The 1954 Farmall Super MTA from South Dakota

The 1954  Farmall Model Super MTA from South Dakota

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or  current blocks of text will be corrected.

 

 

The Farmall M is the very popular tractor that has captured the affection of a great number of the collectors of International Harvester tractors.  However, a great number of devotees of the Farmall M, will probably admit that their favorite version of the M is that final iteration of the M series–the Super MTA.  This was true in the family of the current author as both he and his brother–Mark Wells have longed since childhood to have a Super MTA of their own.  The Wells family did not keep this desire to own a Farmall Super MTA a secret from their friends and aquaintances–including Bill Radil.

Accordingly, when, in December of 2018, Bill Radil of Montgomery, Minnesota decided to sell the Super MTA that he had owned for about eight years, he turned to the Wells family.  Bill informed Mark Wells that he offered to give the Wells family the first right of refusal on sale of the tractor.  Needless to say, there was no refusal.  Rather there was an immediate acceptance of the offer to sell the Farmall Super MTA.  Indeed,  payment for the tractor was concluded before the end of the month.

Once the sale of the tractor was concluded, the current author instinctively began to research as much of the history of the tractor as he could research.   Bill Radil had owned the Super MTA since about 2010.  While he did not have a great deal of information about the person who had sold the Super MTA to him, Bill did know the tractor had come from South Dakota.  

 

The 100th Meridian is regarded as the boundary between the Midwestern region of the United States from the drier and hotter Great Plains region.

 

Because the tractor is a tricycle-style tractor it stands to reason that the tractor must have come from a row crop growing area of South Dakota.  The row crop growing area of South Dakota is located in the east part of the state.  The western part of South Dakota tends to be too dry and hot in during the summer to grow corn, soybeans and other row crops profitably,  This hot and dry climate of the western South Dakota is better suited to the raising of cereal grains like wheat, rye and barley.   Actually, in recent times many climate scientists have pointed  out that the modern day boundary between the row crop growing area of eastern South Dakota and the drier and hotter wheat growing area of western South Dakota has been moving far east of the 100th meridian because of climate change.

 

Climate scientists suggest that the actual climatalogical boundary between the Midwest and the Grain Plains of the United States has moved far east of the 100th Meridian. As the above map reveals, for South Dakota the climatological boundary may have already reached the western border of Minnesota.

 

 Indeed, the states of South Dakota, North Dakota, and, actually,  all states down to the Rio Grande River, through which the 100th meridian passes, are divided by the 100th meridian into two major climatic areas.  To the west of the 100th meridian the climate tends to be  dry and hot in the summer–too hot and dry to be efficient for the raising of row crops like corn, soybeans and editable beans.  This makes the most of the area of west of the 100th meridian more suitable for raising for large scale (horizon to horizon) farming of cereal grains like wheat, rye and barley abound.  While to the east of the 100th meridian the abundant rain and rich soil tends to be more appropriate for the raising of row crops like corn and soybeans.  Indeed, the 100th meridian neatly divides the whole of North America into the row-crop Midwest on the east and the horizon to horizon Great 

Codington County was a typical agricultural community in eastern South Dakota.  The United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) had reported in their 1940 census that 91.7% of the county land area was taken up by operating farms.  There were 1,170 individual operating farms in Codington County the average size of a farm in Codington County was 346.7 acres.  

 

A county map of South Dakota showing the location of Codington County in the eastern part of the state.

 

Between, 1941 and 1945, however, World War II had caused substantial changes to farming in Codington County.  United States government purchasing of agricultural products to feed the troops in two theaters of war, tended to drive up prices of farm commodities to record high levels.  By 1945, although the total land area of the county under operating farms had increased to 95.1%, the number of operating farms in the county had decreased to 1,155 individuals farms.  However, the average size of the the individual farm actually increased to 364.1 acres per farm.  Obviously, the war had caused a substantial consolidation of farming in Codington County.  Farms had been sold and merged with other farming operations resulting in larger individual farms.  One might have anticipated that trend toward consolidation would have continued in the post war era.  However the 1950, U.S.D.A. agricultural census revealed that the number of individual operating farms in Codington County had the percentage of land area in the county increased slightly to 95.5 %, the number of farms increased to 1,160 farms.  Furthermore, the average size of an operating farm in the county in 1950 fell to 360.2acres.  These last to facts seem to suggest that the consolidation trend of the war years had been reversed.  However, this reversal can probably be explained by the fact that many of the returning veterans of the Second World War were entering farming.  Most of these veterans would be taking over their parents home farms.  However at least some were starting from scratch and having to purchase their own farms.  This would result in a larger number of farms for the period of time immediately following the Second World War. 

Just 4 years later, 1954, the percentage of land in Codington County under agricultural production fell to 91.6%.  The number of individual farms in Codington County decreased to 1,078 operating farms and the average size of a farm in Codington County had grown to 375.9 acres.  The period from 1950 until 1953 was the period of United States involvement in the Korean War.  Just as with the Second World War    

 

Although state-wide across South Dakota as a whole there had been a decrease in the number of operating farms from 72,454 farms in the 1940  68,705 farms in 1945 to  s the Now in the post-war the the recent war–

 

Located in the eastern part of South Dakota is Codington County.  The population of the county as a whole had been 18,944 in the 1950 census.  This was an increase in population of 11.3% from the pre-war, 1940, population figure of 17,014.  The United States Department of Agriculture found that in 1940 

 

 

Along the eastern edge of the county are three (3) townships, running north to south.  Of the three the center township is Waverly Township.  This township is the home of a particular diversified farming operation of a particular farmer–our Waverly Township farmer. 

 

A township map of Codington County shows three townships along the eastern boundary of the county the center township (here colored in orange) is Waverly Township.

 

The county seat and largest City in Codington County is Watertown (1950 pop. 12,699)  The population of Watertown had risen 19.6% from the 1940 population of 10,617. 

The Ramona, Kansas, 1935 John Deere Model D bearing the Serial No. 123360

The 1935 John Deere Model D Tractor bearing

the Serial No. 123360: The Ramona Kansas Tractor

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or  current blocks of text will be corrected.

