The 1936 International Harvester “Quickest On-Quickest Off” Contest
Brian Wayne Wells
As published in the November/December 1994 issue of
Belt Pulley Magazine
Ever since the invention of farm machinery, all farm equipment manufacturers have sought new and more effective ways to sell their product. Jere Wissler of Mountville, Pennsylvania has a piece of International Harvester literature which dates from about 1940 and recounts that the company began making silent movies to promote their farm equipment in 1912. In 1934 they changed to sound movies exclusively. Many of these movies were intended to be shown at the annual Power Farming Shows and Entertainment to be held in February of each year at their dealerships as a way of advertising the new farm equipment the company had introduced that year. International Harvester encouraged their local dealerships to hold these family-oriented events with a free meal and free entertainment as a means of attracting potential buyers in the middle of the Great Depression.
The dealerships usually offered free beans and hot dogs to the families in attendance and the entertainment usually consisted of farm equipment movies. Of course, the salesmen of the dealership were always on hand to show off the new machinery in hopes of making a sale during the show. Early February was recognized as the best time to hold these events because it was well in advance of March 1, traditionally the day on which all rental agreements for farms invariably ended and a new agreement would begin. Additionally, purchase contracts for farms invariably were made effective on March 1.
John Deere also began having similar annual February events in 1936. They called their events John Deere Days. The John Deere Company began making movies for their shows in 1936. Copies of these movies on VHS videotape are available from Two Cylinder Club, Post Office Box 10, Grundy Center, Iowa 50638-0010, Telephone: 1-800-831-5176.
At first all movies made by International Harvester were of the hard-sell variety. Hard-sell movies dealt exclusively with machinery; there was no attempt to make a story out of the movie. Precisely because they provide direct information about the machinery, these movies stimulate great interest among collectors today. In 1936, however, International Harvester produced a different type of movie for the February dealership shows. This 11-minute movie was called My Model Farm. The movie contained no scenes of machinery at all; it was strictly an entertainment movie. However, My Model Farm created a sensation when it was shown for the first time in 1936. It was (and still is) a very funny and popular film with audiences. International Harvester had created a movie hit! The movie was re-shown in succeeding years because of popular demand. The movie was intended to be included in the middle of a series of hard-sell movies to provide comic relief.
One of the hard-sell movies shown together with My Model Farm in 1936 was Quickest On, Quickest Off. This movie relates yet another promotional campaign which International Harvester launched to promote the Quick-Attachable line of farm equipment for the Farmall F-12. This movie showed the International Harvester exhibition tents at the 1935 Illinois and Indiana State Fairs. One of the main events in the International Harvester tent at both state fairs that year was the “Quickest On, Quickest Off” contest. This was a contest of 13- and 14-year-old boys from various communities of each state competing to see who was the fastest at attaching and detaching the various “Quick-Attachable” implements available for the Farmall F-12.
The contest was part of the International Harvester effort to demonstrate to farmers just how easy it was for anybody to attach and detach the Quick-Attachable equipment. There is mention in the movie of a one-armed man attaching and detaching equipment each day of the Illinois State Fair. The 13- and 14-year-old contestants were drawn from the local communities in the respective states.
Although there is no detailed explanation in the movie of how the contestants were selected at the local level, a person with whom many Belt Pulley readers are familiar was a participant in the 1935 Quickest On, Quickest Off contest at the local level. Although circumstances prevented him from participating in the contest at the Illinois State Fair, he is familiar with the contest as it was carried out at the local level.
Many readers will remember Bill Rees who was the son of Milford Rees, founder of Rees Plowing Match in 1923. A story of the Rees plowing contests held from 1923 through 1941 was carried in the May/June 1991 issue of The Belt Pulley magazine. (“A Time Gone By: The Rees Plow Match”). In that article, readers will note that young Bill Rees won a trophy at one of the plowing matches in 1933. There is a picture of 10-year-old Bill Rees standing behind an Allis-Chalmers No. 2 plow (with very shiny mirror-like bottoms) holding his newly won plowing trophy.
The Milford Rees family was located at Rees Station in Morgan County, Illinois, about three miles northwest of Franklin, Illinois. Like most farm families, the Rees family looked forward to the Power Farm Shows held each spring. Indeed, Bill remembers attending the show at Wilson Implement, the International Harvester dealership in Waverly, Illinois. A few days after the show at Wilson Implement, the family would drive to Jacksonville, Illinois, the county seat of Morgan County, to attend the Power Farming Show at the Wise and Dowland dealership.
In the early spring of 1935, following the Power Farming Show, the Wise and Dowland dealership contacted young Bill Rees about becoming one of the local boys involved in the Quickest On and Quickest Off contest. He relates that the contest really had no connection with the county fairs; indeed, there was no contest at the local level at all. Actually, the International Harvester Company encouraged local dealerships to sponsor boys from their sales areas to come to the various state fairs to compete in the Quickest On, Quickest Off contest. The local dealerships were asked to help the boys with practice sessions using the new equipment at each dealership.
The Wise and Dowland dealership occupied a two-story building in the center of Jacksonville, Illinois, about 35 miles west of Springfield, Illinois. When Bill began going to the practice sessions held on Saturdays in the early spring of 1935, he found that Wise and Dowland had made contact with two or three other boys from the area around Jacksonville and Morgan County to participate in the “Quickest On, Quickest Off” contest. All through the spring of 1935, the boys would gather on the second floor of the Wise and Dowland dealership. The second floor of the building was the warehouse area of the dealership, where shipping boxes of farm implements were being unpacked and the implements assembled by the staff at Wise and Dowland. In this area, the boys practiced attaching and detaching the drawbars of the Farmall F-12’s. They also practiced attaching and detaching the rear section of a cultivator, the mower, and some of the other Quick-Attachable equipment using the long speed-wrench which was standard equipment with all the Quick-Attachable equipment.
While learning the advantages of the Quick-Attachable equipment, they also learned some of the disadvantages. For instance, the boys learned that the support stand for the Quick-Attachable No. 12 mower was badly designed. It was more of a hinderance than a help.
All through the spring of 1935, the boys practiced and aimed their sights on the Illinois State Fair to be held in August. As the summer progressed, however, Bill learned that he would be unable to attend the State Fair due to his family’s schedule. Reluctantly, he had to withdraw from the contest. Today, it is not known exactly what family event conflicted with the State Fair, but Bill stopped going to the practice sessions at Wise and Dowland in early summer. If he had participated at the State Fair, he may have been captured on film by the camera crew who was filming the event for the movie Quickest On, Quickest Off that would be shown at the dealership shows in February of 1936.
Although Bill did not have a chance to attend the Illinois State Fair, viewers of the film Quickest On, Quickest Off do get a chance to look around at the young boys who were participating in the contest at the Fair as well as the people in the audience. It offers the viewer a chance to sit in the stands of the International Harvester tent at the 1935 Fair. Talking with Bill Rees and the people involved in the preparation for the contest is like sitting next to an IH employee and having the employee tell you about the work that went into preparing for the contest. It increases our enjoyment and understanding of the promotional activities of the past.
A two-bottom McCormick-Deering Little Genius Plow with 14-inch Bottoms
Brian Wayne Wells
As published in the September/October 1994 issue of
Belt Pulley Magazine
Antique tractor collecting is a fast growing sport. Indeed Hemmings Motor News, who promotes antique car collecting, has called tractor collecting the fastest growing sport in the nation. Old Abe’s News Summer of 1993, Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 3. As our sport grows we also notice that restoration of tractors has recently been accompanied by restoration of farm machinery.
It seems that when tractor restorers get their tractor finished they are often ready to find something to do with the tractor. Witness all the events at the various shows around the nation; i.e., beer barrel roll with a tractor, the slow tractor races, the egg breaking contest and musical chairs with tractors. The Belt Pulley, May/June 1993, Vol. 6, No. 3, p. 26; Green Magazine, October, 1993, Vol. 9, No. 10. Hence it should not surprise anyone that the restoration of farm implements should be now gaining popularity. What better way to put the restored tractor to use than to engage in field work with a restored farm implement.
The most popular starting place for implement restoration is the grain thresher. There are many “threshing” shows around the nation. Nonetheless, there is usually a surplus of tractors for the number of threshers at many shows. Where there is threshing at shows, there will be straw stacks. This has created an opening for restored balers to be operated at the show. Furthermore, shows that own their own land and grow their own grain to be threshed at the show, will offer an opportunity for exhibiters to employ their tractors in the plowing of the fields where the grain has been harvested. Therefore, plows too have become a popular restoration project.
