I've recently acquired this Model T conversion tractor. I'm trying to find out more details about it, ie. year and type of conversion. Supposedly it is a Sears & Roebuck kit but I can't confirm this. What details can the group give me?
Toro made similar conversions for golf course maintenance.
Looks like a lincoln gray hound hood ornament and a 1940's VAC Case tractor seat on the starboard side, for starters.
do you want to get rid of that hood ornament?
I have an original 18 page brochure from Sears Roebuck for the "Thrifty Farmer Tractor Unit for model T or A Fords" dated 1932. Cost new for the Model T conversion was $114.85.
Wold it be possible to get a copy of the thrifty Farmer brochure Digital or Paper?
Thanks for the details on the Thrifty. I would love to get a copy of this.
That is different than any Sears conversion or any other conversion I've seen but of course, I haven't seen them all. One of the few I've seen made from a 26/7 cowl. Most were designed for earlier cars. So this conversion would not have been until the 30's, maybe? I'd sure like to have it. That right hand seat is a later addition. Those came out in the late 40's and are pretty common on Ford tractors of the day as well as some other tractors.
It's hard to tell without more pictures, but it's possible that it's something somebody put together in a shop. Those back wheels could have been off a horse drawn mower. They used that same mounting system for the bull gear a lot. The front wheels could be off a truck for the front of the header, etc. I'd sure like to see more pictures of how they built it. Most of the conversions I've seen had much bigger rear wheels with the biggest possible bull gear to get the speed down to farming speed. This looks to me like it would still be pretty fast no bigger than the bull gear is, even in low pedal. How does it work? More pictures? You should make up a set of plans for us guys that have a pretty decent set of wheels in the junkpile, etc.
What about industrial use?? To me it looks more like a early [Shop Mule] than a tractor?? Bud.
Hi Stan - Hey, I'm not very familier with tractor conversions, but I think Bud's got it right. I don't think that machine was ever used or designed for any type of agricultural or even golf course mowing work. I noticed what looks to me like a pretty "lightweight" hitch arrangement, maybe for pulling wagons such as those that were used by REA Express Agencies at RR depots. I'm thinking that Bud's idea of a "Shop Mule" is about right. In fact, I'm thinking maybe a medium sized railroad freighthouse type operation. Large freighthouses would usually have a continuous revolving overhead chain type setup that the tongues of freight wagons would be hooked into and the wagons would circulate between the railroad boxcar side of the freighthouse to the truck (teamster) side of the freighthouse. But a freighthouse that didn't have such an overhead chain setup would use one or more ("mules") as Bud called them to haul the wagons around the freight platform from boxcar side to truck side. The wheels also look to me like a kind of compromise cleat design that would be good for wooden freighthouse platforms, pavement or gravel. Interesting little machine tho', whatever,..........harold
I thiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnkkkkkkkkkkkkkk you're right. More research needed.
All who are interested in getting a copy of the Sears and Roebuck Thrifty Farmer brochure, I will try to make it available electronically soon.
Keep it coming guys. I love all of this information. By the way, the current tow hitch (if you can call it that) appears to be a recent addition and there seems to be remnants of a more substantial hitch that was attached to the rear sub-frame at some point. The second seat is a much later addition and is bolted to the floor rather than attached to the frame. I'm in the process of clearing out a load of gunk from the fuel system and then maybe I'll see if I can get her fired. I'm not in tune with stuff from the first half of the 20th century, I mostly focus on 60s and early 70s metal so this is all new to me and I will undoubtedly be asking loads of questions. See my other stuff at www.ranchocortina.com
Just for comparison, here is a picture of a Model T / Worthington Tractor Conversion originally used for mowing golf courses. Notice the rear wheels on both tractors look like they would have some traction on grass but would not be so aggressive that they would tear up the grass. I think wheels designed for use in soft dirt would have diagonal cleats running across the wheel treads much like on larger sized steel wheeled tractors. However, the front wheels on Simon's tractor with the ridge in the center look more like wheels designed to not slip while turning in soft material like dirt rather than wheels used on a hard surface like wood or concrete. I'm not sure if the ridge would damage grass or not, but I suspect it would make a depression in soft earth which would not be wanted in a lawn.
A tractor with a second seat would be used as a planting tractor, seedlings, veggies, etc.I don't think they would have steel wheels in a rail yard. Hard rubber maybe but most steel wheel were ag.
