I find, buy (and sometimes sell), examine, enjoy, research, and study old farm equipment for a hobby. Below are a few of my interests.
Ever think about where a head of cabbage comes from? Now think about where it came from in 1920.
The machines that made truck farming, like other types of farming, easier and more profitable are largely overlooked by "real" tractor people and historians, yet they none-the-less had a dramatic effect on the food production activities and capabilities of the farmers from our grandfathers' time. It is a love of history, a constraint of finances, and a joy in ancient mechanical things that has prompted me to explore this world of the walking tractor.
I have chosen to focus my research on a group of companies which were controlled more or less by one man, Harold L. Downing. If you happen to be a relative of this fellow, I surely would appreciate hearing from you.
In brief, then, here is some data on the topic at hand:
There were 5 companies associated with the owners of the Standard Engine Company. All of them were located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some of them had extension offices in New York or Philadelphia. They were
American Farm Machinery Company
Standard Engine Company
Walsh Tractor Company
Allied Motors Corporation, and
Implement Finance Company.
The first four built garden tractors at one time or another over a period of 32 years, from 1920 to 1952.
While researching the Syndicate tractors and companies, I also ran across a good bit about the history of garden tractors in general.† Hereís a thumbnail sketch of the Beeman story.† The story and tractor were so interesting to me that I went out and found a Beeman to buy for restoration.† Itís quite a machine
Ed Beeman patented and produced a walking tractor when walking tractors weren't cool. His patents range back to 1915, but he didn't have a tractor in production for some time. In fact, he ended up contracting with Gilson for the production of the first 5100 or so Beeman tractors. You can see a picture of a later style Beeman on an advertising booklet here.
Other items you may find useful:
A very short and likely inaccurate History of the Beeman Company.†††††††††††††††††††
Some basic commentary on the Beeman Design.
Here is† a link to a work in progress; the Beeman Setting Up manual.†
Another collector has acquired an interesting tiller. This tiller does not use rotating tines, but rather digs rather like a group of little shovels. You can see some pictures of it here. This machine is called a "Dig-A-Tiller".
I've a healthy interest in cream separators, and currently have a De Laval No. 10 hand powered unit (my grandfathers) under restoration. I'll buy one for re-sale when a good serviceable unit is available (which is pretty frequently). If you need one, e-mail me.
Click here for a page of cream separators and misc. info on them.
I picked this up at a sale for restoration. A lot of this sort of thing is being sold at auction in my area. If you need antique equipment, let me know and I'll keep an eye peeled for what you need.
If anyone has a book on this mower, I'd like to get a copy.
I gave my Pop a 1942 Farmall H for Christmas this year. Here are two pictures of him and it on Christmas day. On delivery, the tractor was loose but completely dead. 3 of 4 tires were good. Since then a new front tire has been installed, the engine's magneto repaired, the carburetor rebuilt, all fluids changed, the belts changed, generator rebuilt, starter rebuilt, a muffler installed, and valves adjusted. The tractor runs again, and does not seem to have any major problems.
I enjoy the time we spend working on this tractor. My Dad bought an H as a young man soon after he moved to Missouri (which was just after he married my Mom...). I grew up on that H running a hay rake and other farm chores. While my first love for the farm tractors has to be my Grandfathers JD 50, I do have a love-hate relationship with that old H. It is still in daily use on the farm.
∑ Haying in the ozarks.
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