My dad, Lawrence, bought this tractor in the late 1940's. He paid $500 for it used from his brother Merlin. A lookup of the serial number #82129 shows the tractor was made in 1942. There was no production in 1943 - I would assume because of WWII. A's were made from 1939-1947. It has a 4 cylinder engine and develops about 18 horsepower.
He always said this was the tractor that chased the horse off the farm - and he said that happily cause he was none-too-fond of horses. See, having been born in 1917, he grew up using horses to farm with and was glad to get away from them.
Now, with Dad's passing in 2002 and Mom in 2003, I wanted to make sure the tractor stayed in the family. And it will, in my possession.
Lawrence and Catherine Lucas on the 'A' around 1948.
Grace and I were married on August 18, 2006. Our carriage ride was on the "A". We had a lot of fun!!
One of the many chores on our farm for this tractor was pulling our Allis-Chalmers Model 66 All Crop Harvester pull-type combine and it did a fine job of it. It had a 60 inch sickle-bar and cylinder. Many of these were powered by a power-take-off (PTO) from the tractor. The Farmall A didn't have enough horses to do this. Ours was powered by an on-board Wisconsin 4 cyl engine. These engines always ran well and had a unique sound all their own. The engine was mounted on the drawbar right next to the pickup reel.
Sometimes you will still find these Wisconsin engines powering rides at county fairs. Usually they are used to run the 'Scrambler' ride. I can always hear one running as soon as I get to the fair. I have looked far and wide for a photo of one of these engines to no avail. If you have one, I would love to post it here - with your permission. I found one running the Scrambler ride at the 2005 Ottawa County Fair (without my camera). I had a nice talk with the man running the ride about the engine. Gosh, it was good to hear one still running.
The 'A' (as we always so lovingly called it) was equipped with a PTO and a belt pulley. We used to belt pulley with one of those flat wide belts that were about 6" wide to run our buzz saw. Dad made many trips to sawmills and brought back slab wood which we would then buzz up into pieces short enough to fit in the stove.
Dad's nephew, Burr Morlock, remembers that a neighboring farmer, Alfred Leking borrowed the "A" once to pull a wagon load of grain to the elevator in Lemoyne, Ohio. This was probably in the 1950-60's. Apparently, during the trip, the front end of the tractor was struck by a car and some work was needed to put it back together. I can see no evidence of this looking at the tractor so they must have replaced any parts that were bent or broken.
Dad had the Oak Harbor High School Vo-Ag shop repaint the 'A' around 1990. They also applied new decals. This really spruced up the tired looking old gal.
Now the "A" has a new home on our farm. It's good to have it home.
John and Grace on the 'A' - 2004.
When I finally got the tractor to our new farm, it was running bad. I tried adding new gas and lead substitute to the gas to no avail. I knew this tractor could, and should, run alot better than it was. A tuneup was in order. I made a trip to the local Case tractor dealership and told them what I had. He immediately went and started opening drawers and pulling parts that I needed. This is a 60 year old tractor and most parts are readily available - try asking your auto dealer for parts for your 60 year old car. The man behind the counter mentioned that if these parts didn't look right when I started tearing into it, that my 'A' probably had a mag (magneto). Some of the A's had one. Sure enough, mine does. So another trip back was in order and nearly all the parts had to be exchanged. Different distributor cap, points, condenser, plus a new cap for the mag. I didn't like the wires he gave me because they had angled boots that fit over the spark plugs. The original were straight boots. He said they were all angled now days, but I returned them anyway. I did find the ones I wanted on eBay (with real wire), along with a new shift knob. Also won an auction for a governor that had an arm that I needed that broke.
I really had no idea what I was doing, but I had bought a CD on eBay that contained the owners, parts, and service manual. It was a help but I still ended up having Grace's dad come over and help me get things lined up for timing the mag. When we finally did, it took off as soon as I hit the starter!
I also have all three lights working now too. Lights were an option, or add-on. This A's always had them. These are special 6 volt bulbs that the dealer also carried.
THE OIL & ALCOHOL QUESTION
Dad always used 'non-detergent' motor oil in our older tractors. Dad always pronounced it 'nun-detergent'. The oil I use today is called 'low ash' oil and is also probaby non-detergent. Yes, it is very important to use the correct oil in these older engines.
There was a question as to using anti-freeze in the radiator. Dad always said that regular anti-freeze would eat-up the seals and ruin the engine. He always drained the water in the winter and, if we needed to run it in the winter, would buy alcohol and fill it with that. Of course, the alcohol would have to be drained in the spring because it was not effective in cooling the engine in warmer weather. I am told that today's anti-freezes are not as corrosive as those from years ago and are OK to run in the radiator. I have regular anti-freeze in it right now and have not had any problems.
FORDSON SNOW-MOTOR TRACTOR
This was so amazing I just had to embed the code here for others to see. But how come we don't have one of these in the barn?? A great concept vehicle! The guy driving is having way too much fun.