A restored 1935 John Deere D tractor, similar to the Ramona tractor when sold new through the Tatje Bros. Implement dealership of Ramona, Kansas.

 

As noted in the article called “Alfred Fulcher and the Cresco Implement Company of Cresco, Iowa” which is  included as part of this website and blog, Wells Family Tractors obtained a 1935 “unstyled” John Deere Model D tractor upon the recommendation of Marilyn (Hanks) Wells, mother of the current author.  Marilyn Wells had always been intrigued by the Model D because a 1931 version of the tractor had been the first tractor that her father,  Howard B. Hanks, grandfather of the current author, had ever owned.

On the right is a county map of Iowa, highlighting the location of Howard County. On the left is an outline of Howard County with the town of Cresco highlighted.

This 1931 two-speed Model D was first purchased by John T. Goff in 1931 from Beske Implement of Minnesota Lake, Minnesota.  The story of this 1931 John Deere Model D is contained in an article called “Beske Implement of Minnesota Lake, Minnesota” which is contained in this website and blog.  Howard and his  wife, Ethel (Buck) Hanks, rented the John T. Goff farm in Mapleton, Minnesota in 1935 and continued to operate the farm until March 1, 1945, when they purchased the “Bagan farm” in Beaver Township, Fillmore County, Minnesota, near LeRoy, Minnesota.

This 1926 two-speed John Deere Model D is similar to the John T. Goff/Howard Hanks 1931 two-speed John Deere Model D.

While on the Goff farm Howard Hanks used the 1931 Model D on a near daily basis and came to appreciate power farming.  Thus, in 1945, as the Hanks family moved off the Goff farm to take possession of the Bagan farm in Fillmore county, they purchased the 1931 John Deere Model D from John T. Goff and transported the tractor to the Bagan farm near LeRoy, Minnesota.

Howard Hanks and 11-year old Bruce Hanks operate the 1931Goff/Hanks two-speed John Deere Model D plowing in the fields in 1935 on the Goff farm south of Mapleton, Minnesota.

By 1950, Howard and his oldest son Fred Hanks, were farming the Bagan farm as a partnership.  Fred had been pushing to modernize the farm with newer farm machinery.  Thus, when Howard and Fred were on Sunday afternoon sightseeing  trip in August of 1950, they saw a 1935 three-speed John Deere Model D sitting on the used tractor lot of the John Deere dealership in Cresco, Iowa, they decided to stop and look at the tractor.  In the post-World War II era old steel-wheeled, two-speed tractors like the 1931 Model D with its top speed of only 3-1/4 miles per hour, were really becoming obsolete on a modern post-war farm.  However, Howard loved the old Model D.  While recognizing the shortcomings of the 1931, two-speed Model D, he was favorably disposed toward obtaining this newer version of the same tractor–especially a Model D with rubber tires and a 5 mile an hour top speed.  Accordingly, Howard and Fred purchased the 1935 Model D from the Cresco Implement Company in exchange for the 1931 Model D and some additional “boot” money.  This 1935 Model continued to be employed on the Bagan (now Hanks) farm until the 1970s, when the tractor was sent to the Francis Mims junk yard.

A more detailed discussion of this 1935 Model D is contained in the article called Al Fulcher and the Cresco Implement Company dealership which is a part of this website and is cited above.   Continue reading The Ramona, Kansas, 1935 John Deere Model D bearing the Serial No. 123360

The 1955 Model 300 Tractor Bearing the Serial No. 22368 and the Accompanying Model 33A Tractor-Mounted Loader.

The 1955 Farmall Model 300 Tractor Bearing the Serial No. 22368and the Accompanying Model 33A Tractor-Mounted Loader.    

by

Brian Wayne Wells

The tricycle-style Farmall Model 300 tractor.  This tractor has the optional three hydraulic levers which are attached to the hood of the tractor behind the steering wheel on the operator’s platform.  From this angle the levers can be seen in this picture, just  just behind the headlight.  Two of these levers will control the hydraulic oil flow through the two hydraulic hoses, which are seen in this picture in front of the belt pulley.  These two hoses will led to hydraulic connectors on the rear of the tractor to be used for remote hydraulic cylinders on any farm equipmdnt that might be towed by the tractor.  The  third lever is probably for the fast hitch on the tractor.

 

 This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or  current blocks of text will be corrected. 

Introduction of the  “letter-series” tractors actually began on June 21, 1939 with the full scale production of the Farmall Model A tractor at the company’s “Tractor Works” factory located at 24th Street and Western Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.  During the last half of 1939, the Tractor Works would turn out 6,243 Farmall Model A tractors and the next year–1940 (the first full year of production)–the Chicago  factory would manufacture 34,756 Farmall Model A tractors.

An advertisement of the introduction of the “letter-series” tractors in 1939. In the summer of 1939 the Farmall Models M, H, and A of the letter-series were introduced.  Six months later on December 26, 1939 a fourth model–the Model B was introduced.

 However, the real action in Farmall tractor production was occurring across the State of Illinois on the Mississippi River at Rock, Island, Illinois.  In Rock Island, at the company’s “Farmall Works” facility the larger Farmall tractors which held the future of the company, were being produced.  The three-plow Farmall M, which was the largest of the row-crop tractors of all the letter series tractors, began production on July 15, 1939 at the huge “Farmall Works” factory.  The Farmall Model H tractor began production on its own assembly line within the Farmall Works.

The Farmall H assembly line at the Farmall Works factory in Rock Island, Illinois was always busy turning out the most popular of all Farmall letter series tractors–the Model H.

As noted in other articles at this website, when the two-plow Farmall H began production on July21, 1939, the Model H quickly became the leading seller in the Farmall line of tractors,  immediately out-selling the  larger Farmall M.  (In 1939, 10,152 Farmall Model H’s were made and sold as opposed to only 6,739 Farmall M’s)  There were at multiple assembly lines in the large Farmall Works facility.  One of the assembly lines in the Farmall Works was dedicated to production of the Farmall H, while production of the Farmall M was performed on another assembly line in another part of the factory.

From the very first of the production run of the letter series in the summer of 1939, the Farmall Model H was the most popular selling tractor of the series.

