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Antique Steel Wheel Tractors - Old Iron Lugs and Cleats Photos and information about antique steel wheeled farm tractors. This is where to find the heaviest of Old Iron tractors.

Antique Steel Wheel Tractors - Old Iron Lugs and Cleats

Something Different


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  #1  
Old 07-19-2016, 03:35:49 PM
I like oldstuff I like oldstuff is offline
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Default Something Different

I stumbled across this on some car site I was browsing

1932 was a good year…at least, looking at it through the lens of hot rod history. Ford had just introduced what would become known to us as the ‘Deuce’ and the first mass-produced V-8 engine. We could just stop right there, but Dan Strohl over at Hemmings just enlightened us on another relatively obscure knowledge-drop that changed the world that year: tractor tires.

Yep. Tires on a tractor. See, up till ’32, nearly all tractors used in the U.S. ran medieval-looking steel wheels with cleats riveted to them for traction. Which seemed to work fairly well in the fields under low-impact and low-speed situations, but combine them with a zero-suspension setup and a tractor (and its navigator) wouldn’t last more than a few scant years without a near-complete rebuild. The thing would almost literally shake itself apart.

And then, on Labor Day in ’32 – in the midst of The Great Depression – the venerable tractor maker, Allis-Chalmers, introduced it’s Model U complete with pneumatic rubber tires at a public demonstration in Kansas to some fanfare. And the company sold exactly ONE.

So, A-C wondered, what now..smart guys? Welp, the engineers were convinced of a few things: rubber tires would make the tractor last longer, run faster (faster than the blistering 5mph most tractors were famous for), allow it to traverse paved roads and barn floors with less damage to everything and everyone involved, cause less fatigue to the farmer and cause world peace. Maybe not the last thing.

And the ad guys at Allis-Chalmers came up with an idea: land speed racing! Why not? The rubber-shorn Model U came with a 4-speed transmission, but the 4th gear was plated over for the stubborn farmer who opted out for the steel wheels. With 4th gear at the ready, the U could triple its known speed and that was a sensation ripe for the taking-advantage-of by the marketing department.

Enter the fastest guys of the era: Ab Jenkins – ”The Mormom Meteor” and an aging Barney Oldfield – the first guy to drive a mile a minute (or 60mph, if that works for you). On the back of an Allis-Chalmers tractor, Oldfield ran just over 62mph on a set of speed-rated Firestones in 1933. And then Jenkins hit 68mph on his tractor at the Bonneville Salt Flats in ’36 – claiming that the ride was akin to “…riding a frightened bison.”

Did it work? You betcha. Rubber tires would become standard equipment on tractors from that period forward, thereby changing farming and, ultimately, the way we eat. How’s that for a mind-blower?

If you’ve ever ridden atop an early tractor, with its rear wheels bolted directly to the rearend housing and its front runners clamped to a 3-piece solid steel axle, you’ll know that the only suspension comes from the air in its big, fat tires. A 35mph ride down the road between fields in high gear is a wild one and not for the faint of heart. Now, imagine going twice that fast with marginal steering, a small hand lever accelerator just below the steering wheel, the aerodynamics of a bookshelf and only a pair of questionable rear drum brakes for the other end of the endeavor. Some will try to convince you that 80mph in a flathead-powered hot rod is some sort of special experience, but we’ll submit that 65mph on a pre-war tractor trumps that shit all day long.

Like we said, Dan Strohl over at Hemmings did a great job on this and we’ll throw a piece by the Northern Automotive Restoration Club and the thread by the Allis-Chalmers forum nerds into the further-reading mix, too. Those early days of automotive innovation…what a great time to be alive…
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2016, 07:22:35 PM
Ed Bezanson Ed Bezanson is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

It has always been interesting to me that Barneys AC tractor carried the number 999. That was also the number of Henry Fords early race car built a bit earlier in the teens. Ed B
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:55:19 AM
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Russ Hamm Russ Hamm is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

Naw, i'll keep my steel wheels.....
Virgil Litke told us that he was in school back then when a truck came down the road carrying a tractor with rubber tires, he claimed to be a Fordson. He said he could hardly wait for school to end so he could go check it out
To his dissapointment, the trcuk and tractor was seen headed back down the same road before school ended. If i remember right he said the tractor was plowing in a demonstartion and slipped some on the land tire on some damp weeds and didn't show well.
Anyways, a long day plowing these days on steel can sure make you glad for rubber tires. When i was a kid i started out plowing with an IH 806 with an add -on turbo.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:44:59 AM
ronm ronm is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