Additionally, tractor advertising has been responsible for some of the popularity of plows as restoration projects. Down through the history of tractor advertising, the power of a tractor has been more often described in terms of the number of plow bottoms that it could pull rather than in terms of the horsepower developed by the engine. As a result, tractor advertising often shows the tractor plowing in typical farm fields. Generally, these pictures are taken from the front of the tractor about 45 degrees to the furrow side of the tractor.
Having seen many of our favorite tractors in such advertising photos, my brother and I were enthusiastically looking for a plow in the winter of 1992-1993. We dreamed of the pictures that we could take of each other on any of the Farmall tractors owned by our family. These tractors were a 1937 Farmall F-20 (Serial No. 71355), a 1944 Farmall H (Serial No. 173093), a 1945 Farmall B (Serial No. 130161), a 1951 Farmall Super C (Serial No. 116462) and a 1953 Farmall Super M ( Serial No. 31534).
At the April, 1993 LeSueur Pioneer Power Swap Meet we found and purchased a 2-bottom McCormick-Deering Little Genius plow with 14 inch bottoms. This plow had a broken clutch lift mechanism on the land wheel side and was missing both coulters. Nonetheless, the plow was restorable. We saw the plow as a possible match for either the 1937 F-20 or the 1944 H. Originally, the plow had steel wheels, but these had been cut down to be fitted with rubber tires. The furrow wheel was a 6.00 by 16 tire. However, the land wheel was fitted with 4.75 X 19″ rim.
Through the Case\International database and the purchase of another Little Genius “parts” plow from Jim Schultz of LeSueur, Minnesota we were able to replace all the broken or missing parts on the plow.
Originally, I thought that the 4.75 X 19″ land side wheel was an abnormality and had contemplated having the wheel re-cut to fit a 7.00 by 16 tire rim which is pictured in one of the newer (late 1940’s) Owners Manuals for the No. 8, Little Genius plow. Then I saw the 1941 picture of the showroom of Johnson Bros. Implement in Taylorsville, Illinois contained in the November/December 1994 issue of Red Power. (Red Power, November/December 1993, Volume 8, Number 4, p. 18.) In the foreground of that picture is a Little Genius on rubber tires and the land wheel is considerably narrower and taller than the furrow wheel. Both front wheel rims on that plow were spoke type rims. It looked almost exactly like our plow!
Although, our plow wheels were, originally, steel and were cut down to be fitted with rubber tires only after market, the person who cut the wheels down, purposely fitted land side wheel with a 4.75 X 19″ rim. He apparently tried to keep the plow looking like a rubber-tired version of the same plow as it was being sold by International Harvester. We realized the plow as it was now configured was very close to the configuration of rubber-tired plows sold in 1941. We decided to leave the land side wheel just as it existed.
Next we undertook to paint the plow. Like most McCormick-Deering equipment, the Little Genius is painted three different colors. The Farmall red, IH-2150, Martin-Senour 99-4115 or PP&G-Ditzler 71310, was no trouble to find. The blue paint, IH-1150, Martin-Senour 90R-3736, we found easily by using C.H. Wendel’s Notebook. However, the white or cream color presented more of a problem. There has been much discussion of this cream color. The most recent study done by Ken Updike in a recent issue of Red Power. (Red Power, January/February 1994, Volume 8, Number 5, p. 5). In that article he accurately states that there were many names used for the various off-whites or cream colors from 1927 down through 1985. Also none of these paints are available under the names or numbers used today. Additionally, there exist no paint chips of those paints which can be compared with paints available today.
However, we did find strong evidence that the cream color used on the plow and other McCormick-Deering implements is none other than the Cub Cadet white (IH-759-3264) which is currently available from Case/International. We found this by a rather circuitous route.
Although our plow had rubber tires on the front wheels, the trailing wheel was still a steel wheel. I have always enjoyed rubber tires more than steel wheels. (Indeed, a quote from the International Harvester movie, Keep It Moving (1940) represents my feelings. “This is where the fun begins! Up into the driver’s seat and away we go, rolling on rubber!”). Consequently, I wanted to replace the trailing wheel with a rubber-tired wheel. I worked through Matejcek Implement in Faribault and Barneveld Implement in Barneveld, Wisconsin to find a rim for the trailing wheel. There were only five of these rims left at International Harvester dealerships over the entire nation.
We obtained the one from Barneveld, Wisconsin. It had been lying around in a warehouse in Barneveld for 20 years. This is a rim that serves no other purpose in the International Harvester line of equipment, other that as a rim for the trailing wheel of the Little Genius plow. We purchased it and when it arrived we found it was painted cream colored. We found this color to be indistinguishable from the white on the hood of our Cub Cadet. We could find no place in the Cub Cadet line of equipment where this rim could be used. The rim was used only as a trailing wheel on the Little Genius. Since the rim had been indoors for all its life we concluded that it was an accurate sample of the cream color for plow wheels.
Incidentally, the Cub Cadet white was also indistinguishable from the cream color of the wheels on the toy plow offered by Ertl in its Precision Series. Apparently, the Ertl Company engineers had reached the same conclusion regarding the correct shade of cream/white for McCormick-Deering equipment.
Furthermore, it is the opinion of Clarence Griep, long time employee of the Parts Department of the H & W Dealership of New Prague, Minnesota and Larson Implement in Northfield, Minnesota that the Cub Cadet white is the same color as the cream color of the past.
Furthermore, there was a letter to the editor from Dave Brink in the March/April 1994 issue of Red Power. Red Power, March/April 1994, Volume 8, Number 6, p. 6. This letter contained a response to the Ken Updike article noted above. Dave Brink pointed out that VanSickle Paint Manufacturing Company of Lincoln, Nebraska is still offering an “International White” to be used on the impliment wheels of McCormick-Deering equipment. VanSickle is a company that dates from 1907. They are a long time supplier of paint to Tractor Supply Company and other retail farm stores. They may evev have been one of the original suppliers of paint to the Internaional Harvester Company for the painting of original equipment. When the author contacted Dave Van Eck at VanSickle, the author learned that the present shade of cream/white offered by VanSickle as its International White has not changed in history of the company. Moreover, the present International White is also sold for the Cub Cadet white to be used in restoring Cub Cadets. VanSickle also sent the author a paint chip card. The chip of the VanSickleInterntional White matches not only the Cub Cadet White we have purchased from Case/International but also matches the color of the rim of the trailing wheel on our Little Genius plow.
If Cub Cadet white has always been the color of the wheels of McCormick-Deering equipment, why then does the Cub Cadet white seem so bright in comparison to the memories that people have of this color. Indeed the author, himself has recollections of this cream color being much darker and more yellow. The reason for this discrepancy may lie in the differences between the formulas of the paints used in the past as opposed to today’s paints.
The Nitrocellulose lacquer paints used in the 1930’s, 1940’s and early 1950’s did not stand up to the weather as well as the enamel paints used today and, therefore, the darker cream or yellowish color of the wheels on the plows may have resulted from the rapid aging of the paint. Furthermore, cream is the worst offender because it shows age much faster that the other colors. This aging could have occurred even on new machinery prior to the sale at the dealership. Therefore, the new implement would appear to have a darker shade of cream color even as the new implement appeared at the dealership! There is a good discussion of tractor paints in the book How to Restore Your Farm Tractor, by Robert Pripps. Robert N. Pripps, How to Restore Your Farm Tractor, (Oseola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International 1992) pp. 147-149.
If the cream color used by International Harvester all down through the years were the same color why were there so many different names for this paint? We don’t have an answer to this but, we know that International Harvester did engage in multiple names in at least one other occasion.
The Farmall F-12 has a power lift system which fit under the seat of the tractor. In the 1936 International Harvester promotional movie, Quickest On, Quickest Off, (1936) this lift system is shown in operation and the system is called the “power lift system.” However, just one year later in the movie, Practical Magic (1937) the system is called “the hydraulic lift system. These two systems are indistinguishable from each other in all the literature that the author has been able to locate. To add to the confusion this same single system is called the hydraulic/power lift system in the Parts manual for the F-12 and F-14.
Because International Harvester used these two names interchangeably to describe the same lift system for the F-12, we think it entirely reasonable, in the absence of contradictory evidence, to suppose that the various names used by International Harvester for the cream white color were different names for the same shade of white. Therefore, we conclude, despite even our own reservations that the Cub Cadet White, IH-759-3264, or Ditzler 8665 is the proper color for a wheels of a Little Genius plow, as that plow would have looked when it came out of the factory. The only difference will be that modern acrylic paints will mean that once the plow is repainted, will retain this like-new look for many years and not yellow with age.