During the years that followed the introduction of the letter-series tractors, production of the Farmall H continued to outstrip production of the Farmall M in the years that followed.  (41,734 Farmall H’s were made in the model year1940 and 40,850 were made in 1941.  During the same years, production of the larger Farmall M was limited to only 18,131 in 1940 and 25,617 in 1941.)  These were the glory years of tractor production for the Farmall Model H.

However, with the coming of the Second World War, the United States government began to restrict the use of raw materials and manufacturing capacity for anything but the war effort.  Civilian manufacturing was greatly curtailed during the war years.  Accordingly, in model year 1942,  production of the Farmall Model H at International Harvesters‘ Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois fell to 29,353.  In 1943, production of the Model H fell to 27,661 tractors.  In 1944, production rose again to 35,872, but still did not reach the pre-war production figures. Production in 1945 was  28,697 Farmall H’s.  Even with the end of the war, the number of Farmall Model H’s rolling off the Model H assembly line at the huge Rock Island Farmall Works facility in 1946, still was limited to 26,343 Farmall H’s.   (During these same immediate post-war years, production of the Farmall M lagged behind at 9,025 tractors in 1942; 7,413 Farmall Model M’s in 1943;  and 20,661 Model M’s in 1944; 17,479 in 1945; 17,259 in 1946 and 28,885 in 1947.)

Public appreciation of the benefits of the more powerful Farmall Model M was delayed.  The Farmall M would become the best selling tractor in the Farmall line only in 1949, a full ten years after 1939 when the M was first introduced.

However, as the demand for bigger and more efficient farm equipment grew in the post-war years, farmers turned to buying larger farm tractors like the Farmall Model M.  As a result the sales gap between the Model H and the Model M sales narrowed and in 1947 sales of the Farmall M reached 28,885 tractors and actually surpassed sales of the Farmall H  (27,848 Farmall H’s in 1947)  for the first time.  After falling behind the Model H in sales for the year 1948, (31,885 Farmall Model H’s as opposed to 28,806 Model M’s were manufactured in 1948), the Model M once again took the lead in the sales and production again in 1949 with 33,065 Farmall M’s rolling  off  the Model M assembly line while only 27,099 Farmall H’s rolled off the Model H assembly line at the Farmall Works facility in Rock Island, Illinois.  This time the Model M would continue to lead the Farmall H in production figures for the remainder  of the production run of the letter-series tractors.  (In 1950, production of the Model M reached 33,939 tractors.  In 1951, a record, 43,405 Farmall M tractors were made and sold.

In 1952, the International Harvester Company replaced the Farmall Model M with the new Farmall Super M.  Early in the production year of 1952 the Farmall Works factory in Rock Island, Illinois made 7,295 Farmall M tractors before the factory was closed down for retooling and preparation for the production of the Super M.  International Harvester actually built 12,015 Super M’s at the Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois in the latter part of the 1952 production year.  (An additional 1,905 Super M’s built at the newly constructed factory located in Louisville, Kentucky.)

An aerial view of the Farmall Works factory in Rock Island, Illinois

Meanwhile, on the Farmall H assembly line at the same Rock Island factory, 23,948 Farmall Model H’s rolled off the Model H assembly line in 1950; 23,938 followed in 1951 and an identical number of 23,938 were made in 1952.  Accordingly, after the first three years of production of the Farmall H–1939-1941, production of the Farmall Model H became much more consistent during  the 11 years from 1942 through 1952.  During these 11 years the average yearly production of Farmall Model H’s was 27,871 Model H’s per year, or 2,323 every month during this period of time. If we assume that the average month consists of 20 working days excluding weekends and holidays the daily production of Farmall H’s during this period was 116 tractors each work day.

Additionally, 727 Farmall H’s were made in 1953 bringing the total number of Farmall H’s manufactured during the entire production run from 1939 through 1953 to 391,227 individual tractors.  Of course, in 1953, the International Harvester Company replaced the Farmall Model H with a the Farmall Model Super H.  So after making the 727 Farmall H’s in the early part of the production year of 1953– the Farmall Works facility closed down for a retooling of the H assembly line.  Following the retooling of the H assembly line, the Farmall Works produced 21,707 individual Super H tractors in the latter part of 1953.

Adding the 1953 production of Farmall H’s with the 1953 production of Super H’s together,results in the combined production figure of  22,434 individual tractors that came off the Farmall H assembly line at the Rock Island Farmall Works in 1953.  This combined production figure for 1953 was only 5,437 less that the average yearly production of the Farmall H assembly line in the Farmall Works facility.   The loss of production time in 1953 from the average production year appears to be the equivalent of two-months and seven working days.  This was probably the amount of time that was needed for a skeleton crew of workers to retool the Farmall H assembly line at the Farmall Works to begin full production of the Super H.

Introduction of the Farmall Super H occurred at the Minnesota State Fair in late August of 1952 which was the actual beginning of the 1953 “model year.”

Up to this point, this article has been referring to the term “production year.” If the “production year” coincided with the calendar year, it would logical to assume that the 1953 production of 727 Farmall H’s occurred over the first six days in January, 1953.  However, it is more likely that the 1953 production figures are not for the “calendar year” of 1953, but rather are for the “production or model year” of 1953.  Tractors did not change styling on an annual basis the way that automobiles were starting to do annually in the post-World War period, but tractors were starting follow a “model year” system like automobiles rather than following a traditional  calendar year system.  Under the model year system, new model automobiles were introduced in September of the previous year rather than on January 1st of the current year.  However, the model year in tractors would need to begin in August of each year, especially for model years that involved substantive changes in the model of tractor.  The reason was that State Fairs around the nation offered the best opportunity for tractor manufacturers to advertise their new tractors to the nation’s farming public.  State Fairs created a great deal of excitement and were an advertising opportunity that tractor manufacturers simply could not afford to miss.  Especially favored by tractor manufacturers was the nation’s largest agricultural fair–the Minnesota State Fair–which  was held over the last ten (10) days before Labor Day each year.

