The Wetmore Tractor

Iowa inventor's prize found and restored

| October 2009

  • The Wetmore as Wayne and Roxie Ebright found it
    The Wetmore as Wayne and Roxie Ebright found it.
    Loretta Sorensen
  • Unique spokes make the Wetmore distinctive
    Unique spokes make the Wetmore distinctive.
    Loretta Sorensen
  • With its restoration complete, Wayne and Roxie Ebright's Wetmore stands alone in its class
    With its restoration complete, Wayne and Roxie Ebright's Wetmore stands alone in its class.
    Loretta Sorensen
  • The Waukesha 4-cylinder flathead engine, water pump and magneto
    The Waukesha 4-cylinder flathead engine, water pump and magneto.
    Loretta Sorensen
  • A shot of the Wetmore’s back end, showing steering wheel, seat and brake levers
    A shot of the Wetmore’s back end, showing steering wheel, seat and brake levers.
    Loretta Sorensen
  • A new radiator was among the replacement parts made for the Wetmore
    A new radiator was among the replacement parts made for the Wetmore.
    Loretta Sorensen
  • Wayne Ebright was determined to find all the parts it would take to restore his one-of-a-kind Wetmore tractor
    Wayne Ebright was determined to find all the parts it would take to restore his one-of-a-kind Wetmore tractor. The engine was one of the last parts he located.
    Loretta Sorensen
  • The rear wheel of the Wetmore
    The rear wheel of the Wetmore.
  • A view of the rear of the Wetmore
    A view of the rear of the Wetmore.

  • The Wetmore as Wayne and Roxie Ebright found it
  • Unique spokes make the Wetmore distinctive
  • With its restoration complete, Wayne and Roxie Ebright's Wetmore stands alone in its class
  • The Waukesha 4-cylinder flathead engine, water pump and magneto
  • A shot of the Wetmore’s back end, showing steering wheel, seat and brake levers
  • A new radiator was among the replacement parts made for the Wetmore
  • Wayne Ebright was determined to find all the parts it would take to restore his one-of-a-kind Wetmore tractor
  • The rear wheel of the Wetmore
  • A view of the rear of the Wetmore

Old iron has long been a passion for Wayne and Roxie Ebright, Worthing, S.D.

So it’s no wonder the rusting, scattered parts of an old tractor abandoned in a friend’s shelterbelt caught Wayne’s eye. When he inquired about the possibility of buying the remains, Wayne got the green light.

“He knew I’d try to restore the tractor and not just leave it lay,” says Wayne. “But neither of us knew it would take me 16 years to find all the pieces and actually rebuild it.”

Wayne’s friend had rescued the tractor parts from an iron buyer a few years earlier at an auction. From the tractor’s markings, the two men knew it was a Wetmore. Beyond that, they had no idea where it was manufactured or where to find parts to restore it. “I thought I could advertise for parts,” Wayne recalls. “But I kept coming up empty. No one knew anything about a Wetmore.”

Wayne and Roxie began searching newspaper archives at the Sioux City, Iowa, library. The time-intensive process paid off when they found Wetmore advertisements that included photos of the tractor. “It took hours to look through records for information about Mr. Wetmore and the tractors,” Roxie says. “We thought it might help us locate another tractor or at least give us ideas about finding parts.”

Next, the couple placed an ad in the Sioux City newspaper. That got the attention of local historian John Roost, who told the Ebrights he might know the location of some Wetmore tractor parts. Unfortunately, Roost passed away before the Ebrights could visit the supposed owner of the Wetmore parts.



“We knew they lived around McCook Lake, [S.D.],” Wayne says. “We just weren’t certain of their name or if they were really interested in selling the parts.” Happily, the parts owner tracked down the Ebrights and a meeting was arranged.

“When we went to see what they had, we immediately recognized the Wetmore wheel spokes,” Wayne says. “They’re so unique we knew the other parts were genuine. The parts were actually property of a family enterprise, so acquiring them was not an easy accomplishment.”