We are able to put the plow to use in the fields at the LeSueur Pioneer Power site, preparing the grounds for planting of the next year’s winter wheat. When we do so using the 1937 F-20 we see, hear and smell the same experiences that our grandfather, George C. Wells might have experienced with his 1931 Regular in years 1939 through 1942. When we use the 1944 H we envision Wayne Wells plowing on the Wells farm with the Wells family 1942 H, (mentioned in The Belt Pulley, November/December 1993, Vol. 6, No. 6, p. 30) which replaced the 1931 Regular or we envision our other grandfather, Howard Hanks or our uncles Fred or Bruce Hanks “busting sod” for the first time on the Bagan farm at Le Roy, Minnesota in the early fall of 1944 with the Hanks family 1942 H. (The Belt Pulley, January/February 1994, Vol. 7, No. 1, p. 14.) For a while we can walk in the shoes of those people at those times in the past.
If the experience of our family is any clue, the Farmall H seems to occupy a unique position in the history of tractor-powered farming. There seems to have been a great number of H’s built and sold during the Second World War. However, following the war, and especially into the 1950s, they seem to have been very quickly replaced by tractors which could handle three-bottom plows and four-row cultivators. Production figures seem to support this conclusion, indicating that production of the H fell off after 1950. Red Power March/April, Vol. 7, No. 6.
The Farmall H was introduced in 1939 and, although the tractor continued in production through 1952 and into 1953, it seems to have served as the primary tractor on a lot of farms for only the very short period of time from 1940 to 1946. After this time the H was relegated to a secondary role on the farm. The primary role was taken by three-plow tractors, like the Farmall M. As has been pointed out in prior articles, Antique Power, November/December, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 15-16, farmers in 1939 were at first reluctant to buy the Farmall M because of the reputation of the F-30. The F-30 had a reputation for bulkiness, awkwardness and being hard to handle. Because the M was thought to be the successor to the F-30, sales of the M were not all that they could have been in the early years of production. This may have inflated the sales of the H which was the successor to the very popular F-20.
At any rate, there were a great number of H’s purchased during the Second World War. Indeed a great number of these wartime H’s are still around today. The wartime H’s usually stand out because they are fitted with rear wheels which have been cut down from old steel wheels. As many readers will know, although the H was sold with rear rubber tires prior to the war (notice the reprint of a picture of the showroom of Johnson Brothers Implement in Taylorsville, Illinois, taken in 1941, which is included in the November/December 1993 issue of Red Power, Vol. 8, No. 4, p. 18), during the war the rubber shortages meant that many tractors were once again commonly manufactured with steel rear wheels.
Both sides of the author’s family owned a Farmall H during the war and continued to use the H as the primary row-crop tractor on their respective farms in the same LeRoy, Minnesota neighborhood for a short period of time following the war. As noted in prior articles, The Belt Pulley January/February 1994, Vol. 7, No. 1, p. 14, the Howard Hanks family moved to the LeRoy, Minnesota area in March of 1945 to purchase a 400-acre farm in Beaver Township of Fillmore County. This farm was known in the area as the Bagan farm; however, in 1945 the farm was owned by A.E. Rehwaldt. He sold the “Bagan” farm to the Howard Hanks family. Though the farm would be legally transferred on March 1, 1945, the agreement was actually reached in the late summer of 1944. The family moved down to the farm and stayed about 10 days in August of 1944 to do some fall plowing.
Albert E. Rehwaldt also owned a 1942 Farmall H which he wanted to sell. He had purchased this tractor in 1942 under the regulations of the wartime Office of Price Administration (O.P.A.). He had paid $800.00 for the H. Under O.P.A. regulations he was prohibited from re-selling the tractor for more than the original cost of the tractor. Therefore, because the original cost of the tractor was $800.00 in 1942, he was prohibited from selling the H at more than $800.00. Even as a used tractor, the H was worth more than $800.00 in 1944.
One way for a seller to get a better price for his tractor under the regulations of the O.P.A. was to offer the tractor as part of a contract price for a farm. The price of the tractor would be submerged in the total price of the package deal for the farm.
In this way the 1942 Farmall H was purchased by the Howard Hanks family in the fall of 1944 together with the Bagan farm. It was the family’s first row-crop tractor. With the McCormick-Deering 238 cultivator that came with the H, the family would now be able to cultivate two rows at a time. The H had an electric starter, electric lights, and the Lift-All hydraulic which was common to Farmalls introduced in 1939. This 1942 H had steel wheels on the front as well as in the rear. However, in the fall of 1944, while still living on the Goff farm in Mapleton, Minnesota, the family went shopping in Mankato, Minnesota. There in Mankato the Hanks boys happened to find a couple of drop center wheels and matching rims for rubber tires for the front end of the Farmall H. These wheels and rims were purchased and installed on the 1942 H during the spring of 1945.
One of the pictures included with this article shows this 1942 Farmall H in the fall of 1945 with its new wheels and rubber tires on front. The H is hitched to the John Deere No. 7 combine. The picture shows Howard Hanks’ second son (now Reverend) Bruce Hanks preparing to attach the header to the No. 7 combine in preparation for the 1945 soybean harvest.
In 1946, both the rear wheels of the Farmall H and the wheels of the No. 7 combine were cut down and fitted with rubber tires. This was necessary because the Hanks family had used the John Deere No. 7 combine to do custom combining in their old neighborhood around the Goff farm in Mapleton in the fall of 1944. Now they looked forward to supplementing the family income with the same type of custom work in the neighborhood around the Bagan farm. The combine and H would be on the road between farms; therefore, rubber tires were a much needed improvement. The task of cutting the steel wheels down to be fitted with rims for rubber tires was performed by Joe and Earl Lamon, blacksmiths in the town of LeRoy, Minnesota.
Many of the wartime H’s were cut down and fitted with rubber tires in this manner to extend the usable life of the tractor in modern farming operations. Anyone who has driven one of these H’s will remember that the process was never perfect and usually resulted in the wheels having a slight wobble which became noticeable at high speeds. The drop center rims for rubber tires on the rear as well as the front was a preferred solution because they were perfectly round and did not wobble at high speeds; however, cutting down of steel wheels was a cheaper alternative.
Although the H had always been a five-speed tractor, when the steel-wheeled version was ordered, International Harvester installed a cap screw on the operator’s platform near the gearshift lever, which would prevent the tractor from accidentally being shifted into 5th gear. This resulted in the steel-wheeled H being a four-speed tractor with a top speed of 5-1/8 mph. C.H. Wendel Nebraska Tractor Tests, p. 122. Custom farming required that tractors and machinery be moved from farm to farm in a hurry. Transport time was wasted time. To be sure, the 5-1/8 mph speed was an improvement over the only other tractor owned by the family when they moved to the Bagan farm, a 1931 John Deere D. (This John Deere D is pictured elsewhere. Antique Power, May/June 1994, Vol. 6, No. 4, p. 22.) The two-speed 1931 D had a top speed of 3-1/4 mph, (C.H. Wendel Nebraska Tractor Tests, p. 60). Still, the H was painfully slow on the road, so it was a noteworthy day when the rubber tires were finally mounted on the back in the spring of 1946 and the cap screw on the platform could safely be removed! Suddenly the top speed of the tractor was increased by more than three times to 16-1/8 mph!
At times, the Hank’s Farmall H performed tasks which were not strictly related to farming operations. In April of 1947, Bruce Hanks was getting married and leaving the farm. It had been a wet spring and the roads were in bad shape. The wedding took place on April 2, 1947 at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa. (This is the church that inspired the hymn “Little Church in the Wild Wood” where so many weddings have been held.) After the wedding was over and the bridal party was ready to head out on the honeymoon, it was discovered that some of the luggage had been left back at the house on the Bagan farm in LeRoy. Howard Hanks headed out after the ceremony in his 1936 Plymouth. The last mile over the township road (called the “rabbit road south” so as not to be confused with the “rabbit road north!”) leading to the house from the U.S. 56 was so muddy that he did not think he would make it. However, he did pull up into the yard and did retrieve the luggage. Rather than set out again in the car he started up the 1942 H which was now outfitted with rubber tires and the fifth gear, and while driving with one hand and holding the luggage with the other, Howard brought the luggage to the corner of U.S. 56 and the rabbit road south where the bridal party awaited their luggage and the start of their honeymoon. Admittedly, this is an unusual task for a farm tractor, but the Farmall H had saved this most important day!
