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Me and the WD

Back in 1948, at age 15, I worked as a hired hand on a friend of my parents 150 acre dairy in North Eastern Ohio. (Now all boxy houses on that good land) The folks I worked for were a small family which consisted of a married son age 35, his wife, father and mother. The son of course ran the farm. Father was bed ridden. Until 1948 the farming was done with horses, along with his brother on the neighboring farm, also with horses. In 1948 I was hired at 50 a week, milk after school, all day work on weekends and all summer. When I started the horses were gone, replaced by a brand new Allis Chalmers WD, in 1948 the first year of mfr for the WD. Also were new AC implements ( snap coupler not yet available). Roto Baler, side discharge rake, John Deere manure spreader, AC plow, AC mounted cultivators, sickle mower and some other implements that were converted from horse drawn. Neighbor had an AC combine and did our grain for us. We milked 30 Holsteins, raised calves, raised 200 laying hens and all the feed was grown on the farm. We grew field corn, silo corn, wheat, oats, alfalfa and timothy and clover hay, potatoes for sale and also sold wheat and oats as well as milk and eggs. A short time after getting the WD the owner bought a small used John Deere Model H for pulling wagons etc. Nice little utility tractor, I can still hear that 2cyl chugging along. At that time we still used a field binder for the silo corn. Thus the bundles were loaded by hand on to the wagons and brought to the barn to toss into the chopper/blower. At harvest time three or four neighboring farmers would all get together and help one another. (Oh boy!, The great dinners the ladies cooked!) One of my most vivid memories with the WD was when we belted it to the chopper/blower to fill the silo. A couple of us younger guys would see if we could toss enough green corn bundles into the chopper blower fast enough to stall the WD. Never happened. That governor would open wide open, the exhaust manifold and muffler would glow cherry red and she would roar like a demon but never stall. What we did manage to do however was plug the blower pipe which required the guilty one to shut down, climb the silo, unplug the pipe and climb down all the while holding up a bunch of hard working men. I will always remember the roar of that WD wide open and lugging hard! Another great memory was plowing alfalfa with a 2/14 mounted plow. The WD would again work wide open in 2nd gear but never stall. Often had the front wheels off the ground which meant steering with the brakes (narrow front) for a moment. That tractor just never gave up! We had a lot of deep stone in the fields then which would work up in the freezing/thawing of winter. Spring plowing the plow would hook those things, WD would raise up, spin the wheels but never stall. Working in the dusk of evening I often saw a cherry red manifold on her. I worked there until age 21 when I had to enter the military service. In 1948 I was discharged and went back to the farm to help in summer. By then he had a WD45 and snap couplers but I never saw any power difference between the WD and the 45. Around 1960 the owner became ill and sold out to a developer who quickly razed the whole place. That farm had three bank barns over 200 years old in the same family. The barns were built with hand hewn beams and wooden pegs. Ditto the spring house, milk house, corn cribs and others. We also had a metal equipment shed he had built in the early 1950's. All bulldozed down in a few days. Almost made me cry. At least I do have a few photographs of it. I also have one of me at age 15 plowing with the WD.PI don't know how many hours/days I had on the seat of that WD but I'll never forget them. I now have a 1948 WD that I have restored to new. She will pull a 3/14 in this sandy soil of Florida and never utter a groan. I tried to find the original WD I grew up on but the owner never recorded the serial number so how to find it? It was sold to a neighbor who then sold it so lost forever to me.

Dave Kolbenschlag, Fl, entered 2012-08-04
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