I think we're all guessing Denny. I'm still thinking possibly a RR freighthouse (not railyard) for the machine's ORIGINAL use, and possibly later used for agricultural use, due to the later addition of the second seat as Stan has established.
Perhaps when Simon gets the machine running and the speed can be established, the speed might narrow down the possible use for which this machine was built. I would think that a very slow speed would suggest agricultural use, while a faster speed would suggest industrial use as Bud mentioned.
Another case of, "boy, if that ol' Ford could just talk", huh?
I will venture to say it is a Shaw conversion or parts from 1.It is to narrow to be a Pull Ford for sure.The passenger seat is from a Case 300 seris best guess.
To me,it looks like someone found the narrowed axles from a Shaw kit that was took apart years ago and made a little tractor to ride around and engine and tractor shows.The hitch would be to light for most any ground engageing tool and wouldnt support much wieght at all.
Like Stan said, those wheels are (I think anyway) the unmistakable mower pattern.
I'm with Mack, its cool but I don't think its period. Probably to pull a little wagon around shows or swap meets, but its still a slick little rig and I wouldn't turn it down!
Simon, I would concur with Mack. The front wheels and the narrowed front axle are most definately Shaw. I've never seen Shaw rear wheels like yours. I don't believe they are Shaw because Shaws had external teeth on the bull gear. Most others had the gear teeth cast internally and they tended to collect dirt and wear out faster. This is a photo of my Shaw, notice the similar front wheels & axle.
Simon, Shaw Manufacturing in Galesburg, Kansas produced the kit to convert a Model T into a tractor. Numerous companies jumped on the Model T tractor conversion market after Mr. Ford announced he was abandoning his efforts to produce a farm tractor based on the Model T and had directed Charles Sorenson and Eugene Farkas to design the Model F Fordson tractor.
Galesburg hosts a Shaw reunion each year, I believe it is still the first weekend after the 4th of July. Usually some descendants of the Shaw family are in attendance.
Don, Thanks for the great information. I'd love to have some more photos of your Shaw. Do you know what your rig was used for? Thanks, Simon
Wonder if those rear wheels on the rig in question might just be old mower wheels? The old sickle bar, horse drawn types? That tread looks similar.
The rear wheels definitely resemble horse mower wheels in size and lug pattern. Not that they don't exist, but I never seen a horse mower with open gears on the wheels. The only type I ever seen had an enclosed drive gear on the axle, A ring gear and pinion,so to speak,that drove a stub shaft that operated the sickle driver.
My Shaw Model T tractor conversion kit was shipped from Galesburg KS to Keen NH in 1931. A 1922 Model T was used for the conversion in late 1931. The Shaw was used almost exclusively in the sugar maple forests southeast of there pulling the sap tank sled. During the spring sap run collection buckets were emptied into the tank and the the Shaw pulled the sled in the trees to collect and then to the evaporator to produce the maple syrup.
I have the original steel cleats for the drive wheels, they've been removed and rubber treads put in place for display and demonstration on street surfaces. The Shaw was made for pulling, it looks small and relatively light but weighs just over 2,000 pounds. It has two hitches, a lighter duty pin hitch mounted high and a heavy duty swinging drawbar mounted about 15 inches above the ground surface. I've plowed with a 16 inch IHC drawn plow when the steel cleats are installed.
The Shaw has a Warford auxilliary transmission.
For additional historic information on the Shaw, visit this site:
Thanks for the details. It sounds as if mine is quite similar to your Shaw. I'd be interested in some photos of yours, particularly the hitch area because I'd like to put mine back to what it may have been. The little hitch on it now is clearly something that was added for parade/ show and I'd prefer to have it more period correct. I use a 1950s Ford 971 tractor to maintain our pasture area but it will be fun to pull a disc around a bit with the T.
The rear gears on Simon's unit sure look light for a real tractor conversion. It wouldn't take much to rip the teeth off. I think I will agree with Stan that it looks like something someone put together in a shop. I would guess that the rear wheels are off of a horse drawn mower. The ones I have seen have quite stout rear gears, after all they were working out in the dirt so there was quite a "wear allowance" figured in
I saw this little tractor at the T show in Hershey. I think the reversed steering arrangement was neat. Any idea what this little vehicle was designed for?
interesting..i have a 1911ish shaw bicycle motor and a ford t..never figured the two could be related!!
Golf course tractor probably a Worthington.
A friend has one that is very similar.
Toro also made them for golf course use, but I have never seen a Toro front wheel drive.