Accordingly, we can comfortably predict that full production run of the Farmall Super H was begun in early August of 1952 to have sufficient time to get examples of the new Super H off the production line and shipped to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota “block house” (the International Harvester Company-owned distribution warehouse located at 2572 University Avenue in the midtown area between the two cities.  Ordinarily, the staff at the block house would be hurriedly re-shipping the tractors they received from the Farmall Works to the various dealerships around Minnesota who they served.  However, in this case the block house staff would be instructed to not ship any Super Hs out to their dealership until after the official introduction of the Super H at the large International Harvester tent on the State Fairgrounds on the first day of the State Fair.

Television in the early 1950 helped create even more excitement around the Minnesota State Fair.  Tractor Manufacturers could not pass up the advertising possibilities to reach the farming public available at the Minnesota State Fair.  Here KSTP Channel 9 television out of Minneapolis at the State Fair adds to the excitement and advertising possibilities of the State fair in the 1950s.

 Production of the Farmall Super H tractor was short-lived.  It was well advertised that the Model Super H had more horse power (hp.) than the regular Farmall Model H.  (Testing in Nebraska had shown the new Super H to turn out 30.68 hp. at the drawbar and 33.40 hp. at the belt pulley.  While the regular Model H had created only 24.17 hp. ag the drawbar and 26.40 at the belt pulley.)  However, one small difference that probably went unnoticed at the State Fair.  This was the fact that the wheel base of the Super H was about an inch longer that the regular H.  (89.25 inches for the Super H and 88.325 inches for the regular H)  a single inch added to the wheel base would hardly be noticeable to anyone.  However, it pointed to a trend.  When the Model 300 replaced the Super H in August of 1954, there would another increase in the wheel base of the tractor to 92.25 inches for the Model 300.  .

The International Harvester Company replaced the Farmall Super H in their line of farm tractors with the Farmall Model 300 tractor at the start of the model year 1955.  Once again the “model year” of 1955 actually began in August of 1954.   Indeed, the model year of 1955, saw the introduction of the whole line of the “Hundred Series” tractors by the  International Harvester Company.  The Hundred Series line of tractors included the larger Model 400 and the smaller Model 200 and Model 100 tractor in addition to the Model 300.  .

Following the re-tooling of the Model H assembly line at the Rock Island “Farmall Works” factory, production of the new Farmall 300 was begun on about August 1, 1954, the start of the new 1955 model year.

The production figures of the Farmall Super H and the Farmall 300 are confusing because both Super H and the 300 were produced for only one entire model year each–1952 and 1954, respectively.  Every year has 250 working days excluding Saturday and Sunday of each of 52 weeks in the year.  By using the serial numbers index we can determine how many tractors can be built in a single day at the Rock Island Tractor Works.  Whether the tractor was the Farmall H or the Farmall Super H or the Farmall 300,  the average daily production figure was 85 tractors per day.  As noted above, instead of the January to January, calendar year we must consider the model year which for reasons stated above, must be considered rather than the calendar year.  Instead, of January 1, we look at the August 1 as the beginning of the new model year.  Following this procedure we can determine that the 1955 model year of the Farmall 300 began on August 1, 1954.  and ended on August 1, 1955.  At the rate of production of 85 tractors built per day, the production of the Farmall 300 bearing the Serial No. 22368 occurred on the Monday, July 18, 1955.  Just 10 days prior to the start of the new model year of August, 1955-August, 1956.

When the new Farmall 300 was made available to the public, there were a number of options that were available for the 300.  These options had not been available on predecessors of the 300, i.e. the Farmall Super H or the Farmall H.   First, one of the most common options available on the Farmall 300 was the newly developed “Torque Amplifier” or “T.A.”   After being available in 1954 on the Farmall Super MTA tractor during the short production run of the Super MTA in 1954, the T.A. option was made available on “Hundred Series” tractors, e.g. the Model 400 and Model 300 etc., when the Hundred Series was introduced in the 1955 model year.

An advertisement of the Torque Amplifier or T.A. that was available for the tractors of the new Hundred Series.

 

The 1955 Farmall Model 300  bearing the Serial No. 22368 was first purchased by a farm family from Carver County and probably purchased from an International Harvester dealership in the county seat of Chaska  .  The tractor was equipped at the factory with every single piece of optional equipment that had been made available for the Model 300.  Besides the Torque Amplifier option which is described above,  No. 22368 is fitted with the optional three hydraulic valve levers located on the right side of the dash board on the operator’s platform.

The optional set of three levers on the right side of the dash board of the Farmall 300 tractor.

This set of three levers is optional as compared with Hundred Series Farmalls fitted with only two levers or even just one lever.  These levers are the hydraulic valve control levers on the tractor.   Each lever controls the hydraulic oil that can be pumped to down a hose to a cylinder located on the tractor or located “remotely” on an implement being towed by the tractor.

As will be discussed below, when No. 22368 was purchased in the spring of 2018, a Model 33A McCormick-Deering hydraulic loader had been mounted on the tractor.  Accordingly, the lever nearest the dash board controlled the valve that directed hydraulic oil down the hoses to the cylinders located on the arms of the loader which would allow the loader to raise the bucket which was attached to the arms at the front of the tractor.

Specifications for the McCormick-Deering Model 33A tractor loader indicate that the loader has the capacity to lift 1500 pounds. Here the Model 33A mounted on a Farmall Super M tractor is put to the test lifting the front end of an International Model W-4 tractor.

The hydraulics on the Hundred Series Farmalls are independent “live hydraulics.”  This means that the hydaulics will operate even when the foot clutch on tractor is depressed or disengaged.  Additionally, the cylinders on the Model 33A loader mounted on No. 22368 are “two-way” hydraulic cylinders.  This means that the cylinder can apply pressure and power in both directions–when contracting as well as when extending.  This means that the cylinders on the loader can be contracted under power so that the bucket is pressed against the ground and the front wheels of the tractor can be lifted off the ground.  The other two hydraulic valve levers of the optional three-lever set on No. 22368 can be connected to hoses leading to other hydraulic cylinders.  (Indeed later in this same article discussion will had of connections made to the middle hydraulic lever.)

However, the third lever of the set of three (the outside lever located the furthest from the dash board of the tractor)  is connected to the optional Fast Hitch drawbar of No, 22368.  The optional Fast Hitch drawbar on the Hundred Series tractors is usually painted white and can be raised and lowered by hydraulics controlled by the third (outside) valve lever.

