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Farmall & IHC Tractors Discussion Forum
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Re: First IH or Farmall

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01-17-2013 12:42:30

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Might's well add something, if only to reminisce. Started "driving" my father's '32 Chevrolet 1-1/2 ton in the fields when I was 7, in 1938. Couldn't reach the pedals, but could steer in the fields picking up hay with the loader. Somebody jumped on the running boards to reach a foot in to step on the clutch! Then "graduated" to my father's almost-new '38 F-12 on rubber. Same story. I was "bound, bent and billy-be-damned" to drive (that's the way my father put it). In a year or so, I could slide down and reach the pedals, and after that I couldn't be kept off the tractors. I even helped the hired man shovel out the barn by hand, just so I could go spread the manure. One time, there was snow on the ground and I didn't see a hole made by a washed-out underdrain. Naturally, I was going full-bore, like most engine-happy kids, I guess. Bam! Front wheels in the hole and the entire stalk just snapped off. Lucky I didn't get thrown off, because the front of the tractor dropped like a rock and skidded along until it stalled.I went back to the barn and said to my father, in a very quiet voice, "I broke the front wheels off the tractor." He never said a word, but the next afternoon, I came home to school to find a new stalk on the tractor. My grandfather had a 30-something F-12 on full-steel, and I got to drive that in the summer, disking up potato fields after the harvest. What a difference rubber tires make! A neighbor of ours had had a steel-wheeled F-12, and once borrowed ours (mostly, I think, because I had the nerve to go borrow his "Regular" a couple of times, just to get to drive a "big tractor"--that's another obsession of tractor nuts, I suppose).The neighbor was amazed at what our '12 could do. We pulled a 2-12 Little Genius in heavy sod in second, with no trouble. A low-compression H my father bought later wouldn"t do much better. "Graduated" at the age of 10 to our steel-wheeled 10-20. Music from those big cylinders--at a 1000 rpm, you could almost count the explosions. A hard-steering beast, but I loved it. We used it for 22 years, with no trouble and very little maintenance. The ride on pointed lugs on a gravel road was so awful that you couldn't stand to go much faster than a low idle in second gear, but on sod or plowed ground, it wasn't too bad. For its day, it had pretty good operator comfort--a platform, room for the feet, steering wheel in a comfortable position, good visibility. Other tractors used over the years: An F-20, two H's, a Super M, an A and a B, a Ford 2N, and an Oliver H-P Row-Crop (about 1930--now THAT was a real beast to steer). Had no real use for farm tractors for years, but three years ago I noticed a "need" for a tractor to cut a good-sized plot of grass. Saw a Ford 1100, complete with a nice King Cutter rear-mounted deck. Ran great, still does. It's tiny, but it's definitely a real tractor, with independent hydraulics, PTO, 10-speeds forward. PTO is not independent, so the tractor is a little behind the times, but so am I and I don't mind. Once a week, it let's me play farmer, just enough to satisfy the craving to drive a tractor again. My wife doesn"t quite understand, but she smiles tolerantly. I"m sure you folks understand.Right?
Or maybe I shouldn't talk about Fords here?

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IH fan

01-18-2013 08:39:40

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 Re: First IH or Farmall in reply to LenNH, 01-17-2013 12:42:30  
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My wife is always amazed at when she hears me have a conversation with another farm raised cousin or friend, that we date things according to what tractor we had at the time... seems normal to me.

I have often thought of making a list of the tractors I have driven... don't know what I'd do with it, but might be a fun exercize. Between Dad, Grandpa, uncles, neighbors, friends, my job for 25 years in the engineering department of a hydraulics manufacturer and farmers I worked for, it could be quite a list... and not to forget my own two.

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01-19-2013 11:57:57

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 Re: First IH or Farmall in reply to IH fan, 01-18-2013 08:39:40  
By all means, MAKE that list! I sometimes just sit down at the computer and write a couple of pages about the different tractors I've used. Somebody will discover them after I'm gone, I suppose, and wonder what was wrong with me. I think it's good for the soul to bring back the memories. I would like to encourage short "essays" here (there are no teachers giving grades, so you can write as you please!). Describe what a tractor was like in real use on the farm. Younger folks who collect the old stuff may not have much experience in their use and might like to know what an old tractor was like to use, what it's strengths and weaknesses were, how comfortable it was to ride all day, how convenient it was to add equipment (like cultivators) to it, how it performed under load. For example, if you compare an H to an F-20: They were supposed to be equivalent, but they performed very differently--the H had a small engine which ran relatively fast, AND it didn't have much torque. The '20 had a big, slow-turning engine and a lot of torque, so it could be pulled down and still not stall. Comfort? The H felt like a car by comparison, at least back then. Today, it might seem primitive, although to us old goats who spent hours, days and weeks on that stuff, any of the old tractors would seem perfectly natural to hop right on and ride away into the sunset.
WRITE 'EM UP, GUYS! (Ladies with tractor stories are welcome, too!).
One thing I think would make a nice legacy for our children and grandchildren: None of mine had anything to do with farming and really don't know much about farm life back when you got your water from a handpump or a windmill, chopped wood to keep the kitchen warm in the winter, milked cows by hand, cultivated corn with horses, used a hayloader and then took the hay to the barn to be pulled up with a "hayfork." Many of us could go on and on (I might). How about cutting corn green to take to the silo to be chopped up by a Papek run by a big flat belt turned by a roaring 10-20? How about harvesting wheat with a binder, stacking the sheaves, later taking it to the barn to feed into a thesher that shook and vibrated and sounded like a jet plane getting ready to take off? How about describing all the things farm families did when cash was scarce, but with ingenuity and initiative, you could do a lot of things yourself and not spend any money (big gardens and orchards + canning, chickens for meat and eggs, + selling some of the eggs, doing your own maintenance on cars, trucks and tractors. I hope to pass some of this along to my family. Have started this, so it's just past the "I'll do that someday" stage)

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