The 1945 Case Model SC Tractor in Nicollet County, Minnesota
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 J. I. Case Company introduced their first tricycle-style tractor—the Model CC tractor in 1929. The CC weighed 4,240 lbs. (pounds) and produced 27.37 hp. (horsepower) to the belt pulley and 17.33 hp. to the drawbar. The CC was advertised as a tractor that could pull a two-bottom plow with 14 inch bottoms. So the Model CC could perform all the heavy tillage work in the fields of the average farm, just like the “four-wheel” or “standard” tractors that Case had offered the farming public before 1929. These four-wheel tractors could do all the field work on the farms of North America except one field task–the cultivation of row-crops. Thus, even with a standard type tractor, the North America farmer could get rid of a large number of horses on the farm that were required for heavy tillage and seed-bed preparation in the Spring of each year. However, the farmer would have to retain enough horses necessary for cultivation of the row-crops on the farm. With the introduction of “row crop” or tricycle style tractors, the North American farmer was able to purchase one of these row crop tractors, like the Case Model CC. Then, the farmer would then be able to get rid of all the horses on his farm and farm in a fully mechanized way. Thus, the Model CC could be used to provide all the power on the farm to perform all the field work over the whole growing season.
The most unique feature about all the Case Model CC was the steering rod than located outside the hood of the tractor on the left side of the tractor. This rod extended along the left side of the tractor to the front wheels the tractor. Because this looked like a convenient place for the chickens, on the farm, to roost during the night, this rod became popularly known as “chicken’s roost.” Over the entire production from 1929 until 1939, 29,824 Model CC tractors were made.
In 1939, the CC was “styled,” modernized and the engine was upgraded in horsepower to a full 32.92 hp. at the belt pulley or the and 24.39 hp. at the drawbar. The tractor was re-designated as the new Case Model DC-3 tricycle style tractor. Instead of being painted gray like the Model CC, the Model DC-3 was painted a reddish-orange color that the J. I. Case Company called “Flambeau Red.” The DC-3 had a new Case-built engine with a 3-7/8 inch bore and a 5 ½ inch stroke, was commonly fitted with 11.25 by 38 inch rubber tires and weighed 7,010 lbs. Case advertised the DC-3 tractor as a “full three-plow tractor.” This meant that the DC-3 could pull a three–bottom plow even with 16 inch bottoms in most plowing conditions. By 1944, the suggested retail price of the DC was $1,270 as mounted on rubber tires. During the entire production run of the Model DC-3 from 1939 until 1955, 54,925 DC-3 tractors were manufactured by the J.I. Case Company, or about 3,433 Model DC-3’s per year.
With the introduction of the DC-3 and the phasing out of the Model CC tractor there was a vacancy in the “two-plow” class of tractors within the J. I. Case Company tractor line. Accordingly, in 1940, one year after the introduction of the DC-3, the J.I. Case Company introduced the Model SC tractor. The Model SC weighed 4,200 lbs., was fitted with a 2.7 liter four-cylinder engine with a 3 ½ inch bore and a 4 inch stroke which delivered 21.62. hp to the belt pulley and 16.18 hp. to the drawbar. The Model SC was painted Flambeau Red to match the Model DC-3 and retained the hand clutch, the same “chicken’s roost” style steering rod of the Model CC and the Model DC-3 and retained the 11.25 by 38 inch rear rubber tires of the Model DC-3. However, the Model SC could be purchased for a much lower price than the DC-3. Many farmers took advantage of this price difference to purchase the Model SC tractor and the Model SC tractor became the best-selling tractor of the Case Flambeau Red line of tractors. Over its shorter production run (from 1940 until 1955), a total of 58,991 Model SC tractors (or about 3,933 Model SC’s per year) were produced and sold by the company—this is a total of 4,066 more SC’s produced by the Case Company than the total number of DC-3 tractors produced over the longer production run of the DC-3. In other words from 1940 until 1955. there were about 500 more SC tractors produced each year than there were Model DC-3 tractors during the same period of time.
Of course not every year of the production run from 1940 until 1955 was like the next. History intervened, during this period of time, in the form of the Second World War, history from 1939 until 1955. Involvement of the United States in the Second World War dated from the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese Imperial forces. Following the Pearl Harbor attack, most heavy industrial companies, like the J. I. Case Company were required by the United States government to join the war effort, as the country fought a desperate war in two separate theaters of operations (Europe and the Pacific). Production of civilian goods gave way to production for the war effort. However, it took some time for the various companies to be assigned their government military contracts and to start producing wartime materials. For the Case Company production of farm tractors at their factory located in Racine, Wisconsin tapered off somewhat gradually in favor of war materials for the war effort. The factory at Racine was called the “Main Works.” During the war, the “Main Works” became involved in the production of bombs and artillery shells, doors for the Sherman tank and parts for the B-26 bomber.
