is not original to the tractor. It replaces one built of corrugated steel by Vernon Iverson.
  • 1908 IHC Type A
    Despite having been repainted several decades ago, the 1908 International Type A remains in good condition.
  • Spencer Iverson
    Spencer Iverson with his 1908 International Harvester Co. Type A 15 hp tractor, one of the oldest running tractors in the U.S.
  • Type A Water Cooler
    Unlike many early tractors, the 1908 International Type A was water-cooled.
    Photo by Nikki Rajala
  • IHC Logo
    When it came time to restore the Type A, little was required beyond repainting.
    Photo by Nikki Rajala.
  • Type A Flywheel
    The Type A’s cast iron flywheel is serious business. It took a very strong man to turn the flywheel. Spencer recalls that a locally compiled list once noted the names of those who could turn the flywheel on his grandfather’s tractor.
    Photo by Nikki Rajala
  • Shift Gears
    The mechanism used to shift gears on the Type A.
    Photo by Nikki Rajala
  • Tractor Chains
    The Type A was steered by chains. It took 14 full turns of the steering wheel to completely turn the tractor’s front wheels.
  • Serial Number
    The serial number (1402) on Spencer Iverson’s Type A is one of the earliest assigned by International Harvester
  • Cogs
    Cogs on the rear drive wheels are open to dirt and debris.
  • Type A Gas Tractor
    When Spencer Iverson’s grandfather bought the Type A, he was the first in his neighborhood to own a gas tractor. “He was progressive in other ways as well, Spencer says. “He was the first in the area to have radio, the first to have television and the first to have rural electricity.”
  • Auto Buggy
    A companion piece to the 1908 IHC Type A tractor on Eureka Farm is this 1908 International high-wheeler Auto Buggy.

  • IHC Type A Roof
  • 1908 IHC Type A
  • Spencer Iverson
  • Type A Water Cooler
  • IHC Logo
  • Type A Flywheel
  • Shift Gears
  • Tractor Chains
  • Serial Number
  • Cogs
  • Type A Gas Tractor
  • Auto Buggy

During the time Spencer Iverson was serving with the armed forces in Vietnam, his father sent him a precious gift to remind him of home. “He recorded the sound of our 1908 International Harvester Co. tractor so I could hear it over there, and to remind me of all my relatives,” the Lamberton, Minn., man says, choking up at the memory. “That’s how important that tractor is to our family.”

Eureka!

In the early 1900s, Spencer’s grandfather, Vernon Iverson, was a 16-year-old immigrant from Norway. He walked 7 miles from the rail station in Storden, Minn., to the farm where he was to work. “The story goes that he came over the hill and saw the beauty of the farm, and said ‘Eureka!’ or ’I found it,’ and that’s how the farm got named,” Spencer says.

Vernon worked on the farm for a number of years. When the owner’s health deteriorated, the neighbors asked him, “Why don’t you give the farm to this young kid?” “That’s how it started,” Spencer says. “The owner signed the farm over on a piece of paper, and it’s been legal ever since. That’s how Eureka Farm started.”

In 1908, Vernon took his horses from the farm to the railhead at Storden. When he returned, it was with a brand new 1908 IHC Type A 15 hp tractor (serial no. 1402). “It’s one of the lowest frame numbers we’re aware of involving International,” Spencer says.



On the farm, the new tractor was used strictly for belt-and-pulley work during threshing and to blow silage into a silo. “They tried hitching it to a plow once, but it just didn’t work out,” Spencer says. “Grandpa also took the machine over to the neighbor’s and helped them with some of their work.”

One of the first gas-powered tractors at the time, the International was the wave of the future. “My grandpa thought that gas business was the new deal, and by golly maybe we ought to run with that because gas power is easier to operate,” he says. “You didn’t have to fire it so early in the morning like you did with steam, and it took fewer people to run it.”



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