This rear view of a Farmall Model 300 tractor reveals that the tractor is fitted with the optional Fast Hitch drawbar.  Here the removable drawbar is painted white. 

 

Continue reading The 1955 Model 300 Tractor Bearing the Serial No. 22368 and the Accompanying Model 33A Tractor-Mounted Loader.

The John Deere Portable Farm Elevator (Series 2)

The John Deere Model 300 (Series 2) Portable Farm Elevator

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or  current blocks of text will be corrected. 

   Deere and Company of East Moline, Illinois, had been making portable elevators for use on the average family farm since     .  One of the early versions of the John Deere portable farm elevators was the Model 5-C elevator.

The Model 5-C John Deere portable farm elevator.

The Model 5-C was often accompanied with the wagon lift which was designed to make unloading of the wagon of grain or ear corn much easier.

The John Deere Model 5-C farm elevator.

 

The elevator was positioned along side corn crib or the granary where the corn or grain was intended to be stored on the average family farm.  Once in operation the elevator and wagon lift would greatly speed the operation of unloading of wagons and the storing the wagon loads of corn or grain during the busy harvest season.

 

This advertisement of the John Deere Model 5-C elevator positioned up against the corn crib on a family farm. Ear corn is being unloaded from a wagon into the hopper of the galvanized all-metal portable elevator. Because of its strong “trussed frame,” this piece of sales literature brags that the “elevator never sags.”

 

The Model 5-C elevator was made largely from galvanized sheet metal.  Galvanized metal resisted rust far better than exposed unpainted sheet metal–lasting decades longer that exposed sheet metal.  Originally, the elevator was powered by its own stationary hit and miss engine.  Later, after the advent of tractors as a common power source on family farms, the John Deere elevator was fitted with power take-off shaft which allowed modern tractors to power the Model 5-C elevator.

A professional drawing of the power take-off shield on the John Deere Model 5-C galvanized farm elevator. The artist creating this drawing has attempted to recreate the visible effects of “spangling” on the sheet metal PTO shield which are the results of the galvanizing process.

 

However, during the Second World War, wartime restrictions imposed on the manufacturing industry directed that all galvanizing would, for the duration of the war, be used only for the military effort and galvanizing for civilian use would be prohibited.  Accordingly, John Deere elevators began to be made out of regular sheet metal which was painted “John Deere green” for protection from rust.  Following the war, a new John Deere  elevator was introduced in 1946.  This was the new improved “Model 300” portable farm elevator.  The Model 300 rode on just two wheels rather than four wheels.  The wheels were located new the center of balance on the elevator.  Thus, even with the hopper attached to the bottom end of the elevator, the a single person might be able to pick up the bottom end of the Model 300 and attach the elevator to the drawbar of a tractor.

This center section of a 1946 piece of sales literature shows the Model 300 John Deere elevator carefully positioned against the corn crib on a family farm. Because this is a 1946 piece of literature, we know that the elevator advertised here is the older and  narrower “Series 1” John Deere elevator.  As noted below, the Series 1 John Deere elevator was replaced in 1953 by the Series 2 elevator.   With the top end of the elevator directly over the proper hold in the roof, the spout of the Model 300 has already been lowered into hole. Inside, out of sight of the camera, the extension chutes have already been attached the spout have been attached to the spout which will direct the ear corn to the proper area of the corn crib.

Continue reading The John Deere Portable Farm Elevator (Series 2)

Charles Cook International Harvester Dealership in Cleveland Minnesota

Charles Cook International  Harvester Dealership of Cleveland, Minnesota

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or  current blocks of text will be corrected. 

     For a large part of the long production reign of the famous Farmall M from 1939 until 1952, the Model M had been over shadowed by the larger sales of the smaller  Farmall Model H.  Both of these tractors had been introduced in 1939.  Their production lines had been parallel to each other in the Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois.  However, each year, The Model H outsold the Model M until just after the Second World War.

Part of the reason for this rise in the popularity of the Farmall M was the influence of the returning veterans from the Second World War.  In large numbers, these veterans were returning home from the horrors of war and wanting to settle in to the peacetime activities and peacetime economy of the United States.  Since, the United States was still a rural and farming nation after the war, the thoughts of these veterans was directed towards returning to the farm and either continuing the family farm or starting a new farming operation.  One of these returning veterans was Ambrose Holicky.

Following the end of the Korean War, a slight boom in the sales of farm machinery occurred.  This boom as it applies to the sales of the new Farmall Super M tractors is discussed in the article called ” M. & W. Company (Part II): The Clark-Christenson Super M” that was published in the January/February 1998 issue of Belt Pulley Magazine.  This article has also been re-published on this website under the same title.  The Clark-Christenson Super M bears the Serial Number of 31634 and is currently owned by Wells Family Tractors L.LC. and has been pretty much adopted by the sister of the current author–Eileen Wells, who also serves as the Secretary of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association.

The article on the Clark-Christenson tractor contained at this website provides the story of the original sale of #31634 by Srsen Implement of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota to George Clark a local farmer in the Claremont, Minnesota community and the later sale of the same tractor to Ray Christenson in 1967.

A total of 39,401 Farmall Super M tractors were produced in 1953.  No. 31634 was most likely produced on Friday June 26, 1953.  As developed in the article on the Clark-Christenson tractor, unusual events surrounding the shortage of Super Ms at various dealerships and surpluses at other dealerships meant that the Clark-Christenson tractor bearing the Serial Number 31634 did not get into the hands of George Clark until 1954.

Three production days after Friday, June 26,  another Farmall Super M came rolled off the assembly line at the Farmall
Works in Rock Island.  This Super M bore the Serial Number 32096.  This tractor was only 462 tractors removed from #31634.  Like #31634, this tractor was also shipped from Rock Island to the International Harvester block house at  25727 University Avenue in  St. Paul, Minnesota.  Pursuant to the request of the local dealership in Cleveland, Minnesota, for a tractor to fulfill an order, #32096 was placed on board a

Owatonna Manufacturing Company Portable Farm Flight-Style Elevators

The Owatonna Manufacturing Company’s Production of

Portable Farm Flight-Style Elevators 

by

Brian Wayne Wells

The Owatonna Manufacturing Company was first organized in Owatonna, Minnesota to manufacture farm machinery.

