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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Oliver Model O.C.-46 Loader

A couple of years ago I drove past the Kissimmee Auction Company in Spartanburg, SC and spotted several old pull graders parked in front so I went inside the office and asked permission to have a look and take some pictures. This old Oliver OC-46 Loader was parked among the Adams and Cat pull graders serving as a kind of lawn ornament. It’s still sitting there today looking like it could really use a restoration. There’s no for sale sign on it but Kissimmee is in the business of selling heavy equipment so the right offer might motivate the seller.

The Oliver Corporation produced the OC-4 series crawler tractors from 1957 to 1965. The OC-4 was the agricultural model while the OC-46 variant was designed and built as a compact loader for construction and industrial applications. The OC-4 was offered in four track widths 31 inches for tight work areas, 46 “ and 60” and 68” for farm, swampland and snow work where maximum floatation was crucial. The shipping weight was around 5,000 pounds. The OC-46 came with  46” treads as standard and due to the extra weight of the loader equipment shipped from the factory at around 7850 pounds.

Both versions were offered with a 130 cubic inch 3 cylinder Hercules engine in either gasoline or diesel option. Cylinder bore measured 3 ½” with a stroke of 4 ½”.  A six volt electrical system was standard on the gasoline version while 12 volts were used on the diesel models. Fuel economy was touted in the sales brochure, “ runs all day on one tankful.”

Both versions were shipped to Nebraska in 1958 and were evaluated in test number 655 and 656. Maximum drawbar horsepower was recorded as 23.14 and 25.34 hp. On the belt. Gasoline and diesel results were about the same. The standard transmission provided four forward speeds from 1.5 to 5.2 miles per hour.

The OC-46 was designed by Oliver as a loader tractor with special attention to mounting the loader that was built by Ware Machine Works to Oliver’s specifications. Ware had a close relationships with Oliver for a number of years and is still in business today. The Oliver brochure claimed that the position of the loader resulted in perfect balance and stability and reduced counterweight requirements by hundreds of pounds. Oliver claimed a breakout capacity of 6000 pounds.

With an overall length of twelve feet and relatively light weight ( compared to a full size dozer ) the OC-46 filled an important market niche. Judging by the popularity of the Bobcat style mini loader / dozer you see at nearly every construction site today, the OC-46 might have been slightly ahead of it’s time.


Most of the information used in this post came from an Oliver sales brochure for the OC-4 crawler and OC-46 loader that dates to the early 60’s. You can view this brochure and other interesting documents at . has posted a downloadable file with the report for Nebraska Test  number 656 conducted in June 1958.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

1936 John Deere Model AR

Charlie Story’s nicely unrestored Johnny Popper is apparently a regular at the Foothills Antique Power Association of NC’s   annual show, thing is, I didn’t realize it when I started  working on this post. I like machines that are left in their original colors so I decided to use some photos from the 2017 show. Problem was there wasn’t any identifying information displayed on the tractor.

No doubt there are plenty of EXPERTS out there who can identify a tractor right down to it’s model, serial number and the day and time it rolled off  the assembly line by looking at a single nut or bolt that you’re holding in your hand but I’m not one of them.  I have to do it the hard way. With luck you might find a data plate like the one in this photo behind the flywheel. In the original file it can be enlarged on the computer until the numbers are just almost readable.  I say almost because I still couldn’t tell for certain if the serial number was  251882 or 254982 but at least it was a start.

The Model A was one of Deere and Co.’s greatest hits with 300,000 units produced during production that that ran from 1934 to 1952. The row crop version was easily the favorite but a number of variants were also available. These include the AR : regular or standard front axle,  AO: orchard model, AOS: a narrow orchard version, AW: adjustable wide front, AN: with a single front wheel, AWH: adjustable wide front high crop, ANH: single front wheel high crop, and AI: standard front industrial. No doubt there are other versions but these were the ones I’ve been able to find reference to. This tractor clearly isn’t a row crop or  single front but it could be among one of the standard tread versions.  Time to look for a serial number list.

