Above: The serial number tag for Mark Bookout’s earliest Kinkade.
Mark Bookout's collection of garden tractors reflects the highlights of the category through its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. His collection began with a Standard Twin his dad bought in the 1950s. Mark's late brother had worked on it at one point, and when Mark (a computer project manager at the University of Missouri-Rolla) moved to Missouri eight years ago, he hauled it out of a shed and began tinkering. He took it to a few shows, and friends began calling with sightings of others.
While researching the history of the Standard Engine Company, which built the Twin, Mark discovered a connection to American Farm Machinery Company. "It was like unraveling a thread through time," he says. The same men started a family of garden tractor companies. American Farm Machinery was the first. They also founded Standard Engine Company, Walsh Tractor Company and Allied Motors Corporation (makers of the Viking tractors).
Kinkades in Mark's collection include one of each of the first two models produced. The yellow unit shown on page 27 is the first generation Kinkade. "If our interpretation of serial number tags is correct, the yellow one is number 116," he says. "I'd estimate there were about 400 made of that model. I'm aware of five. The red one (a second generation Kinkade), if our interpretation is correct, is the 19th of that model made."
The second generation Kinkade had been restored with he got it, and both had serial number tags. The first generation model (the yellow unit), which is not complete, was rusty but not stuck. "Internally, it was in pretty good shape," Mark says, although you would not want to rely on the cooling fan. It had a lot of red (soft) brass castings, which tells me they did their own casting at that point." The red unit was in better shape. "I haven't touched it, other than to remove the magneto for repair," Mark says. Colors on both units are true to the bottom layer of paint, he says, "though we've also found a first generation Kinkade with a red wheel."
Other pieces in Mark's collection include a Model L Kinkade, Standard Twin, Standard Monarch, Standard Walsh, B Viking Twin, G Viking Single and a Beeman (the latter is the company generally credited with first manufacture of a garden tractor, in 1914).