The Dietrich family purchased OMC and in 1928 introduced their flight-style elevator, the “Dietrich” elevator to the line of farm machinery sold  by OMC.  The improvements of Dietrich elevator over the original elevator manufactured by OMC meant that soon the Dietrich elevator entirely replaced the prior elevators produced under the OMC name.

These elevators were designed as “12-19” flared-style elevators.  “12-19 refers to the dimensions of the channel of the elevator.  The flights of the elevator that carried the grain or ear corn up to the top of the granary or corn crib operated in the deepest part of the elevator channel which was 12 inches wide.  However, 12-19 model elevators are “flared” style elevators.  The  upper portion of the elevator channel is flared outwards to a width of 19 inches.  This flaring of the upper portion of the channel allowed for more grain to be carried upwards in the elevator with less spillage out of the channel onto the ground during operation of the elevator.  Such spillage was more common when the elevator was being used for ear corn.

The flared channel on this Kewanee elevator is shown loading hay bales into the hay mough of a barn.  The incredibly narrow channel of the elevator supports hay bales only because of the flared sides of the elevator channel and fact that the bales are placed in the elevator on their corner edges as shown.   

With the start of the corn shelling field demonstration at the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Show and especially after the Bruce Freerkson single corn crib was brought to the Pioneer Power grounds in the summer of     and later the replacement of the Freerkson single corn crib with the Albert Dozinski double corn crib in the summer of 2012, there arose a need to obtain a means by which the crib  on the Pioneer Power grounds could be filled with ear corn in the in the fall to provide ear corn for the corn shelling field demonstration at the Pioneer Power Show in the summer of the following year.   Consequently, an elevator was obtained by Tim Krenz and a group of other members.

This flight-style elevator was stle     hve g the whole  ehchain and fle inner portion of the elevator channel was f was in yo

One particular galvanized flight-style elevator still in use by the members of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association records this change.  This 40 foot elevator clearly has the “Dietrich” name decaled or  painted on both sides of the channel of the elevator.  However, the elevator has a serial number tag that identifies the elevator as an OMC manufactured elevator and bearing the OMC  serial number of #16274.  Furthermore, the channel of the elevator also bears a second decal which says “Dietrich manufactured by OMC.”

A short time later OMC dropped the name “Dietrich from the galvanized elevators that were manufactured by OMC.  One 44-foot  OMC elevator bearing the serial number #16841 was used on the farm of Omar Perron of Cannon City Township on the very western edge of the city limits of the City of Faribault, in Rice County, Minnesota.

Omar Arthur Perron on his wedding day on June 28, 1909 when he married Florence Bibeau in the neighboring village of Shieldsville, Minnesota.

.

Omar Arthur Perron was born on November 18, 1885 to Joseph and Marie (Chapdelaine) Perone, a couple of immigrants to Rice County from the French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada.  Sometime prior to April 27, 1910, Omar and Florence and their growing family (two sons, Francis, born in 1910 and  Lionel Joseph born on February 19, 1911.)  moved to the farm in Cannon City Township where Omar would spend the rest of his life.  Omar set to work building up his diversified farming operation.

The barn and wooden silo on the farm in Cannon City Township owned by Omar Perron.

The time the family spent on the farm was a new and exciting time and a  happy time until tragedy struck.   On February 26, 1911, Florence suddenly died, leaving the family and Omar grief-stricken .

Florence Bibeau married Omar Perron on June 28, 1909.

 

Omar soon realized that his two children (two-year old Francis and 20 month old Lionel ) were in need a mother’s guiding hand.  Accordingly, a little over a year after the death of Florence, Omar married Emma Remillard on October 10, 1912.  Emma was the daughter of another French-Canadian family from the local Rice County community of Wheatland Township.

The marriage of Omar Perron to Emma Remillard on October 10, 1912.

 

 

 

The Barn on the Grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association

The Barn on the Grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association 

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or  current blocks of text will be corrected.

The restored Almena barn was restored and rebuilt on the grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association.

In the spring of 2016 a new structure arose on the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association.  This was a barn that had been originally built in the 1880s near the small village of Almena, Wisconsin.  The Village of Almena is located in Barron County in Wisconsin.  Indeed the Village of Almena is located on the  eastern boundary of the “Town” of Almena.  The word “Town” should not be confused with the word “village.”  In Wisconsin, the word Town refers to a piece of land 6 miles by 6 miles square.  In other states this geographical piece of land would be called a “Township.” Continue reading The Barn on the Grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association

The Corn Crib on the Grounds of LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association

The Corn Crib on the Grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association 

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or   current blocks of text will be corrected.

Starting in          the annual show of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association began to demonstrate the farming chore of shelling ear corn.  This chore was an annual wintertime event on the diversified farms located in the row-crop farming areas of the Midwestern United States in the era prior to the emergence of corn combines on diversified farms.

The corn shelling demonstration at the Pioneer Power Show was initiated by Bill Radil, a member of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association, who was residing at the time in West Concord, Minnesota, when Bill purchased a Minneapolis-Moline Model D corn sheller.

Although this is not the Bill Radil Model D Minneapolis Moline corn sheller, it is mounted on a two-wheel cart and is powered by a tractor power take-off drive, just like the Bill Radil Model D. Note the very short corn husk blower tube: This is a very quickly observed and distinctive feature that distinguishes the Model D from the Model E corn sheller.

  Weighing 1,660 lbs. and with the capacity of shelling 175 to 300 bushels of ear corn per hour, the Model D was the smaller model of the two main corn sheller models manufactured by the Minneapolis-Moline Company headquartered in Hopkins, Minnesota.  The larger model corn sheller produced by Minneapolis-Moline was the Model E, which was later improved and re-modeled as  the Model EE.

The Minneapolis-Moline Model E pictured here is easily destinguishable from the Model D shown above because of the much longer corn husk blower tube on the Model E.

The Bill Radil Model D brought the annual winter-time chore of corn shelling on the typical family-owned midwestern farm to the viewing public at the annual Pioneer Power Association Show held on the last full weekend in August.