As the Farmall H headed back toward the farm on the afternoon of April 2, 1947, Howard Hanks must have been looking out over the fields of the farm with some foreboding. The economic difficulty caused by the general decline of farm prices following the war would, in 1947, be further intensified by the wet spring which would continue on into the summer. 1947 was beginning to look like a year of crisis for the Hanks family. Just at they had contracted to make payments on the 400 acre farm (large by comparison for the times) prices and now the weather seemed to be conspiring against their success on the new farm. The story of the year of 1947 is, however, another story for another time.
The 1942 Farmall H played the leading role on the Hanks farm for the critical year of 1947 and continued to serve in this role until 1951 when it was traded off for a new 1951 Massey-Harris 44 and a four-row cultivator. This Massey-Harris 44 is described and pictured elsewhere. The Belt Pulley, July/August 1993, Vol. 6, No. 4. The Hanks farming operation had moved to three-bottom plow and four-row capacity farming. At this level of capacity the H was outmoded.
As mentioned above, the author’s father Wayne Wells farmed in the same LeRoy neighborhood. Wayne Wells’ father George Cleveland Wells had purchased a 160-acre farm only two miles to the west of the Bagan farm in 1936. George and Louise Schwark Wells and their three sons Floyd, Donald and Wayne, and one daughter Winnefred, moved from a rented farm in Chester, Iowa in the spring of 1936. George Cleveland Wells was farming 160 acres with a 1931 Farmall Regular which had been purchased in the late fall of 1939. It had been retrofitted with rubber tires in the front to aid in steering; however, it still had steel wheels in the rear. George’s No. 2 son Donald Wells (later a fighter pilot in the Navy, now from Seattle and currently restoring a Farmall C and a McCormick grain binder) had been assigned the cold and day-long task in the late fall of 1939 of driving the Regular from the purchase site southwest of LeRoy to the Wells farm northeast of LeRoy. This was a distance of some 15 to 20 miles. Although the Regular had rubber tires on the front, the steel lug wheels on the rear meant that Donald had to take all the back roads and stay off the cement and asphalt highways. This further lengthened the trip. At the same time, the Wells family had purchased a new John Deere Model 82 two-bottom plow for use with the Regular.
In 1942, a new Farmall H had been ordered by a neighbor, Mel Anderson, under the regulations of the O.P.A. However, when it arrived he had decided not to buy the tractor. Mel then offered to let George Wells buy the H in his place. (The only picture that exists of the George Wells 1942 Farmall H is the picture at the top of this article.) Because it was known that obtaining a tractor was becoming an arduous task, even in that first year of the Second World War, George Wells knew that he had better act while the opportunity was open. Therefore, three years after purchasing the Regular the Wells family decided to trade off the 1931 Regular and the McCormick Deering Model 229 cultivator (C.H. Wendel 150 Years of Intenational Harvester, p. 101) on the purchase price of this new Farmall H while the opportunity presented itself.
The George Wells 1942 H was a very good tractor. It had lights, an electric starter, and the Lift-All hydraulic system. Furthermore it had factory-mounted drop center rims for rubber tires on the front as well as the rear. The tractor was accompanied by a two-row model 238 International Harvester cultivator. This tractor was a big improvement over the Regular in that it had the worm gear type of steering on top of the steering column. Driving the H was a much safer proposition than the Regular with its bevel gear type of steering which frequently caused the steering wheel to break loose from the operator’s grasp upon hitting a rock with the front tires. When driving the Regular, you always made sure your thumb was on the outside of the steering wheel! Also, the Regular was not the tractor for installing a steering knob on the steering wheel!
The Wells family found that the H was a good match for the newly acquired Model 82 John Deere two-bottom plow. Following George and Louise Wells’ retirement and move in the town of LeRoy, Minnesota in 1947, their third and youngest son, Wayne A. Wells, took over operation of the home farm from his parents. The 1942 Farmall Model H continued to serve as the only tractor in the Wells farming operation until 1950 when it was traded for a new Farmall M, a new three-bottom Little Genius plow (Wendel p. 229), a new six-foot McCormick-Deering Model 25 mower and a new 438 four-row cultivator. Together with a used Model 112 four-row corn planter, also purchased in 1950, the Wells family moved to four-row and three bottom capacity farming. Consequently, the day of the Farmall H had passed for both the Wells and Hanks family farming operations.
However, fond memories remain of farming with the Farmall H in the years during and immediately following the Second World War. The Wells family is currently restoring a 1944 Farmall H (Serial No. 173,093). It helps us capture some of the sights and sound of farming as conducted by both sides of our family during the period of time from 1942 until 1951 when the Farmall H was the leading row-crop tractor on both farms.
No. 173093 was purchased from Fred and Jan (Miner) Netz of Traverse Township in Nicollet County, Minnesota. Fred and Jan Netz were teachers in the Nicollet Public School system, in Nicollet, Minnesota. However they also worked a small farm in traverse Township where they raised cattle and had a large garden. They used No. 173093 on their farm to till the garden and to put up hay for the winter to feed their cattle.
The 1944 H (serial No. 173,093) purchased by the Wells family in the summer of 1993, however, differs from the 1942 H’s owned by the Wells and Hanks families in the late 1940s in that the current 1944 H has the optional disc brakes which International Harvester offered. This option is rare enough that some observers have thought that this 1944 tractor was actually a Super H. The disc brakes on the 1944 H are quite different in outward appearance than the disc brakes which were offered standard on the Super series of Farmalls. The pictures included with this article show this difference.
However, working mechanism of both the optional disc brakes offered before 1953 and the standard equipment disc brakes offered after that date operate by the same means. As the brake pedal is applied, the balls inside the actuating disc are forced up a little incline, following a path. As this occurs, the balls cause the two halves of the actuating disc to spread apart and rub against the asbestos-lined discs which are attached to the counter shaft of the transmission. This slows the tractor.
The Farmall disc brakes have had a bad reputation with farmers and tractor restorers dating from the time they first came out as standard equipment on the Super series of the Farmalls in 1953. The problems with disc brakes seem to fall into two categories. One problem seems to involve the glazing over of the surfaces of the asbestos-lined discs. Mel Duerst, who was a mechanic at the Thompson (later Phillipson) International Harvester Implement dealership in New Glarus Wisconsin in the 1950s, reports that many of the first disc brake models had problems due to operator’s riding the brakes and glazing over the asbestos surfaces. Mr. Duerst, who now lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, remembers that it became official International Harvester policy to warn operators against riding the brakes on the new Super series tractors. He feels that the disc brakes should be as effective as the old band brakes were under normal circumstances.
Charles (Dick) Smith used the new Super M’s in the early 1950s for plowing on his farms located in western Iowa near Red Oak. On one hillside portion of his land plowing created problems for the tractor operator. To keep the tractor plowing straight around the slope required the operator to ride the brake of the Super M’s until the brake housings became discolored and smoked from the excess heat. Mr. Smith dismantled the disc brakes on his Super M’s each night after this hard usage to clean up the actuator, roller balls and the paths followed by the balls when the brakes were engaged. He humorously injects that he became pretty familiar with the disc brakes during this period of time! He acknowledges that plowing on the hillside areas was abnormally rough on the braking system of his Super M’s. He also concurs that under normal conditions the disc brakes should be as effective as the older band brakes. For the restorer, the problem of glazed asbestos surfaces of the discs is solved by various methods of roughing up the surface of the asbestos pads on the discs.
The other problem common to disc brakes is that they have a tendency to lock up. This problem appears to be caused by dirt and rust building up inside the actuating discs of the brake. The dirt and rust interfere with the balls in the actuating discs rolling back to the released position when the brake pedal is released. Rust is created inside the actuating discs when the tractor is left exposed to the elements for a good portion of its life. This problem should not create difficulty for restorers, however, as most restored tractors tend to be stored inside out of the elements.
One other cause of the disc brakes locking up is that the balls inside the actuating discs will create a slight depression in the path the ball is supposed to follow when the brake pedal is released. The ball gets stuck in the depression and the brake is locked. The process of creating the depression is called brinelling and is described in an article by Lester Larson in a recent issue of Antique Power. Antique Power, January/February 1994, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 16.
It also seems that the lack of adjustment of brakes will lead to problems with disc brakes. The Owner’s Manual for the Farmall H instructs the owner to adjust brakes so that free movement of the pedal is limited to only 1-1/2″. Farmall H Owners Manual, p. 59. As a boy growing up on the Wells farm in the 1950s, the author remembers few tractors which were adjusted to this standard. With band brakes, proper adjustment was not so crucial. If the operator kept pressing down on the pedal, sooner or later the brakes would engage. However, as noted above, the disc brakes are operated by balls following a path inside the actuating discs. If the brakes were not fully engaged by the time that the balls reached the end of the path, further pressing on the brake pedal would be meaningless. The message to restorers is that proper adjustment of brakes is much more important for disc brakes than for band brakes.
