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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

Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep


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  #1  
Old 12-30-2011, 02:38:12 PM
Tony Thompson Tony Thompson is offline
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Default Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep


Many of you folks know how much I enjoy old tractors, your company, and Twin City items.
I have been looking for an early unmolested survivor of a
12-20 Twin City (aka baby twin cam) for seven years.
My search is over!
Acting on a tip from a friend, I was able to track down and purchase this really well kept 12-20
My search had lead me through several states, to attend auctions and look at a few tractors in private collections that may or may not have been for sale. I even spent time on the phone and computer with two perspective sellers in Canada.
I did look at several tractors during my seven year itch, but none of them really qualified for an unmolested survivor that could be used again and left in its working clothes.
Pre 1930 machines fitting this description are very hard to find and I have been searching for a pre 1920s machine!
These amazing little tractors were being engineered in
1916-1917??? and 500+ of them were delivered to new owners in 1918. Follow up production for 1919 was somewhere around 2,000 units.
Here is serial number 10913 as found. I have a good deal of the history on it and will post more as I do exploritory surgury to learn what it needs to be put back into decent working condition again.
What a good way to start the new year of 2012
Tony
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:00:07 PM
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Brothers Clemens Brothers Clemens is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Congratiulations Tony,

You have found again a fantastic tractor.
It seems you have a magnet to find the realy nice ones.
Like the original fenders also very much.


Wish you and your family a Happy New Year.

Keep searching and posting those realy nice treasuries.

Greatings,

Clemens Brothers from Holland
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:30:14 PM
G Willikers G Willikers is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Tony,
Just the way you wanna find them! Congratulations!
Have a great 2012!
RM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:44:08 PM
rumely fan rumely fan is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

really nice looking tractor, congratulations!
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:27:01 PM
Tony B. Tony B. is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Congrats Tony, really looks like everything is there. What kind of plow did you drag home with it?

Tony B.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:28:15 PM
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Beautiful tractor Tony! How do you find them and a plough to go with it as well as winter sunshine, by the look of that photograph

Tricky Dickie
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:36:36 PM
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Phil Johnson Phil Johnson is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Wow, Tony! That one is in amazing condition! with everything pretty well intact No wonder you were so excited about it! Congratulations, and keep the pics coming.

---------- Post added at 07:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:31 PM ----------

Seems like the only thing missing is the tool box. It looks like there are not even any broken spokes in those early front wheels. I must admit, I'm a little envious!
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:34:30 PM
Alan Svanes Alan Svanes is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Congratulations It looks very nice.
Does it have the original governor and if so could you post some pics Thanks Alan
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:44:04 PM
Mike McKnight Mike McKnight is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Well congrats again, Tony! What a nice tractor, am sure you'll have a lot of fun getting 'er going again, and playing with it when you're done.
Mike M
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:03:31 PM
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Great Find Tony!
Congratulations
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:53:26 PM
invictus74030 invictus74030 is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Congrats you lucky dog!
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:53:22 PM
Tony Thompson Tony Thompson is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Thanks everyone!
More pictures and history. This tractor is an early Borg & Beck 12-20. A lot of the components are different from the rest of the production run. Hard to find machine and only a few that actually run and drive.
The Kaulterman brothers from Onaga, Kansas purchased this tractor new in early spring of 1919 with a 3 bottom Oliver plow. The brothers ran a large farm with this tractor until 1941 when they bought a new MM U as a replacement.
The TC was then placed indoors in the center of a hog operation and the left fender was removed to offer clearance for a belt to run straight up to the celing to power a line shaft. There was a sheller, burr mill, hammer mill, and a mixer on the line shaft and the baby twin cam powered the hog operation this way for 12 more years. I was told by family that the brothers loved this tractor. They were thrilled with its performance and took extra good care of it, and it worked their farm for them for 34 years. The brothers passed away and when their farm was to be sold in 1973, family members took the 12-20 home with them to south-central Iowa. They drove it around a bit and it went in the building until now...38 years it slept there. Plans were to restore it someday, but it just never happened.
The Kaulterman brothers took such good care of this tractor that it still has ALL the correct components in place except for the wood tool box. Original radiator core, all original sheet metal, Manifolds, manual impulse mag, brass Holley fuel mixer, pierice governor, eight spoke front wheels and the dry Bennett air cleaner with glass jar!
The plow on my trailer in fist post...It is the 1919 Oliver 3
14s that came with the tractor when ordered new!
I am lucky this is true, however, I spent seven years hunting for a find like this. You should have seen how many tractors I passed on buying while looking for the "right one". There are still a lot of neat old pieces out there. I have been semi-retired since 2004 so I have a lot of spare time to look for old iron.
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:11:43 AM
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Well, Tony, you sure proved that patience and perseverance pay off. A suggestion:
When this tractor's ready to be shown, enjoyed, a write up with the history you just gave us would be cool to have with the tractor for all to read.
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:51:28 AM
twotoots2 twotoots2 is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Yes, congratulations on an amazing find!!!! I'm very very impressed with its nice original condition. Wow, wow, wow. If I'm reading this right, you could actually be the second owner since the tractor stayed in the family since new??? That would be incredible too!! Worst case would make you 3rd owner since the tractor was turned over to the family successors...still incredible! And the plow was the original that they purchased with the tractor? Man, simply amazing!