However, the demonstration of corn shelling with a Model D corn sheller, complete with its “drag line”  could be most accurately presented to the public as an authentic shelling field demonstration only by shelling corn out of a traditional corn crib rather than as a shelling of ear corn dumped from a wagon into the drag line of the corn sheller.

Consequently, Bill Radil found a small “single corn crib” on the farm of a neighbor, Bruce Freerkson in the same  West Concord neighborhood in which Bill lived.  Bruce and his wife had lived on their farm since about 1996.  Before them the farm had belonged to the Albert and Golda (Ebeling) Arndt family.  Albert and Golda had moved onto the farm shortly after their wedding in 1935.  Although the little single corn crib on the farm was still in use and was filled in the autumn with ear corn that had been picked in the field, the corn crib was probably build at a generation earlier.  A 1905 Plat book of Dodge County, Minnesota shows that the family of George W. Tabbett owned the farm.  During the early 1900s, the corn on the average family farm in the midwestern United States ripe corn was cut in the autumn and placed in shocks in the field.

Traditionally, corn harvested in the fall of the year, had a moisture content of 22-25%.  However, at the time of harvest, the moisture content of the corn could be as high as 28-32%.   In order to dry the corn down to the ideal 18% moisture content for shelling the corn had to be exposed to the cold  winter air.  This could be done by placing the corn in shocks in the corn  field.  However, all of the corn would eventually have to be hand “shucked” (the removal of the ears of corn from the stalk and the husks.)   This was a labor intensive operation that would employ all the members of the family during large portions of the winter.  The horses would be hitched up to the wagon or sled and taken to the corn field in the cold winter months to pick up another load of corn shocks to be hand shucking by the family.

The Larson wagon owned by Howard and Fred Hanks being employed on the Bagan farm in rural Beaver Township, Fillmore County near LeRoy, Minnesota. Here the wheeled wagon gear has been replaced with a horse drawn sled to perform the wintertime activity of going to the corn field to pick up the shocks of corn which would then be husked by hand and used as feed for the cattle and pigs on the farm. .

During these trips to the corn field to pickup corn shocks for hand shucking, the farmer would carry along a hatchet.  In the heart of winter in Minnesota, the ground froze very hard.  The hatchet was for chopping loose the bottoms of the corn shocks so that the corn could be loaded on the wagon or sleigh.  This chopping of the bottom of the corn shocks was another  tedious part of the back breaking  job of collecting the corn shocks in the field.

Amish farm with field of harvested corn in “shocks” for storage against the winter weather,  The shocks of corn from the stubble ground on the right side of the picture has already been removed from the field and has been taken to the building site to be “shucked.”  The ears of this corn has probably already been stored in a small corn crib on the farm to finish drying down to ha

In order to avoid the inconveniences of working in the cold and on the frozen ground of the corn field, the farmer would work hard earlier in the fall to get as  much of the corn would be “shucked” as possible.  Because this corn was shucked before it had a chance to completely dry in the field, the ears of corn would be stored in a small single corn crib.  The by-product of the hand shucking process (the stalks and husks of the corn) would be fed to the cattle and/or pigs on the farm.

A “single corn crib” like the small Arndt/Freerkson corn crib that was first brought to the Pioneer Power Showgrounds by Bill Radil.

Like typical single corn cribs across the midwestern United States, Arndt/Freerkson single corn crib was no wider than eight (8) feet wide to allow the dry winter air to easily pass through the ear corn stored in the crib.  This cold and dry winter air passing through the corn crib would finish drying the ear corn to 18% moisture content.

However, a couple of years after the Arndt/Freerkson corn crib had been brought to the Pioneer Power grounds, the storms of the winter and spring of 2009-2010 destroyed the small single Arndt/Freerkson corn crib when it was blown off its rock foundation.

Bill Radil working to shell the corn out of the actual Arndt/Freerkson single corn crib which was the original and first corn crib brought to the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association to become a part of the corn shelling field demonstration. This picture was taken during one of the early years of the corn shelling field demonstrations held at the annual Pioneer Power Show before the Arndt/Freerkson single corn crib was destroyed by a strong wind blowing the crib off of its rock foundation.  In the background, Bill Radil’s Model D Minneapolis-Moline corn sheller can be seen, doing the shelling job.  The very short corn husk blower tube of the Model D can easily be seen from this angle as the Arndt/Freerkson corn crib is shelled out.   It is the very short length of the husk blower tube that makes the Model D easily distinguishable from the larger Model E Minneapolis-Moline corn sheller.

 

After a couple of years without a corn crib at all at the annual Show, the Pioneer Power Association obtained another corn crib.  This time a “double corn crib” was purchased from  the Richard Dorzinski family living on a Sharon Township farm located on the south side of Minnesota Highway #26 about a mile east of the site of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Showgrounds.   Owned at the time by Richard Francis Dorzinski, the farm had been in the Dorzinski family since Richard’s father, Albert Frank Dozinski, obtained the farm shortly before he was married in 1920.  Indeed, Albert Dorzinski may well have built the double corn crib in the 1920s.    The double corn crib  consists of  two eight (8) foot single corn cribs placed about eleven (11) feet apart and both the cribs and the space in between the cribs were covered by the same gambrel roof.

Albert Frank Dorzinski married Ida Veronica Retka on September 28, 1920. Their marriage took place in St. Joseph’s Church which was located in the small settlement of Lexington, Minnesota in LeSueur County. This church was moved to the grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association in the summer of 2012.  Indeed, the Dozinski double corn crib was moved to the Pioneer Power grounds on the same day as the St. Joseph’s Church, so that the power lines and telephone lines would only be cut once for both buildings.

 Enlargement of the corn crib on the average family farm in the Midwestern United States of America, became much more common in the 1920s because of the development of the mechanical corn picker.  Mechanical picking of corn left the corn stalks in the field rather than taking them to the building site.  Suddenly, the corn picker made it possible to complete the corn harvest  in the Midwestern United States before the snows fell in the winter.