List I found at and and both have AO and AR models beginning at 250000 in 1936 and running to 255416 in 1938. While browsing the current issue of Antique Power Magazine I chanced upon an ad for an upcoming Mecum Auction where a 1936 model AI sn 252781 was going on the block. By this point I felt fairly confident that this tractor fell within this bracket but I still wanted to check what should have been the definitive information source.

The number one source for information about Deere products should be . After all, who has better access to company documents? If you’re looking for information a visit is sure to disappoint because you won’t find it here. Really John, is this the best you can do for all your loyal fans?  

It was about this point that I remembered that I had seen this tractor before. I opened the file that contained the photos from the FAPA 2015 show and sure enough, there it was, complete with a sign that read 1936 John Deere AR. Ok, now it’s time to go look for some info on the 36 AR.

The standard tread versions: AR, AO and AI were in production from 1935 to 1952 with a total of 34,074 units built. The price tag on the last year model in 52 was $2,400. Physical dimensions: length, 124 inches, width, 83”, height, 60” weight 3783 pounds.

The A row crop version was shipped to Nebraska in 1934 and evaluated in test number 222. It was powered by a John Deere horizontal two cylinder liquid cooled engine with a bore of 5 ½” and a stroke of 6 ½”  for 5.1 L or 309 cu in. Maximum horsepower ratings were 16.22 drawbar and 23.52 on the belt at 975 rpm. Valve port dimensions were, inlet: 1 ⅞” , exhaust: 1 ⅝” . It was fed by a Schebler carburetor model DLTX 8.  A Fairbanks-Morse mod. DRV2A magneto provided ignition. The air cleaner was a Vortex No. 2071D oil washed wire filter. It rumbled along at 2 ⅓ mph in first, 3 mph in second, 4 ¾ mph in third and 6 ¼ mph in fourth. Reverse was 3 ½ mph.

Additional resources:

University of Nebraska Lincoln Test No. 222

Friday, September 15, 2017

Son of Mighty Mite

I have to admit I’m partial to this little tractor. Don’t know why but I was drawn to it the first time I saw it. It seemed to have some special something that I can’t put my finger on. Maybe it’s the aluminum hood made from war surplus drop tanks used by long range fighter escorts in WW 2. Anyway; as promised in the Jaques Mighty Mite post we return to the 2017 Foothills Antique Power Association of NC Show for another look at the collection owned by Bradley and Candy Richey. This time a Model 16 Ottawa Mule Team tractor.

Ottawa Manufacturing Company’s roots go back to the 1880’s when it was known as Warner Fence Company that manufactured woven wire fence used to contain livestock. They also marketed products under the names of Union Foundries and Warner Manufacturing. The firm was courted by the City of Ottawa, Kansas and production was relocated there in 1904 and the name changed to Ottawa Manufacturing Co. The product line diversified at this time to include post hole diggers, hit and miss engines, windmills and power saws. Gas and kerosene engines became a major part of their business and by 1917 they offered 15 different horsepower engines ranging from 1 ½  to 22 horsepower models.

Over the years the company expanded production into diverse areas that included gas station equipment like gasoline pumps and car lifts. They became a major supplier of brakes for railroad cars. During World War 2 they filled a number of military contracts. In 1949 they decided to get into the lawn and garden tractor business and purchased the rights to the Mighty Mite tractor, along with the parts inventory and tooling from the Jaques Power Saw Co. of Denison, Texas. The Ottawa Mule Team Tractor is therefore a direct descendant of the Mighty Mite.

Ottawa manufactured at least four versions of this tractor.
The Model 15 powered by a 8 hp Briggs model 23 engine.
The Model 15 A with a Wisconsin AEN 8 ½  hp engine.
The Model 16 equipped with a 2 cylinder Wisconsin TE engine rated at 11 hp.
And the Model 17 with a 2 cylinder 13 hp Wisconsin TF power plant.

The total number of these tractors that were made between 1949 and 1951 remains unknown. A common estimate among online sources is about 250 copies but a classified ad published in Popular Science Magazine from August 1949 that I found on claimed that over 4,000 were already in use. The website has published a registry of known surviving examples that list about 75 Mule Team tractors. That seems to me like a high survival rate out of a total of only 250.