The limited amount of tractors that were produced during the war, rolled off the assembly line at the Main Works were assigned a serial numbers in sequence regardless of the model. There are no separate serial numbers for the S-series, the D-series or the V-series tractors. The first two numbers of any Case tractor serial number designates the year in which the tractor was assembled at the Main Works. Even these first two numbers are hidden in some obscurity. If the first two numbers of a particular are 44, this does not mean the tractor was produced in 1944. Four years must be subtracted from the first two numbers of every serial number to arrive at the actual production year of the tractor. Thus, the digits of “44,” in the serial number example cited above, stand for 1940—not for 1944.
Accordingly, in the fifth year of the Model SC production run , a particular Model SC rolled aff the assembly line at the Main Works bearing the Serial Number 4911952. The first two digits of this particular serial number indicate that the tractor was manufactured at the Main Works in 1945. Since production in the year 1945 began with the serial number 4900001. Production of the Model SC with the Serial No. 4911952 must have been produced rather late in the year, 1945. Indeed a good guess might be that it was produced in December of 1945.
As consistent readers of this blog will remember, in December of 1945, the partnership of Duane Wetter and Merle Krinke were buying property in the small town of LeRoy, Minnesota to establish what would become the local Case dealership called the “LeRoy Equipment Company.” (See the two part series of articles called “The Rise and Decline of the LeRoy Equipment Dealership.” The new dealership of LeRoy Equipment Company was in need of an inventory of new Case farm tractors and Case farm machinery. Accordingly, the Model SC tractor bearing the serial number 4911952 could have been sent to this new dealership in LeRoy, Minnesota, to help the new dealership get off the ground. However, No. 4911952 was sent to the “Cutkowski and Jones dealership” located at 202 No. Main Street in Mankato, Minnesota. The “Cutkowski and Jones dealership” began its existence as the J.I. Case Company dealership. Harry Cutkowski began working at the dealership at mechanic. In 1936, he became the owner of the dealership.
Production of the Model SC Case continued until 1954. Over the full production run of the Model SC tractor, from 1940 until 1954, a total of 58991 individual SC tractors were made.
The Model SC tractor bearing the Serial Number 4911952 lwas shipped to the Cutkowski and Jones Case equipment dealership in Mankato, Minnesota.
This and eventually sold to a particular farmer operating a farm in western Belgrade Township about 3 or 4 miles to the north of North Mankato on County Road #8 in Nicollet County Minneota. This was the farm of our Belgrade Township farmer. Sold into bankruptcy and No. 4911952 was sold to an auction house in Mankato kept No. 4911952 inside a storage shed or garage until an auction was held a couple months later. At the auction, Ken Weilage purchased No. 4911925 and a couple of other tractors and took the tractors to his 5-acre hobby farm located on the east side of the Hwy. #169 between Mankato and St. Peter, Minnesota.
This hobby farm had originally been a working farm but in the 1960s the arable land of the farm was surveyed and separated from the building site of the farm. The arable land was then sold to a neighboring farmer and the building site was sold to man who worked as a financial services manager named Ken Wielage (Tel:  625-4810), who also had a hobby of collecting and restoring old farm tractors. At this stage, No. 4911952 went through its first repainting and restoration. Once the restoration was complete, the tractor was driven by Ken Weilage in a number of parades. In about 1990 the tractor was sold to group of about ten (10) neighbors, who all lived along Washington Boulevard on the shore of Lake Washington, near the village of Madison Lake, Minnesota. This group of neighbors included John Pfau, the owner of a number of Taco John restaurant franchised in Mankato, St. Peter and New Ulm and was the person who actually found the tractor was for sale by Ken Wielage, the late Ernie Weber, Gordon Strusz (at 4524 Washington Blvd. Madison Lake, Minnesota and Tel.  243-3380); Ray Dumbrowski; and John D. Jacoby who became the person who was most involved with the operation storage and repair of the tractor for the last 20 years. At first, Washington Boulevard was a gravel rode. The neighbors used No. 4911952 to pull an old steel-wheeled grader up and down Washington Boulevard to grade and maintain the road and the tractor was used twice a year to put the neighbors docks in Lake Washington in the spring and pulling the docks out of the waster in the autumn.
In 2013 through 2015 No. 4911952 was displayed on the Mike McCabe farm as a tractor for sale and there was seen by the current author in April of 2015 was and purchased for the Wells Family Farms collection of restored tractors. No. 4911952 is currently undergoing its second restoration.
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