You are teaching me the art of patience with my tractor search/purchase and I can see it really reaps some great rewards!!!!!

Any initial thoughts on the resto? Like leaving it in its "patina" finish or repainting it like new?

Thanks for sharing Tony, and Happy New Years! You DO have lots to celebrate!
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:18:32 AM
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Looks GREAT, Tony.
Over 90 years old, and looks like with some minor work, it will run again! Too bad you are not close to me, I would come and help you.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:08:39 AM
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

I hope that you're not going to paint that beautiful tractor Tony It has taken 90 years to get that irreplaceable patina and with paint, it would be gone in a day!

Tricky Dickie
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:43:25 AM
Jeff Blaney Jeff Blaney is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Nice find Tony. Good things come to those who wait!
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:36:45 AM
Tony Thompson Tony Thompson is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep


For a history buff like me finding items like this offers a pulse quikening rush that does the body good.
Equally enjoyable is being able to document important agricultural history here on Smokstak with people that love it as much as I do! Our shared forum here is much like a virtual magazine that lets us document text and photos of restoration efforts and history for future generations to access for years to come. Thank you Harry & Craig

Some of the surviving 12-20s are missing their brass serial plate along with many of the correct or original components like fragile 8 spoke front wheels (replaced with 10 spoke), manifolds, governor/fuel mixer sets, and sheet metal.
12-20s are pre 1926 and the survival rate has been gravely compromised by the WW2 generated scrap drives. Even if one of these machines escaped being scrapped, it got used real hard through two terrible depressions leaving most of them completely wore out. True there were nearly 9,000 12-20s made, but most of them were litterally pulled to death by people who could not afford a replacement prior to 1940.

As stated in my opening post, the paint stays in the can. Anyone can paint a tractor, I do not feel that covering well preserved history with paint is much of an accomplishment.

More pictures...
Serial tag is very good. 10913 would be the 712th tractor made.
Even the fuel tank looks decent.
3rd photo is birds-eye-view of single clutch foot pedal that pushes straight down and springs back up when released. This is the early and rare Borg & Beck clutch system from 1918 and early 1919 only.
It was followed up with a twin disc unit.
4th photo shows an old plank bolted to brackets where the wood tool box was originally. I am guessing that the lack of platform on these machines forced operators to use the tool box as a step, thereby shortening its lifespan
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Last edited by Tony Thompson; 12-31-2011 at 11:57:08 AM. Reason: Add in thank you for Harry & Craig
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:46:12 PM
G Willikers G Willikers is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

Tony,
Thanks a million for your stories here and especially your expertise on the Twin City line. These were tractors that we never saw in this part of the world and so, to read your accounts on them helps fill in some mighty wide gaps on one's understanding of the tractor industry!
As you say, this is a wonderful site and we can live some experiences with tractors we will probably never be able to own.
Oh, and your ol' pup doesn't seem to be too interested, in the picture above!??!
Happy New Year,
RM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:06:02 PM
Power Power is offline
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Default Re: Early 1919 Twin City Rescued From Long Sleep

I agree - no paint - just put your favorite stuff on metal to stop further rusting.
How long before you fire it up & post a video?
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