The late 40’s and the 50’s were a time of unbridled optimism in America. The toxic Tube was still in it’s infancy and the day when it would poison the minds and destroy the health of millions lay far in the future. Much of Europe was in ruin of course and Russia and Eastern Europe had the added curse of Bolshevism to contend with but here in the USA it seemed that anything was possible, not even the sky was the limit.
Whoever wrote the ad copy for the Jaques Mighty Mite brochure was infected with some of that irrational exuberance. Beside farm cropping operations the ad claims the Mighty Mite excelled at: hauling crops and livestock to market, clearing brush and timberland, felling trees and cutting logs and cordwood, grading fire barriers, building and maintaining private roads, and leveling building sites to name but a few and all this from a six horsepower motor. You can enjoy a Mighty Mite brochure and an ad that appeared in The Progressive Farmer by visiting www.oldirongardentractors.com .
In an article that was published by Farm Collector Magazine in June of 2001 Sam Moore writes that Graham-Paige Frazer Farm Equipment Co. designed the Frazer Model T garden tractor in 1948 and contracted with the Jaques Power Saw Co. of Dennison Texas to build the Chassis which was shipped to York, Pa. where Frazer installed engines built by Bell Aircraft Co. and hoods that were made from leftover airplane parts. When Frazer was bought out in 1950, Jaques continued to market the tractor as the Mighty Mite. This may or may not be the case but the dates don’t jibe with those given for the advertisements referenced above.
According to the Mighty Mite brochure the little strongman left the factory with an “ L-head air cooled 4 cycle engine that developed 6.1 hp at 2700 rpm and 6.5 hp at 3200 rpm from a single cylinder that had a bore of 3 1/16 “ and a stroke of 3 ¼ “ inches. Three forward speeds provided a range of 2 ½ to 10 mph plus a reverse.
Stopping short of claiming an evaluation at the Nebraska Tractor Test, the copy reads: “ The following are the drawbar pulls as computed by formulas approved by the University of Nebraska Farm Implement Experiment Station and in accordance with rules accepted by the Society of Automotive Engineers : 655 lbs draw bar pulls at 3000 rpm in low, 369 lbs draw bar pulls at 3000 rpm in second, 217 lbs draw bar pulls at 3000 rpm in high, 715 lbs draw bar pulls at 2200 rpm in low. “ Pretty slick , huh!
“Wherever versatile power is needed, hitch onto the Mighty Mite”. It appears that Jaques did provide a respectable number of accessories for use with their tractor. The brochure shows : a seed planter, mower, cultivator, disc harrow, turning plow and trailer, all presumably designed and built by Jaques expressly for the Mighty Mite.
The 1949 Mighty Mite shown here is owned by Bradley and Candy Richey and was on display at the 2017 Foothills Antique Power Association of NC show at the Hickory Fairgrounds on May 20th. It is just one of a number of interesting garden tractors in their collection so we’ll be looking at some of the others in future posts.