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Farmall F-12 & Allis Chalmers U

I started driving an F-12 62 years ago, when I was ten. Out of a story about myself:. . . . . . . . . That was the year I learned to drive the tractor, a Farmall F-12. By todayís standards, itís not much bigger than some lawn tractors but it was big to me. I had to 'lay-by' around 70 acres of corn. An explanation of 'laying by' is the final cultivating of a field of corn. That is a story in itself. I wasnít big enough to crank the tractor so Dad had to get out of (sick) bed or Mom had to help me get it started. Of course, it had no power steering or power lifts and me being small for my age, I had all I could handle. (I didnít start growing until about the tenth grade. ) I can see it in my mind right now as clear as if it happened yesterday. I would come to the end of the row, stop, put it in neutral, stand up and one side at a time, pull the plow up. Then I sat down, put it in gear, turned around and lined up with the next rows. Then I would stop again, put it in neutral, and stand up to put the plow back in the ground. I wasnít big enough to put it in the ground with the tractor moving forward (which would have helped pull it down for me) so I had to over-power the springs that held it down. To do this, I would put a foot on the upper part of the gas tank to brace myself and using both hands pulled the lever back to the notch I wanted. Then I moved to the other side and did the same thing. Then the hard part was over and I could put the tractor in gear and drive to the other end of the row where I had to do the same thing over. Mom said that I looked like a gnat sitting on that tractor. Again, I never felt 'put upon'. I was just a little boy having the time of his life driving the tractor all by himself. A funny story I might relate. Dad bought a bigger tractor, an Allis Chalmers 'U', a big four wheel, steel wheeler. I was maybe twelve or thirteen at the time but it too, had to be cranked by hand. I couldnít crank it. The engine exhaust went straight up and of course there was no muffler. We put a tin can on the exhaust to keep the rain out when not in use. Well, Dad was trying to start the darned thing and I was standing across the fence in the pasture waiting for him. It wouldnít start and he was getting madder by the minute. Finally it gave a big cough and the can we forgot to take off went about thirty feet into the air and came down right on his head. I was watching this but didnít dare to laugh. That made him mad enough that he spun that crank, a feat Hercules couldnít have done. That started it. He jumped on and was going to go a round to warm it up for me. He was still mad so he jerked the clutch which popped the safety spring on the hitch which of course left him going forward with the plow still setting there. The trip rope was tied to the tractor seat so it broke and flipped up smacking him on the side of the head. He backed up and re-hooked to the plow, eased the clutch in, moved forward and the plow came out of the ground. The trip rope, even though it had broken, had dropped the lift pawl into the plow wheel. Now. . . . picture me standing on the other side of that fence watching all of this and not daring to laugh. Still laughing, Glenn

Glenn Pilcher, ks, entered 2003-02-19
My Email Address: Not Displayed

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