Following the purchase of Dorzinski double corn crib by the Pioneer Power Association, the building was moved from the Dorzinski farm to the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association.  There the double corn crib was given a new cement block pillar foundation to house the new double corn crib, brought to the Pioneer Power Showgrounds, was secured to the foundation by anchor bolds.  The Association was taking no chances that this new double corn crib would not be blown off its foundation.  Then, a cement floor was laid in the alleyway of the corn crib.

Here a double corn crib with a large alleyway between the cribs is moved to a new location and just like the Dorzinski  double corn crib on the LeSueur Pioneer Power Showgrounds, this double corn crib is being fitted on a new cement block foundation and a cement floor in the alleyway in the middle of the double crib.

This is the corn crib that continues to be used on the Pioneer Power Showgrounds through the present day.  In the late autumn of each year, Dave Preuhs, founder of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association fills the corn crib with ear corn that he grows on his own farm.  This corn is planted by a six-row corn planter that is not ordinarily used for the regular corn planting on the Preuhs farm.  The wide rows of corn planted by the six-row planter allow Dave Preuhs to pick the corn to be stored in the Dorzinski  corn crib with a 1974 New Idea Company corn picker fitted with a 3-row corn head made for picking 38 inch rows.

The New Idea 3-row Super Picker

Once in the Dorzinski corn crib the corn crop dries out during the cold Minnesota winters on the Pioneer Power grounds.   During the cold Minnesota winters, the cold dry air of winter passing through the wood slats of the Dorzinski corn crib will dry the ear corn down to at least 18% moisture content and will be ready for shelling.

The drying process in the corn crib begins as soon as the ear corn in placed in the shed.  That sweet smell of field corn which permeates the air around the newly filled Dorzinski double corn crib in the early autumn is the process of the corn starting to give up its moisture content.

The very efficient husking bed that made the New Idea pull-type corn pickers very popular with the farming public.

To aid in this process of drying, the efficient Model 737 husking bed of the pull-type corn picker owned by Dave Preuhs reduces the amount of “foreign matter” (husks and stalks) to less than 4% of the ear corn stored in the Dorzinski double corn crib.

Introduced in 1927 the New Idea Model 6A  cornpicker became another very popular farm machine with the farming public because of its reputation for being  known as one of the most efficient clean husking corn pickers manufactured in the United States of America.

Like the  alleyways in double corn cribs on diversified farms all across the Midwest, (especially when provided with a cement floor) invites storage of vehicles and farm machinery on the average family farm.  Accordingly, the alleyway of the Dorzinski double corn crib has become the winter storage place of the Bill Radil’s 1939 F-20 and the Wells family’s David Bradley large 126-bushel flare box mounted on a five-ton David Bradley wagon gear.  This 1942 wartime Allis-Chalmers  tractor and the David Bradley wagon are often used as a part of the corn shelling field demonstration at the annual Pioneer Power Show.  (The above-mentioned David Bradley wagon gear and 126 bushel wagon box are taken up as the subject of an article contained at this website called “History of the David Bradley Company (Part II): Tractors and Wagons.”

However, there are some vehicles that should not be stored in the alleyway of the corn crib.  As noted above, at picking time, the corn may have a moisture content as high as 32%.  Accordingly, when the freshly picked corn is first stored in the corn crib will be very fragrant as the moisture in the ears of corn is leaving the corn and escaping into the cool air of the autumn.  If, for instance the family car or the modern farm truck is parked in the alleyway of a freshly filled corn crib, the sweet smell of the corn will permeate the padding of the upholstery of the car or truck.  So strong in the fragrance of corn that the fragrance will remain with the car or truck for many years after.

A row of single corn cribs built to allow the dry winter winds to blow through the ear corn to dry the corn down to about 18-15% moisture content.  This 1935 photograph taken on the Frank Hubert farm near Saybrook, Illinois (near Bloomington-Normal ) shows a corn crib built using pole barn framing and wire mesh. (McLean County Museum of History)

Luckily, as the winter weather sets in,  the ear corn would become less and less fragrant until the moisture content of the corn is only 18-15%.  At this stage there is only a “dry smell” in the corn crib.  At this point the fragrance was largely gone and the family car and/or truck may once again be safely stored in the alleyway of the corn crib.

A typical double corn crib with an alley way in the middle.

The typical corn crib should be no wider than eight (8) feet wide to allow the dry winter air to easily pass through the ear corn stored in the crib.  However most times, two single cribs were built close to each other and connected with a common gambrel roof.  Thus, the crib became known as a “double corn crib.”

After having shelled out most of the corn each year, diversified farmers would save back enough ear corn to grind and feed to cows, pigs and chickens on the farm. However, by late summer and fall of the year, the amount of ear corn left in the corn crib can decrease significantly. In October of the year the ear corn harvest usually begins again.

As noted above, a double corn crib contains an alleyway between the two single corn cribs, which are joined by a gambrel roof to become a single building.  The space above the alleyway might be finished out into grain bins which would store oats until they sold or fed to animals on the diversified farm or for storing soybeans until they were marketed at a nearby grain elevator.

The corn in the Dorzinski corn crib is not shelled out in the late winter or early spring as is the usual practice on diversified family farms all across the Midwestern United States.  Rather the corn in the double corn crib continues to be stored until the annual show of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association held on the last full weekend in August each year.

 

Bill Radil’s Minneapolis-Moline Model D corn sheller works on the corn stored in the new Dozinski double corn crib on the grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association at a recent annual show. Bill Radil can be seen standing on top of the freshly shelled corn in the truck on the right side of the picture.  The Dorzinski double corn crib replaced the Arndt/Freerkson single corn crib when a strong wind blew the single crib off its stone foundation.  As seen in this picture, the new double crib has a cement foundation and a roof covering the entire structure resulting in an alleyway in the middle of the double corn crib.  Note from the picture that the alleyway has a cement floor and is, thus, a good place to store farm equipment out of the rain and snow in the winter time.  In the background of the upper middle of the picture is the green David Bradley 126 bushel wagon flare-box mounted on a red David Bradley 5-ton wagon gear with lime green wheels.  As noted in this article this David Bradley wagon is often stored in the alleyway of the double corn crib on the Pioneer Power Showgrounds in the off season.

     

 

Belt Pulley Magazine Articles by Brian Wayne Wells