In about 2003 the Wells family agreed to let the 1944 H become a working tractor as a part of the Melounek-Deutsch Saw Mill on the grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association. As such the 1944 Farmall bearing the serial No, 173093 was fitted with a buck saw which is used for cross cutting “slab” wood (a by product of sawing logs into lumber) into useable pieces for burning in the numerous steam engines located around the grounds during the August show.
In the years since this article was originally written, No. 173093 with its “buzz” saw, or “buck saw,” mounted on the front continues to be employed by the “Sawmill gang” on the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association to reduce the slab wood by-product of the sawmill. Indeed just prior to the 2016 August Show on the Pioneer Power grounds, the current author and Mark Wells, brother of the current author had a chance to work with the sawmill gang cutting up slab wood with No. 173093 and its buzz saw and putting the resulting fire wood into the Anthony wagon box mounted on the Ralph Nash homemade wagon gear which was another restoration project of the Wells family. (The story of the Anthony wagon is told in the article on the Anthony Company of Streator, Illinois which is also contained on this website.)
In the absence of No. 173093, the Wells family purchased another 1946 Farmall H which had been part of a fleet of tractors owned by the Campbell Soup Company of Napoleon, Ohio. This tractor bears the serial No. 219955. It is intended that this tractor will be changed to make it look like the George Wells 1942 Farmall H shown at the top of this article. Toward this end, a pair of non-adjustable front wheels were purchased in the town of Charm, Ohio in the Amish Colonies in October of 2013. Over that winter of 2013-2014, the older standard equipment seat of No. 219955 was renovated and in the summer of 2014 No. 219955 was transported to Minnesota to be stored in the new Wells family workshop located at 764 Elmwood Street in LeSueur.
During the summer of 2015 a new wiring harness, battery box and a new muffler were added to No. 219955 and the tractor began to look a lot more like the George Wells 1942 Farmall H. This is the role that this tractor this tractor is currently playing. However, the does have its own interesting history as a member of a fleet of tractors owned and operated by the Campbell Soup Company of Napoleon, Ohio. Accordingly, an additional article is being planned for the actual history of No. 219955.
History of a 22-inch by 38-inch McCormick-Deering Thresher
Brian Wayne Wells
As published in the May/June 1994 issue of
Belt Pulley Magazine
In January of 1994 the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association was given the gift of a 1944 22″ by 38″ McCormick-Deering thresher owned by the recently deceased Paul Meyer and his wife, Palma (Herald) Meyer, who also recently passed away. The children of Paul and Palma (Herald) Meyer, Ann Atwood (Mrs. Charles), of Mankato, Minnesota and Port Charlotte, Florida, and Jim Meyer of Burnsville, Minnesota, felt that their donation of this thresher to the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association would be particularly appropriate because of Paul Meyer’s long career as the owner and operator of the Paul Meyer International Harvester dealership in the town of LeSueur, Minnesota and because this particular McCormick-Deering 22 X 38 thresher has a long historical connection with the neighborhood around the Pioneer Power site. (This thresher is referred to as a “22 X 38 inch thresher” because of the 22-inch wide cylinder near the front of the thresher and the larger 38-inch wide separating tables located behind the cylinder.)
International Harvester got into the thresher business only in 1909 when they offered the Belle City line of threshers. In 1913 they offered Buffalo-Pitts, Sterling and New Racine threshers. C.H. Wendel, 150 Years of International Harvester, p. 253. Advertising from the year 1923 reflects that International Harvester was offering a 22″ X 38″ and a 28″ X 46″ thresher under the McCormick-Deering name. All of the threshers sold by International Harvester were of wood construction. McCormick Deering Line, (Chicago, 1923) pp.327-333.
All of these wooden threshers were phased out in 1925 in favor of the two models of all-steel threshers which were introduced that year under the name of McCormick-Deering. These two threshers were the 22″ X 38″ model and the 28″ X 46″ model. (Actually, a smaller model, a 20″ by 32″ model, was offered for a short period of time from 1926 thru 1932.) Production of the two models of threshers was to continue until 1956.
Paul Meyer came to have direct and intimate knowledge of these two models of threshers. Prior to 1941 Paul Meyer had worked in sales and parts for the Jack Clifford International Harvester dealership in LeSueur, Minnesota. During this period of time Paul and his brother Clem Meyer, now from Mesa, Arizona, bought a 1939 Farmall MD and a 28″ X 46″ thresher and did some custom threshing in the LeSueur, Minnesota area.
Paul Meyer purchased the dealership from Jack Clifford in 1941. He remained the owner and operator of the International Harvester Dealership in LeSueur, Minnesota until 1974. Paul’s other brother, Clair (Bunny) Meyer, joined the dealership in 1950 to work in sales. During the years up to the mid-1940’s the dealership sold many of the McCormick-Deering threshers. In the mid 1940’s the dealership sold what would be the last new thresher the dealership would ever sell. This 22″ X 38″ thresher was sold to the late Wallace Bauleke of rural LeSueur for a sale price was $400.00.
Wallace Bauleke and his sons Elwood and Sheldon Bauleke used the thresher for threshing their own small grains and also used the thresher in custom threshing around Sharon Township in LeSueur County. They threshed small grains in the Sharon Township neighborhood on the Joe Felrath farm and the farm of Joe’s uncle, Charles Felrath, the Foley farm and also for Wilbur Katzenmeyer, Emil Wiese, George Hale, Harold Straub and for a relative of the Bauleke’s, Mrs. Schupper. All of these farms provided horses and workers during threshing season as the thresher made the rounds of the farms. Charles Felrath, Joe Felrath and Joe’s son, Donny, became part of the threshing crew along with many others during the threshing seasons from the mid-1940’s until about 1963 when the last of the farms on the route changed over to combining of small grains. Mark Katzenmeyer, son of Wilbur, though too young to form part of the crew, does, nonetheless, remember seeing the thresher operating. For the first couple of seasons, Wilbur Katzenmeyer’s 1941 Farmall H was used to power and transport the thresher. This H was equiped with factory rubber tires and had electric lights for easier rransportation of the thresher from farm to farm. In 1947, Wallace Bauleke purchased a McCorick-Deering WD-6 from the Paul Meyer dealership. From that time on the WD-6 was used with the thresher.
As the farming operations in the neighborhood converted to combining, the thresher would stored away for good on the Wallace Bauleke farm. The thresher was bought by two young members of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association, Bill Theleman and Brian Schultz in 1981. Bill and Brian repainted the thresher and the thresher was stored at the Pioneer Power site and operated during the show in August of each year. Paul Meyer re-purchased the thresher from Bill and Brian in 1983. Paul often told the story of repurchasing the thresher for $800.00, twice the price that he had sold the machine for in the 1940’s.
Thanks to the gift of the Paul Meyer family, this thresher will continue to be available at the LeSueur Pioneer Power site and to be operated during August threshing show each year. The thresher will continue to stand as a fitting tribute not only to Paul Meyer, but to all operators of local International Harvester dealerships and to Wallace Bauleke and all the threshing crews who labored with this thresher and other threshers harvest the nation’s small grains.
As was noted elsewhere (The Belt Pulley, January/February 1994, Vol. 7, No. 1), the Howard B. Hanks family moved to the current Fred J. Hanks farm in LeRoy, Minnesota, in 1945. In those days, the 400-acre farm was known as the “Bagan farm.” As mentioned in the above-cited article, one of the restored tractors which are still used on the farm is a 1950 Massey-Harris 22. (Serial No. GR6729). Of all the tractors on the farm, the 22 has been there the longest time.
The 22 was purchased as a used tractor by the Hanks family from an International Harvester dealership in Austin, Minnesota, in 1954, and was put to immediate use. At that time, the farming operation included three other tractors: a 1935 John Deere D (pictured on the back cover of the January 1993 issue of Green magazine, Vol. 9, No. 1); a 1951 Massey-Harris 44 (The Belt Pulley, July/August 1993, Vol. 6, No. 4, p. 26); and a 1948 Ford 8N. The farm was operated by Howard Hanks and his two sons; Fred, who had returned to the farm in June of 1947 from military service in Germany as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, and John, who had just graduated from LeRoy High School in 1953.
