Not my photo...supposed to be Ranger, Texas circa 1919.
The T is REALLY stuck. Maybe those sitting in the car should get out and push.
The problem could be that the gasoline is not climbing up to the carburetor. That is quite an angle.
No worries. I bet they could pull it out with that trenching rig!
New driver. He killed it. The guy is just crankin it over.
The trencher is an early steam-powered Buckeye Traction Ditcher.
You can see just above the fella putting planks under the wheel of the machine that it has spun its trencher dive chain off of its sprockets, which might have whipped about and snapped the cable that holds the dirt conveyor aloft, which is now hanging down roughly in the center of the wheel.
Hopefully they were able to get that well-used machine back in operating condition because that area could obviously use some drainage work!
I have a similar Buckeye Model 1 trencher built in 1928. It is gasoline powered, but like this earlier version it is all cable and capstan winch controlled (no hydraulics) and manual steering that swings the entire front axle from lock to lock in a mere 50 revolutions of the steering wheel!
I know they have been plowing in tile at least 40 years and a wheel machine is a rare find in use!Bud.
That trenching machine should win a design award...
here's a picture of a Buckeye Model No.1 with a LeRoi engine just like mine at a tractor show in Wisconsin. Notice that tiny steering wheel connected to the 50:1 worm gear, jack-shaft and chain steering. Its a good thing it has a "spinner" knob bolted to that wheel because you really have to crank it like a mad man to make a turn!
About 25 years separates this machine and the one in the original photograph, but except for the power source and the tracks fitted on the later one, all the workings of the business end on both are still pretty much the same.
The one pictured here also has the removable "shoe" behind the bucket wheel. That trailed behind the wheel and formed the walls and floor of a deeper trench, but wasnt needed for shallow ditching which is probably why it isnt on the earlier machine.
Looks primitive, but I bet that those rigs were a revelation compared to hand digging a long trench.
For me? These pictures of trenchers is very interesting. In the communication systems contracting I did for most of my working career, we did it all. Installed towers, antenna arrays, commercial satellite dishes, ran cables and set up cutting edge electronics. We designed, installed, serviced and repaired all of it, from the top of the tower, to the bottom of the trench.
Among the many things I did a LOT! Was bury cable. I have run trenching (and hole horizontal boring) equipment for many many miles.
I think I am grateful that the trenchers I used were a bit more modern, and a little bit safer perhaps. They certainly were a lot smaller, and easier to handle. Despite that, I did often have to put my hands into very risky places. I often like to comment (or joke) about me still having all my fingers and toes, intact, and still connected where they were when I originally acquired them. I was ALWAYS very conscience of the risks, and VERY careful to do what had to be done safely.
I can imagine very well what using one of those machines would be like.
Thank you all!
A friend and I once attended a tractor and engine show and as we were sitting with our display we started keeping track of all the missing fingers, eyes, arms and legs of all the old boys passing by- it was a long list! Of course we had no way of knowing the circumstances behind every missing limb and whether it was farm or automobile or war related (there were still alot of WWII vets wandering the aisles). Suffice to say this stuff was built long before OSHA safety standards were enacted and any of those TV lawyers were born and operating it (and any machine, really) can be unforgiving and demands your full attention at all times.
One thing I might have designed different on my trencher is that when you are using it the teeth running along the radius of the bucket wheel will sometimes bring up a walnut sized rock wedged between them, and carry it to the point where the drive sprocket meshes to these teeth.
That point is also 10 inches from the side of your head. When it gets there the gears will pulverized that rock with a very loud BANG! and you might get a nice smack upside the head with some shrapnel if you aren't paying attention.
Folks watching love it!
True, there was a flimsy piece of sheet metal there for a guard once, but it interfered with oiling the sprockets and changing them out, plus it blocks your view of the wheel, like a huge blinder on one side, and tends to jam with roots and sod so it always got tossed.
I wonder if anyone ever thought of trying to quickly pick that rock out by hand in the 3 seconds between when you first can see it coming around and before it gets to the sprocket.....................
And today we have underground directional boring machines that you can go under a road or parking lot and hit a pop can 30 yards away without disturbing the surface. I once worked on a big trencher that came from out in TX in the 60s. That sucker could sure make the dirt fly.
Don, Interesting photo. I happened to be reading a book called "The Vacancy Hunter" last night and the main character described in detail, their trip to Ranger, Texas in 1919 and described it exactly like the photo shows!! The only difference is he was driving a rented 1912 Model T. Wow, what a coincidence!! Don, could you give me the source of this photo? I would like to pass it on to the author.
