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The Little A-Cs: Chapter 1

This book was written exclusively for Yesterday's Tractors Magazine. It is not published in any physical form but only available on this site. No part of this text may be used in any form other than as provided electronically from www.yesterdaystractors.com without express written consent of Yesterday's Tractors. Copyright 1996-1998.

View the table of contents.

1. Introduction

We have restored tractors from this series and have several unrestored models sitting around the barn yard. Our enjoyment these machines comes not from their uniqueness, rarity, nor collectability, of which there is little, but rather how diverse the models and variants were. It goes without saying that we also just enjoy the history and mystique of tractors and this series provides a very convenient breed to express that enjoyment. Big enough to be tractors, but small enough that nearly everyone feels comfortable driving them, and lastly simple enough that most folks dont mind putting a wrench to them now and then. They make both inexpensive toys and great low-end workhorses.

1937 Perspective

For some of us growing up in the mid to late 1900s, it is valuable to consider what the world was like in 1937 when tractors such as these were built. Though the move from a predominantly agricultural society had begun, there were still many millions of small farms that were working farms providing the family food and at least a partial income for their operators. Tractors had been completely integrated into all large scale farming operations but were far too expensive for the majority of farms. Walking through the 1937 countryside, you would still likely see mostly horse teams and farmers working the land together.

This backdrop would provide an excellent market for good, cheap, and small tractors for the first company to produce one.

Today's Perspective

Tractors are toys to some and a means of getting back to the land for others. The move back to the land from the suburbs is one factor that has brought many of the older tractors back to life. A modern small tractor that would be useful on a hobby farm or subsistance homestead might run $15,000.00. This tractor might be used to produce $1,000.00 worth of produce a year. During the course of the 15 years it would take to amortize it, it will have broken down several times with the cost of parts and repair ever pushing it's amortization ever further out. It is no wonder that people look so closely at the older overbuilt machines of the 40s, 50s, and 60s as a viable alternative. Paying $500 for purchase and $500 for parts nets the modern small farmer a very usable and economical tractor.

Competing with the small working farm for the older tractor is the tractor enthusiast or hobbyist. These individuals are interested in preserving history through the restoration and show of these machines. The restoration of old tractors has the same lure that having an antique wagon wheel has but is more active and exciting. Going to a tractor show to view history is exciting and worthwhile. Too often, the trail of how things used to be grows cold before the interest is there to document and preserve. Fortunately with tractors this is not the case.

If you are reading this book, you likely fall into one of these categories.

Prev Page  Table of Contents   Next Page
1. Introduction
2. What are they?
3. History in Brief
4. Competing Tractors
5. Appearance
6. Identifying Numbers
7. Similarities and Differences
8. Cosmetics: What did they really look like?
9. Tips, Tricks and Maintenance
10. Using the Little Allis'
11. Tune-up Data, Quantities, and Specifications

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Today's Featured Article - Self-Starting Tractor - McCormick 10-20 - by Francis J. Robinson. I remember it very clearly even though it was almost 50 years ago and I was only about seven years old. My Dad had purchased a new Ford-Ferguson tractor and basic set of implements when he started farming just about the beginning of W.W.II. It was considered a pretty nice outfit for their 70 acre central Indiana grain and livestock farm. Dad spent several years during the war testing aircraft engines at Allison Engineering in Indianapolis working seven days a week on a twelve hour night sh ... [Read Article]

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