The daily tasks for the 22 included (and still includes) hauling of grain and manure. During hay seasons, the 22 was and continues to be very busy hauling hay from the field. Because the author’s father, Wayne A. Wells, cooperated with the Hanks family (his father-in-law and brothers-in-law) during hay season, the author, as a youth, had occasion to use the 22 to haul many of these loads of hay from the field himself. Field work was generally limited to cultivating corn and soybeans with the two-row cultivator which came as part of the purchase package with the 22. However, in the fall of 1956, some unusually hard plowing conditions existed and the 22 was hitched to the 1951 Massey-Harris 44 to give assistance with the plowing. The stiff hitch connecting the two tractors was made of two 2 x 4 oak boards bolted together.
A special task for the 22 evolved in the mid-1950s. About this time, farmers began to make use of herbicides on their crops. Anticipating this trend, the Hanks family’s 22 was fitted with a mounted sprayer purchased from Sears, Roebuck and Company. This sprayer looked identical to a mounted sprayer pictured in the 1949 advertisement by Massey-Harris included with this article, except that the Sears sprayer was not fitted with the optional drop nozzle attachments offered by Massey-Harris. In the advertisement, the Massey-Harris sprayer is shown mounted on a 22. Although no pictures have yet been found of the Hanks family’s 22 showing the front-mounted spray booms, the picture from the Massey-Harris advertisement looks identical to the Hanks’ 22 during those summers when it was employed for spraying herbicides. As shown in the advertisement, the booms are located on the front of the tractor ahead of the driver. The tank was mounted on the rear of the tractor. The spray was pressurized by a pump connected to the power take-off. The booms could be folded into an upright position for transport.
Because the Hanks family had always performed custom combining and baling in the neighborhood, it was almost inevitable that the sprayer, too, was employed for custom work. This custom spraying became the domain of my Uncle Fred Hanks. Each June and July in the late 1950s, we would see Uncle Fred on the 22 riding down some dirt road headed to another job. Tractor tire marks evenly spaced across some immature oat field was sure evidence that Uncle Fred had recently been there! Sitting in the back or our 1957 Plymouth, riding down the neighborhood roads, we children would scan our neighbors’ oat fields for any small scattering of yellow which would indicate an infestation of wild mustard flowers. This would draw a comment from us. “They better had give Uncle Fred a call.” (A generation later we might have used the phrase “Who you gonna call?” from the movie Ghostbusters!).
The 22 was ideally fitted for this type of work. The large rear wheels and high revving engine allowed the 22 to really scoot down the road. A high transport speed was important for custom work so as not to waste time. The large rear wheels were a selling point for the 22 in 1950. (See A World of Power, a 1950 Massey-Harris promotional movie available from Keith Oltrogge, Box 529, Denver, IA 50622-0529, Telephone: (319) 984-5292.) The large rear wheels allowed the 22 to reach a top speed of 13.02 mph. (C.H. Wendel, Nebraska Tractor Tests  p. 145.) However, this was at the 1500 engine rpm level. The 22 had Twin-Power which had been available on earlier Massey-Harris models. Twin-Power was a feature which reserved a special high range on the throttle control (from 1500-1800 rpms) to be used for belt work. (Michael Williams, Massey-Ferguson Tractors (1987), pp. 46-47.) The cast-iron quadrant for the throttle control lever behind the steering wheel on the 22 had a little block built into the quadrant which was intended to prevent the lever from being pulled down into the special 1500-1800 rpm range. However, the throttle control lever could be lifted up and over this little block easily. (C.H. Wendel, Massey Tractors, (1992) p. 67.) The operator’s manual for the 22 warned against use of the 1500-1800 rpm range for drawbar work. (Operating Instructions and Service Manual for the Massey-Harris 22 and 22-K, p. 5.) Pulling a full load of hay at a speed of 16 mph down a narrow township road with steep ditches on either side could get a bit scary. As youngsters, hauling loads of hay on the road from the fields to the barn, we were told not to experiment with the throttle in the range from 1500-1800 rpm on the 22.
We estimated, at the time, that the speed developed at 1800 rpm must have reached up to 20 mph. This was twice the speed of the small rear-wheeled Farmall B, owned by the Wells family (See Farmall B and Equipment, a 1939 International Harvester movie), which often worked together with the 22 during hay seasons and, therefore, was the natural counterpoint for comparisons with the 22. This 1941 Farmall B is featured in the story “The Family’s Second Tractor,” The Belt Pulley, November/December 1993, Vol. 6, Issue 6, p. 30. The B operated at the slower top engine speed of 1400 rpm which was common to most Farmalls.
Looking back now with the benefit of research materials, we can see that we may not have been too far off in our estimates of the speed of the 22 at 1800 rpm. Both the 22 and its predecessor, the Massey-Harris 81, were powered by a Continental engine. The 81 could develop a top speed of 16.0 mph at 1500 rpm. The 81 also had the Twin Power feature for belt work up to 1800 rpm. (Nebraska Tractor Tests, p. 136.)
Larger Massey-Harris models offered contemporaneously with the model 81, like the Massey-Harris models 101, 201, and 101 Junior, were powered either with the 4-cylinder Continental MFA engine or the 6-cylinder T-57 503 Chrysler engine. These models, too, could develop 1800 rpm; however, their top speed was 17.4 mph. (Nebraska Tractor Tests, pp. 113, 117 and 131.) This was fast, even for the 1950s! For the period of time from 1939 to 1946 when the 101 and 201 were manufactured, this speed must have been far in advance of the quality of the rural roads and the technology of brakes. It may have been that the Massey-Harris company realized this and therefore made a conscious effort to gear the later models down so that even at 1800 rpm the tractor would not move so fast in road gear. During this time, other tractor makers were busy increasing the range of speeds for their tractors. With Massey-Harris decreasing their road speeds and other manufacturers increasing their road speeds, a happy common ground appears to have been reached in the 1950s which did not change substantially until the mid-1960s.
Massey-Harris used to advertise the 101 and the 201 as “fast tractors.” Indeed, there is a scene from a 1941 Massey-Harris promotional movie which shows a Massey-Harris 101 Standard hauling a load of wheat to the grain elevator. The tractor and wagon passes up a car which is pulling off onto the shoulder of the road. (Mechanized Agriculture Meets the Challenge, (1941) available from Keith Oltrogge, noted above.) During this scene, the narrator notes that “the motorcar driver courteously yields to the fast-moving tractor.” We often thought that the “motorcar driver” may not have been so much courteous as scared after seeing a ton-and-a-half load of grain and a 5700 lb. tractor bearing down on him at 17-18 mph. He may have been justified in this fear, given the length of time required to stop that load!
The 22 continues to play an active role on the Hanks family farm, even after forty years of service. In 1989 it was restored and repainted. Since that time, the 22 has been exhibited and paraded at local tractor shows in the summer. One such show is the Root River Antique Power Association Show held in mid-July of each year at Racine, Minnesota. At the time of the repainting of the 22, the hubs of the wheels were mistakenly painted orange. Current plans include returning these hubs to their original yellow color.
The 22 continues to be a fun tractor to drive and carries with it a lot of memories. We hope its restoration will guarantee that this fun will be carried on to future generations.
As published in the January/February 1994 issue of
Belt Pulley Magazine
Volume 7, Number 1
The enclosed picture (on the back cover) has some links with the past. In the foreground are two of the “beauties” which we have restored and plan to preserve. Another “link with the past” is the grand old maple tree in the background.
We have lived on this farm in Southeastern Minnesota for nearly forty-nine years now. However, to some people, the farm continues to be known as the “Bagan place.” The Bagan family moved here over one-hundred years ago. During their first years on the farm, they planted a series of trees in the front yard.
During the time that we have lived here, Bagan family descendants have recounted the story of a neighbor who stopped by with their team of horses and buggy, to pay a visit to the Bagan. In the course of the visit the team succeeded in breaking off the trunk of one of the young saplings. Undaunted, the branches of the broken sapling re-sprouted below the break in the trunk and the tree continued to grow. Today the tree has become a giant. This is the maple tree that you see in the background of the picture. The wound created by the broken trunk is still evident today.
All of the machinery currently in use on our farm is John Deere with the exception of a 1950 Massey Harris 22 (Serial No. GR 6729, pictured on the cover of the February, 1993 issue of Fastline, Minnesota edition, Vol. 6, No. 7) and a newly acquired 1951 Massey-Harris 30 (serial number 15095, the purchase of this tractor is the subject of an article in Wild Harvest May/June 1993, Vol. 10, No. 3). Though the John Deeres pictured along with the two Massey-Harris tractors are collector items, they continue to be used on the farm on a regular basis in haying season and for grain and manure hauling.