1951 proved to be a very bad year for Ottawa Manufacturing Co. The owner, E.L. Warner died from a heart attack early in the year and the river that runs through Ottawa, Kansas flooded in July, completely destroying the factory. The company never recovered from these two disasters. The flood is probably also responsible for destroying any company records that might have otherwise survived.

An ad from the period listed the following specifications for the Mule Team tractors.
Frame: Channel iron with reinforcements.
Clutch: Rockford single dry plate. Spring loaded.
Transmission: Warner, three forward speeds plus reverse.
Differential: Spicer ring gear and pinion.
Final drive: Steel bull gear and pinion sealed in cast iron housing.
Individual rear wheel brakes.
Rear wheels adjustable from 40 ½” to 50 ½”
Ground clearance 17”
Road speed: 9 to 10 mph.
Electric starter, lights, pto, and kerosene carburetor available as options.

Additional resources:  Ottawa Manufacturing Company of Ottawa, Kansas by Brian Wayne Wells

Friday, September 1, 2017

1947 Earthmaster Model C

The Aerco Corporation of Burbank, Ca. was a defense contractor that manufactured components for the wartime aircraft industry that flourished in Southern California during World War Two. When peace was declared they found themselves looking for a product to sell and decided to enter the tractor and farm implement market. It was literally a case of swords into plowshares. The pay was not nearly as good but it would have to do until the Globalist Banksters could cook up the next war.

According to an article that appeared in the October 9, 1947 issue of Farm Implement News, production of the Earthmaster Model C and CH began that year at Aerco’s Burbank plant. This article reads like a press release written by Aerco’s sales department but it contains information that collectors will find interesting. You can read the entire article at .

The article touts the Earthmaster as a one to two plow tractor for small acreage farms that offered full feature performance. “ A member of the low priced tractor field, the Earthmaster is a complete tractor in every respect and features a newly developed 2 way hydraulic control system trade named Duomatic which assures positive raising, lowering and depth control of implements.”  These implements included one and two way moldboard plows, mowers, harrows, cultivators, rear mounted scrapers and front bulldozer blades.

Power was supplied by a four cylinder L Head Continental N 62  engine, Bore was 2 ⅜” with a stroke of 3 ½” producing 14.5 horsepower from the 62 cubic inches of displacement. The transmission offered 3 speeds forward plus reverse. The governor allowed engine speeds of 1800, 2000 and 2200 rpm for 9 possible forward speeds. The engine was cooled by a thermosyphon radiator with a 14” fan.

The sources that I have found online generally agree that it’s hard to pin down facts about Earthmaster company history and production of tractors. Relevant documents seem to have disappeared. Aerco was acquired by Adel Precision Hydraulics in the mid to late forties. This was followed by a sale to S.L. Allen Co. the maker of Planet Jr. farm implements who owned the rights from 1950 to 1955. Turner Mfg. Co. located in Statesville, NC. was next followed in turn by the Latham Feed and Seed Co. of Belhaven, NC who purchased the rights and the stock of parts and may have assembled and sold as many as 43 tractors. Total production numbers for Earthmaster Tractors remain elusive. is a website maintained by a group of collectors and enthusiast whose goal is to shine a light in this darkness by collecting and making available online as much information about Earthmaster tractors as they can assemble. The site has already assembled a wealth of information that owners will find of interest. If you can provide additional information, publications or relevant documents, consider visiting their site and making a contribution. Likewise the Ironmule also welcomes any information that visitors can contribute to the discussion at hand.

The Model C shown in these photos was displayed at the Antique Power Steam and Gas Expo at Cumming, Ga. in 2016. It is owned by Mickey Skelton from Buford, Ga. According to the sign attached to the tractor it is one of 51 that were produced in Statesville, NC.

Additional resources:

Standard Catalog of Farm Tractors 1890 - 1980  by C.H. Wendel  Three Post-War Bonanza Tractor Makers  Sept. 2004