I can relate to the "frightened bison" reference...when I was a kid, we had a TO-20 Fergie with the aftermarket overdrive. it would do about 25 in the high side, but I had to try kickin' her into neutral on the big hill one time. This was with a 3-point hay rake on the back, so the front end was a little light. Those tires make a different sound when you hit (30? 35?) Don't know for sure, but it was a lot faster than it went in gear... Quite a ride...
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Old 07-20-2016, 10:19:47 AM
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Russ Hamm Russ Hamm is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

My son's first tractor was an F-20 with an add-on road gear, after he got it running i was curious how it worked so i took it out on the dirt road to try it out.
I can tell you this, old tires that sat a long while, one hand brake and a tall F-20 at speed don't mix for me, i unhooked that lil puppy.
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:24:21 PM
53 Super M 53 Super M is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

Russ,
Should put foot brakes on it. My 1st F20shad the Behlen overdrive box and foot brakes and wasn't bad to handle. Howled like a banshee and leaked like a sieve though.
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Old 08-21-2019, 07:06:01 PM
casertractor casertractor is online now
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Default Re: Something Different

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkYi5aONsL4
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:25:21 AM
Duey C Duey C is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

If I may. IF I understand correctly tractor races were the thing to do/see into the 50's BEFORE the fellas thought to pull against each other.
Crouched on the foot plate of a tractor, one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the throttle going around an oval track that probably had harness racing on it last night. Does anywhere have harness racing anymore?
I've done that on the back of a Minneapolis Moline LP "U" with an empty hay rack behind. OK, on a straightaway and it was 20 or so but it sure felt good!
Du, don't study it, go back outside and get back at it.
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:55:14 AM
Oilpulled Oilpulled is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

Automobiles had pneumatic rubber tires long before 1932. Paige established a world record STOCK car speed in 1921 at Daytona.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:37:40 AM
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Default Re: Something Different

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmXUp6hsDrQ

https://www.fox19.com/2018/11/01/fat...ashing-record/
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Old 08-25-2019, 01:09:59 AM
EmersonFan EmersonFan is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

Regarding that 108 mph world record tractor:
- I wonder if they have a tractor category at the pikes peak race . . .
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:51:14 PM
Trail twister Trail twister is offline
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Talking Re: Something Different

Late in the 1940's my dad had a Massey Harris Model 20 with the todays common chevron style tires Uncle had a Allis with the factory (I'll call them Knobby tires.) installed rubber tires. They were plowing a hay field in the spring together for corn. I remember my uncle coming up in the barn yard and cutting up a logging chain so he could wrap the land side tire with several warps of chain for traction.
Even did a few wraps on the furrow side too.

Yes with traction that allis was a force in thre field againest dads Massey model 20 but with out the chains dad was passing the allis in the head lands every other round.

I also believe the early tractor racers had foot operated throttles. the drivers wanted both hands on the wheel and to be able to dethrottle quickly.


Al
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Old 08-26-2019, 03:14:07 PM
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Default Re: Something Different

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duey C View Post
If I may. IF I understand correctly tractor races were the thing to do/see into the 50's BEFORE the fellas thought to pull against each other.
Crouched on the foot plate of a tractor, one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the throttle going around an oval track that probably had harness racing on it last night. Does anywhere have harness racing anymore?
I've done that on the back of a Minneapolis Moline LP "U" with an empty hay rack behind. OK, on a straightaway and it was 20 or so but it sure felt good!
Du, don't study it, go back outside and get back at it.
Its no secret im an International guy, years ago I had just finished an H Farmall and a friend finished a U Minnie, we took them to the car wash together and on the way back we swapped tractors. Felt amazing passing the H with that U in road gear, HOLY COW!
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:26:34 PM
Kris Golden Kris Golden is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

Who said tractors weren't aerodynamic?
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:50:20 AM
Duey C Duey C is offline
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Default Re: Something Different

Thanks for that Trail! You are correct I believe. Forgot about that.
Not converting you at all Russ but allowing you to see other colors which you already do.
Felt great going fast... Zoom zoom!
Heck, if I had the H I grew up on and doing 12, I'd be a happy man there too.
The H: 4th into 5th: Throttle down and hope for less grind... pull the throttle.
That H Farmall saved my life likely, sacrificing a rear tire, with a big truck coming up the tire and me ready to jump.
BIL's whole family remembers the MM's as Maalines.
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