The 1958 John Deere 630 (serial number 1692) was purchased in 1972 and has been used on the farm since that time. The 1957 John Deere 620 (serial number 10752) was purchased in 1987. The 620 has dual hydraulics and an air stack. The 620 came with a 3-point hitch which can be transferred to the 630 as required.
We are very much excited about another restoration project purchased at an auction in September of 1992. It is a 1943 John Deere H (serial number 46683). It has an electric starter, lights, hydraulics, and fenders. We hope to restore it to show-room condition so that it can join our other units at shows and parades.
These tractors as well as the old maple tree are truly survivors!
Second Tractor on the Farm, But First in the Heart
Brian Wayne Wells
As published in the November/December 1993 issue of
Belt Pulley Magazine
Volume 6, Number 6
Farm tractors brought much improvement to farming; however, farming with a single tractor was beginning to have its shortcomings by the mid-1950’s. As witness of this, I have a picture that I took in the summer of 1958. Although this picture seems to be a nondescript picture of our 1950 Farmall M powering the John Deere grain elevator during the oat harvest of July, 1958, it takes on more significance with a little explanation. The picture embodies many of the experiences of single-tractor farming.
The 1950 Farmall M bearing the Serial No. 218137 was our only tractor. My Dad had purchased it new in 1950. He traded a 1942 Farmall H to get the M. Later, he would begin to speculate that he should have kept the H as a second tractor; however, the need for a second tractor did not appear as crucial in 1950 as it would in later years as this picture shows. In this picture, the M had just returned from the field where it had spent the morning pulling the Massey-Harris Clipper combine. From about mid-morning (when the dew was gone and the windrows dry) until noon the combine could fill our two wagons. The M was then unhitched from the combine and hitched to the wagons which were brought to the building site for unloading. This was planned so that the family could then have dinner and not waste time. Nonetheless, after unloading the wagons, it would be well into the afternoon before the combine would be started in the field again.
The M had to be unhitched from the wagon and connected to the elevator, unconnected from the elevator and re-hitched to the empty wagon to pull it out of the way, and then hitched to the next wagon. That wagon was then pulled up to the elevator and blocked so that the wagon would not roll when unhitched. Then the tractor was once again connected to the elevator. Additionally, all of our wagons were equipped either with hydraulic lifts under the box or fitted to use a home-made “A-frame” jack which would be placed at the front of the wagon. This A-frame jack, which Dad welded himself, would be fitted with a hydraulic cylinder borrowed from M’s four-row cultivator. The leg of this A-frame jack can be seen in the foreground of the picture with the John Deere elevator. It is on the extreme left, leaning up against the granary which is to the left of the picture.
While running the elevator, the M would also be connected by long hydraulic hoses to the wagon or to the A-frame jack. Indeed, the wagon in this picture is connected in this manner to the M, but the hoses cannot be seen. Because we lived close to my mother’s family, Howard Hanks, we could occasionally borrow their Massey-Harris 22 or Massey-Harris 44. (This is the same 44 that is described in the July/August 1993 issue of The Belt Pulley Vol. 6, No. 4. The 22 is the same tractor that was pictured on the cover of the February issue of the Minnesota Edition of Fastline parts magazine, Vol. 6, No. 7, and is also pictured in the May/June issue of Wild Harvest: Massey Collectors News Vol. 10, No. 3.) Both of these tractors had the Massey-Harris Depth-O-Matic hydraulic system and had the hydraulic bulkhead quick couplers which were compatible with the connections on our wagons. However, these tractors were busy on the Hanks farm and were not always available to us. Continue reading The 1941 Farmall Model B→
As published in the September/October 1993 issue of
Belt Pulley Magazine, Volume6, Number 5
It has come to my attention that some researchers and collectors of antique tractor information have occasionally been denied access to information that is held in various collections around the country. Some of these collections are held in publicly funded institutions. When there is a denial of access to public information held in institutions which are even partially funded by the federal or state government, the law provides a remedy in the form of the Freedom of Information Act.
To clarify this legal situation for my fellow antique tractor enthusiasts, I thought it appropriate to share some of my experiences with lawsuits brought under Freedom of Information Acts of the various states for release of public records. For an analysis of representative samples of state Freedom of Information Acts, I have randomly selected the state laws of Iowa and Wisconsin. Although, there are some differences between the laws of the various states with regard to freedom of information law, these two states are representative of the majority of states in the area of freedom of information.
Both Iowa and Wisconsin declare that the policy of the state is to allow the greatest possible access to all public documents. This is a recognition that public documents belong to the public, and that institutions in possession of the documents are merely “custodians” of the documents. The public’s access to public documents is to be unrestricted, except for the limitations imposed by the state statutes and common law. Both Iowa and Wisconsin statutes provide exceptions to the law for police records of ongoing investigations and trade secrets of corporations. Wisconsin also exempts computer programs from their Freedom of Information Act. Iowa attempts to go much farther and extends the list of exemptions to include records of appraisals of private property, industrial information on a company with whom the state is negotiating, information concerning the procedures used to control disturbances in prisons and records of purchases of liquor at state-operated liquor stores. The Iowa law even seeks to exempt library records containing information on material which has been requested or checked out by patrons of the library. Iowa may appear to have included so many exemptions to the law that the exemptions are the rule rather than the law itself. Indeed, in the exemption of communications contained in public records without the permission of the person making the communication and in exemption of governmental reports which would give advantage to competitors, the whole intent of the law seems to have been reversed. Suddenly there appears to be more public records exempted from public inspection than are available to the public. This is a deception, however, because the statutes of Iowa have been greatly modified by court decisions and the opinions of the Iowa Attorney General. The result is that Iowa is not much different from Wisconsin or other states with a strong law in favor of researchers of public documents.
In summary, researchers of antique tractors seeking to look at and copy records held in public institutions should not be put off by over-zealous public librarians who attempt to deny him/her access to the records based on exemptions in the statutes. Chances are strong that the librarian does not know the law well enough to understand the full impact (or lack of impact) of these exemptions. Even if the librarian has some understanding of the statutes, chances are they have not watched the effect of court decisions on the exemptions in the statutes.
In case this article seems to be too critical of public librarians, I should mention that this article also draws heavily from the research I conducted while employed in Mississippi at the Office of the Secretary of State as a defender of the right of public officials to deny public access to certain records.
In that case, the Mississippi Republican Party sued the Mississippi State Commission of Public Safety for “access” to the lists of all drivers license records held by the State. The lawsuit was brought to court under the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983. This is Mississippi’s Freedom of Information Act. At that time I was attempting to support the position of the Department of Public Safety and to prevent the “access” or release of driver’s license records. We felt that the state had a duty to the people who held driver’s licenses to protect their addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers (Mississippi uses the Social Security number as the license number), blood type and other information that may appear on the driver’s license records from people who may use this information for fraudulent purposes. Although the Republican Party merely wanted the lists to send out political information, their legal position in court was that “anyone” should be able to have this information. We felt this position was extreme and would be open to abuse.
To make a long story short, the State of Mississippi lost that case and had to provide a copy of all driver’s license records to the Republican Party. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the information was a “public record” within the meaning of the Freedom of Information Act and therefore the public must be granted access to the information. If the State of Mississippi was forced to allow access to addresses and other current and personal information contained on driver’s licenses, consider how strong the claim of the researcher or antique tractor collector would be when he/she attempts to look at or copy old tractor pictures, documents and other information on old tractors which contains no current personal information. There is no reasonable way that the exemptions contained in either the Iowa, Wisconsin or Mississippi law can be applied to tractor advertising, pictures, serial numbers, etc., held in public archives and libraries that antique tractor enthusiasts would be interested in reading and copying.
The sole responsibility of the custodian of records to which the public has a right of access is the “preservation” of those records. To this end, the custodian may adopt rules to prevent damage or disorganization of the records; however, these rules may not be used to deny public access to those records. In both Iowa and Wisconsin, the right of public access includes the right to obtain a copy of the records. Such copying may be done by the custodian or under the supervision of the custodian to prevent damage or disorganization. However, if the copying is to be done by the custodian, the quality of the copies of documents, pictures and audio or video tape provided by the custodian is to be as good as possible.
The custodians of the documents are allowed to charge a fee for their expenses involved in locating, preparing and copying of public records. If copies are requested by mail, the custodian may charge shipping or mailing fees for sending the copies to the “requester.” However, the fees must be no more than that amount that is “actual, necessary and directly incurred by the custodian in providing access or copies of the records to the public.”
