National Summer Tractor Show: A Gaggle of Garden Tractors

Central Hawkeye Gas Engine & Tractor Show marked by rare and unusual exhibits.


| January 2006



A Gaggle of Garden Tractors

Below: This 1924 Shaw Du-All T-25 was a first-year model. “I’m only aware of six or eight others,” says owner Joe Franklin. “They’re not real common.” To change speeds on the 2-speed tractor, you’d change the length of the chain.

If it's the odd and unique you crave, take in a show put on by the Vintage Garden Tractor Club of America. When the group held its annual gathering last July at the Central Hawkeye Gas Engine & Tractor Show at Waukee, Iowa, rare units came from all over the Midwest. Even those in the hobby remain amazed by what they find at shows.

"I don't know if I ever go to a show that I don't see something new, something I've never seen before," says Joe Franklin, Dixon, Ill.

Joe displayed a 1924 Shaw Du-All T-25, a family piece he brought back from the grave. "Dad got it in the 1940s, probably at a junkyard," Joe recalls. "Later, it was dumped in a hole in the woods behind our place." As time passed, loads of dirt buried the Shaw. Years later, Joe happened to remember the old Shaw.

After exhuming the Shaw, Joe discovered the engine was missing. Three years passed before he could put his hands on a 1924 Briggs & Stratton Model PB engine. Then restoration began in earnest. All the cast iron was intact, but most of the steel had to be replaced. The unit's wooden handles are a particularly nice touch: Joe got them from a relative of the Shaw family.

In addition to garden tractors, Joe also collects planters, outboard mowers, chainsaws and blacksmith tools. "Show me something that weighs a lot," he says with a smile, "and I'll collect it."

C.K. Curtiss, Dallas, showed an unusual pair: a 10 hp Buffalo said to be a prototype, and a Schield Two-Way tractor that never went into production.