Daniel, this came from a Facebook group called "Traces of Texas"
It looks like the intersection of Main St. and Market St. in Ranger, TX, facing the NW corner (shadows) but the buildings have changed much there; so I didn't bother to post a modern photo.
Thanks Don, I have heard of that site. I still cannot get over the coincidence in you posting this photo hours after I read a first person account of the same place and the same time. Wow!
Dale W, Yeah, OSHA may be a good thing, in some ways. Unfortunately, people like the idea of "someone else" being responsible for their safety, and stop paying attention to what they themselves do and how that affects their safety. Reasonable design with some degree of safety is wise, but becoming foolish and not paying attention to unavoidable hazards is far away from any kind of wisdom.
You talk about counting the people with permanent losses around these things. Count my dad among them. When he was young, he got into what was known as "high-line construction". He hated it. However, extremely intelligent, six foot four, 250 pounds of very strong, he was very good at it. The work is very difficult, required a great deal of stamina, and great care. He became well known around the difficult to work areas of Northern Califunny for his ability to do the work. But, he preferred to run his own business, and work with cutting edge new technologies instead.
Unfortunately, as smart as he was (in so many ways), and as capable as he was, (in so many things), he was NOT a good businessman. So it occasionally came to pass, that he would need to make some really good money in a short time, and someone that knew him would be asking if he could be available for a tough job. They were always asking, and he rarely gave in to the requests.
When I was about twelve years old, he gave in, and agreed to a few weeks of high-line construction. The work was in a particularly rough and rocky area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and blasting of some of the rock was required. Now, he did not do the dynamite work himself, but had been around enough of it over many years that he was comfortable with it. The crew he was on would accompany the dynamite man, watch as everything was set up, and the fuse was lit. Then the dynamite man along with the rest of the crew would calmly walk out to a safe distance as the sixty second fuse would burn. But one time, something went wrong. Someone said, "It doesn't sound right" as they began to walk. The whole crew turned around to look, as the fuse ignited the blasting cap in under ten seconds (the investigation determined a defective, or damaged, fuse had burned in only seven to eight seconds). The most serious injury that incident? My dad lost one eye, and picked (sand sized grains of) rocks out of his face, arms, and elsewhere, for the rest of his life. He and the others were actually very lucky that day. For the next forty years, the rest of his life, he liked to joke that he actually did have rocks in his head!
The real world, requires real work, to provide the means and power to live the life we think we deserve. A lot of that real work, is really dangerous. People need to never forget that the most important part of safety in the real world is the person doing the work. And that includes all people driving a car.
Jim E, When we were doing most of our boring, those directional rigs were not generally available. But they sure were quite a development. When we started, we played around with some of the idea of steering our drills, and with some success. However, the industry was adamant that such a technology would not work on a regular basis. Since most of the drills we were required to do were fairly short (most under thirty feet), and we lacked the time and money to experiment (as well as the desire to do THAT much drilling), we just did it the old fashioned way. We carefully aimed and drilled straight as we could. While most our drills were under thirty feet horizontal? We did a lot that were sixty to eighty feet long, and more than a few that went around a hundred twenty feet horizontal. I think the longest drill we ever did was just over one hundred sixty feet. That was about the limit our drill could be pushed.
Unless one can afford one of those steerable drilling rigs, and the small crew it takes to run one? Horizontal drilling is part art, and part science, but mostly HARD work.
And I do like to brag once in awhile. I was the one that usually aimed the drill. There is no way in a non-steerable unit to be perfect. Underground rocks, buried junk (we hit a washing machine one time!), and certain soil conditions can redirect your drill in ways that can be nearly impossible to predict, and sometimes totally impossible to correct for. However, I usually could hit my targets within a foot square at sixty feet distance. I often hit within a six inch square at that distance. Usually, the long drills (eighty or more feet distance) might require a redirect at some point. Using a cable/pipe locator (an electronic device that tries hard to lie to you, but can usually be used to determine position side to side accurately, and depth approximately), I would determine the exact position of the drill, and if needed, a pothole would be dug, and minor adjustments could be made.
One of the hundred twenty foot drills? I hit the foot square mark, with NO redirect.
It was HARD work, but fun in a way.
Enough severe thread drift. Back to model Ts and era photos.