Sometimes researchers will be denied access on a theory of “invasion of privacy.” This should not be confused with the United States Constitutional right of privacy; rather, this is a common law cause of action against an individual for some injury caused by the act of another. This theory depends solely on the question “What are the damages?” If there exists no damages which a court of law will recognize, then there exists no case under the “right of privacy.” Generally, this applies only to pictures and images. If a researcher found a picture of a person taken inside a mental institution and decided to publish the picture, there would be damage to the person pictured and the person would then have a good case for invasion of privacy against the researcher. Likewise, the right of privacy would protect Roy Rogers or any other famous person who makes their living from their own popularity and selling images of themselves.
Obviously, these two facets of the right of privacy cannot be applied to any literature, pictures or movies which have been published by farm equipment manufacturers. There is no damage to any person pictured, because in the majority of instances the person pictured is not famous enough to be injured by any subsequent publication. Furthermore, antique tractor enthusiasts are interested in the machinery pictured and not the persons. The pictures, if found in the collection of a corporation, would probably indicate that the pictures never belonged to the person in the first place; barring exceptional circumstances, the pictures belonged to the corporation.
This right of privacy should not be confused with copyright law. The United States Copyright Law will provide some additional protection to the authors of written material and audio or video tapes if they register the material with the Copyright Office. In most cases the advertising materials sought by antique tractor enthusiasts were never copyrighted in the first place, because the advertising value of the literature would be diminished by copyrighting the materials. Copyrights are expensive, need to be maintained and cannot be transferred. Any material that was transferred to a public library will fall outside the copyright protection.
The right of access to public documents is also the right to publish those documents. Restriction of the right of access to public records cannot be based on the “use” to which the “requester” wishes to put the documents. Wisconsin goes further and states that “no showing of interest is required as a prerequisite to inspection.” The librarian cannot even ask the researcher the purpose intended for the materials.
Both Iowa and Wisconsin law provide remedies for the researcher if he/she is denied access and copies of any public records. The remedy is called mandamus. Mandamus is a court action which orders a public official to perform an act. In this case, mandamus means that the court would order the librarian to provide access to the materials.
Wisconsin provides that the researcher may request that the Wisconsin Attorney General or the appropriate district attorney if the library is a county-funded library, bring the action for mandamus to court. Iowa allows for the Iowa Attorney General or any county attorney to bring an action for mandamus. This infers that Iowa has the same protection as Wisconsin, since the Attorney General or county attorney would be acting on behalf of someone who was denied access to public records. This saves the researcher from having to go through the initial expense of hiring a lawyer to bring the action in court. I say “initial” because both states allow courts to order the custodian of the records to pay the researcher’s attorney’s fees and legal expenses, if the researcher is successful in court.
In conclusion, researchers have some very strong laws on their side when they are denied access to public documents. I hope that this information will be of assistance to all the antique tractor researchers who have trouble getting information from publicly funded sources.
”Information” or “public record” is defined as any writing, document, tape recording, printing, picture, movie or other data stored in any other form. IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.1 (West 1992); WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.32(2) (West, 1992).
The gift of records to an institution is defined as “public support” given to the institution; therefore, the term “publicly supported institutions” will also include any institution outside the government which holds governmental records as well as any institution which receives even part of its funding from the state government or its subdivisions (county). Consequently, all State and County Historical Museums and Societies are included as well as libraries and archives of the state or county.
IOWA CODE ANN §§ 22.1 to 22.14 (West 1992).
WIS. STAT. ANN. §§ 19.21 to 19.42 (West 1992).
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.2 (West 1992).
WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.31 (West 1992).
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.1; WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.33.
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.7(5) (West 1992); WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.36(2) (West 1992).
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.7(3) (West 1992); WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.36(5) (West 1992).
WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.36(4) (West 1992).
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.7(7) (West 1992).
 § 22.7(8).
 § 22.7(15).
 § 22.7(25).
Id. at § 22.7(13).
Id. at § 22.7(18)(a).
Id. at § 22.7(6).
KMEG Television, Inc. v. Iowa State Bd. of Regents, 440 N.W.2d 382 (Iowa 1989); Des Moines Independent Community School Dist. Public Records v. Des Moines Register and Tribune Co., 487 N.W.2d 666 (Iowa 1992); Shannon by Shannon v. Hansen, 469 N.W.2d 412 (Iowa 1991); Head v. Colloton, 331 N.W.2d 870 (Iowa 1983); Op. Att’y Gen. (Branstad) Aug. 24, 1990; Op. Att’y Gen. (King) March 18, 1976.
Roberts v. Mississippi Republican Party State Executive Committee, 465 So.2d 1050 (Miss. 1985).
MISSISSIPPI CODE ANN. §§ 25-61-1 to 25-61-17.
Roberts, 465 So.2d at 1054.
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.3 (West 1992) and WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.35(a),(b) and (f) (West 1992).
WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.3
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.2(1) (West 1992) and WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.35(1) (West 1992).
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.3 (West 1992); WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.35(1) (West 1992).
WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.35(b)(d) and (f) (West, 1992).
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.3 (West 1992); WIS. STAT. ANN. §19.35(3) (West 1992).
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.3 (West 1992); Op. Att’y Gen. (Stork) Aug. 13, 1981; WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.35(3)(a) (West 1992); Op. Att’y Gen. Sept. 16, 1983.
Howard v. Des Moines Register and Tribune Co., 283 N.W.2d 289 (Iowa 1979).
Op. Att’y Gen., November 8, 1977.
IOWA CODE ANN. § 22.5 (1992); WIS. STAT. ANN. § 19.37(1) (1992).
with Introduction and Remarks by Brian Wayne Wells
as published in the July/August 1993 issue of
Belt Pulley Magazine
My uncle, Fred J. Hanks farms in southern Minnesota. He has restored numerous tractors. Three of these restoration projects, a John Deere 620, a John Deere 630 and a John Deere model H were referred to in a magazine article he wrote for Green Magazine (Volume 9, No. , January, 1993, page 27.). Another restoration project, a Massey-Harris 30 will be featured iin an upcoming issue of Wild Harvest. Additionally, another project a 1950 Massey-Harris 22 was featured on the cover of a recent Minnesota Edition of Fastline magazine, (Volume 6, Issue 7, February 1993). The Massey-Harris 22 was one of two Masseys that used to share work with a John Deere model D on the Hanks farm from 1951 until 1966. The other Massey, besides the model 22 was a 1951 Massey-Harris 44 which is pictured herein.
I have fond memories of the the 44 from my childhood. However, as this article will relate, my youth removed me from the harsh realities of the situation. The following information was provided by me Uncle Fred and gathered in conversations in August 1992 and April of 1993.
The Massey-Harris 44 was selected after a comparison with similar row-crop tractors available from any of the five (5) tractor dealerships doing business in the small town of Leroy, Minnesota in 1951 (1950 pop. 730). The Seese and Oksanen Implement dealership sold International Harvester Farmall tractors, the Farmers Co-operative operated the John Deere dealership, the Regan Ford car dealership also sold Ford tractors, the LeRoy Equipment Company owned by the partnership of Merle Krinke and Duane Wetter sold Case tractor, and by 1951 Stub Orke had left the Regan Ford dealership to establish a new Massey-Harris dealership. The Massey Harris 44 had the highest horsepower rating at the PTO shaft of any the other comparable tractors from the other four dealerships in town. This is established in C. H. Wendel’s Nebraska Tractor Tests (1985) which shows that the Massey Harris model 44 delivered 40 hp. to the PTO shaft (Nebraska Test 389 ); while the Case model DC delivered 32.94 hp. to the PTO shaft (Nebraska Tests 340); the Farmall model M delivered 33.46 hp. to the PTO shaft (Nebraska Test 328 ); and the John Deere model A delivered 33.82 hp. to the PTO shaft (Nebraska Test 384]).
Based on this information we made the decision in 1951 to trade our 1942 steel wheeled Farmall model H in to the Stub Orke Massey-Harris dealership on the purchase of a new Massey-Harris 44. Later, we found the horsepower developed by the engine in the tractor would not transfer to the rear wheels as pulling power, We found that the to comparable m are 44 was include of 00° longitude meridian line runs north and south over the states of North Dakota, light in the rear end and, thus, too heavy in the front. Additionally, the PTO shaft, itself, was located too high on the rear end of the tractor to be convenient for most applications. Continue reading Our Problematic Massey Harris 44→
Belt Pulley Magazine Articles by Brian Wayne Wells