Since the last newsletter, many things have happened with our Society, the Club it supports, and myself. This newsletter contains articles describing many of these happenings, but let me take this opportunity to announce that as numerous Antiques-related and other commitments have grown to consume much more time than I have, I am stepping back from the responsibilities of Society President. I plan to continue with the other activities associated with Club and Facility issues requiring a local presence. On January 29, 1998, existing Board Members and potential new ones met at the shop to discuss Antique Mechanics and to begin a schedule of monthly meetings. At this meeting, Sue (Westwood) Esdaile '93 and Brian Barnett '76 were prepared to step forward to tackle a large number of tasks which have not received the attention required. Sue and Brian agreed to take on much of our Society's paperwork and phone calling and the Facility's maintenance and planning projects, respectively. With these responsibilities in mind, they will be serving as acting co-chairs of our activities until the Annual Meeting, and further if so determined at that time. This new particpation by Sue, Brian, and others attending our meetings, represents a much needed influx of alumni returning to help Antique Mechanics. I am confident that as even more Alumni remain in or return to the local area, our ability to support Antique Mechanics will grow. I would like to specifically thank Ron, Rick, Ann, and Jerrold who have been regular Antiquers for over a quarter century (sorry guys, but I think it's true). Though everyone's job has changed in a major way - like a lot more work - they have maintained as much participation as possible. Thanks also to Jay and JB who have lent an ear and advice whenever needed during my years heading up our support group. I hope to see everyone at the next Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 6. -Victor Duraj
A lot of exciting things have been happening this year in the Club. Thanks to your help we now have tires for the John Deere L and Christina and Soccoro expect to have the tractor assembled and running shortly. Though Paul recently graduated, he has been coming up from Tulare to do further work on the Allis-Chalmers. It is now running (a cylinder sleeve was cracked). The Caterpillar Twenty should also be ready for Picnic Day with a new coat of paint. There has also been some progress on other projects such as the Oliver, hay loader, and Kohler generator. In-house issues have kept us very busy. One big thing was an urgent and immediate need to get up to speed with a few Environmental Health and Safety matters. On campus, we painted a tractor mural on the temporary construction walls at the MU this fall quarter. We provided artifacts for the College of Ag & Environmental Sciences annual awards celebration, and we have been going to club faires faithfully. On another note, last year I met some great guys in the club. Since then they have all graduated. Yet we found new people and the club is still going strong with a solid core of people. Interestingly, this year the roster and officers list are primarily female. Remember to come visit the shop and we'll show you around the latest projects. Thank you for your invaluable support.
In January of '98, the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club held its winter meeting at the new Heidrick Ag History Center in Woodland. On the following Sunday morning, their members came to Davis Air Repair for a pancake breakfast and went over to Antique Mechanics to tour the collection. The guests included Caterpillar enthusiasts from all over the western states, mid-west, and some from as far away as England and Germany. Over 100 people braved the wind and rain for a breakfast of pancakes, eggs and sausages. Thanks again to all the alumni, students, and friends who helped out at the breakfast and tour. Ted Halton, president of ACMOC and a UC Davis Alumn, expressed an interest, on behalf of his club, in assisting with the restoration of 1C1. This tractor was the first production diesel tractor produced by Caterpillar. The 75th anniversary of Caterpillar Company will be in year 2000, and we hope to be able to restore ours for the anniversary.(Number 1C2, which is owned and was restored by Fred Heidrick, was the first one sold and the first one used extensively in tra-ditional farming work. It is one of many mag-nificent pieces on dis-play at the Heidrick Ag History Center in Woodland, CA.) Many thanks to all the ACMOC members for helping raise a few bucks which went directly toward the Club's needs. Special thanks to Phil Esdaile at Davis Air Repair for hosting the breakfast in the space normally occu-pied by airplanes, and to Charles Lowe and Lyle Parker of Cal Aggie Flying Farmers for helping us flip pancakes.
Thanks to everyone who came to our meeting. It was one of our most-attended meetings, coming in at nearly ninety including students and family members. There were twenty six club alumni, many coming from afar, including Eric Griffin and family from Los Angeles, Rod Plew and family from Weaverville, and Bruce Blodgett from Santa Cruz. There was much activity with equipment before and after the meeting. The following pieces all were run: Case 20-40, Cat 60, Cat 10, Cat 20, Cat 30, Cletrac AG, Case C0, 1937 Dodge pickup, the Novo water pump, and the International 15 one-cylinder. Special thanks to JP Furnari for donating a new six volt battery to the Club. The meeting began with an "Early Years" slide presentation by Ron Allen, a charter member. This was followed by student Greg Pirak giving a detailed overview of the Club's restoration and other efforts of the past year. Prof. David Hills talked about the department's progress with breaking ground on the new Western Center for Agricultural Equipment and also discussed the department-sponsored, annual Ag-Tech seminar to be held in June. There were two 12 minute video montages projected on an 8 foot screen. One video was an overview of Antique Powerland Museum in Brooks, Oregon, as filmed by Victor and Jim on their road trip in July of 1994. The second video was a collection of photos and video clips set to music highlight-ing some events of the last two years. The last item was the surprise presentation of a US flag with a signed certificate of having been flown over the Capitol of the United States. The flag was arranged by Congressman Vic Fazio for the Club's efforts with the National Rural Con-ference "Town Hall" as described in the last newsletter. Not too long after the meeting, we feasted on tri-tip sandwiches prepared by alumns Jon Moore of Red Bluff and John Boger of Lodi. Alumn Alex Smith of Fair Oaks provided a big box of See's suckers for dessert. Thanks go to alumns Brian Barnett and Tom Schoderbek for their help in preparing the Facility for the annual meeting. On a weather note, IT WAS HOT! More fans next time! Actually, we "located" a big warehouse wall-mounted fan and are hoping to have it installed above the sliding door that opens to the parking lot. Jon Moore has already pledged to BBQ again this year. So we hope to see you.
The Club now has its own World Wide Web site on the Internet. Alex Smith has been working on incorporating our various "informal" sites into one common one. The site has been allotted five megs of diskspace. There is another two and a half megs available on our sister site through the Associated Students at UCD program. Any of you alumns who have old a few photos to post, please e-mail Victor or Alex to coordinate the best way to ftp the files. Andy Hulse's earlier site with tractor sounds and other interesting features was retrieved after it was turned off by campus (because he graduated). It is now posted on the official site. By the way, we have not come across any other tractor sites promoting a student or University program such as ours. Combined with the fact that we are linked from all sorts of sites on the Internet, we have a very valuable opportunity to help promote UC Davis across the country and among folks who spent/spend their life working the land.
Mike Reyna, State Director for Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture, sent the Club a special certifi-cate recognizing its 25th Anniversary. Speaking of the USDA, they are consolidating most of their regional offices in this part of California right into Downtown Davis. The new office building, five-screen movie theatre, and parking garage are going up as this is being written. There will be something like two to three hundred USDA employees in Davis.
...things were less Politically Correct and the following happened - here told probably fifth-hand. But aren't those stories the best? Congressman Vic Fazio requested a ride on an old tractor or wagon in Picnic Day Parade sometime back in the mid-80's. The Club decided it could provide a ride for the Congressional entourage in the bed of the 1923 Republic dump truck. Of course, the condition was that at all three prominent locations where Republic appears on the truck, an "an" was added to the end. So far so good. So, as the students drive past the main VIP grandstands with the Chancellor, they stop the truck and engage the dump mechanism. Holding on to the sides of the bed, people hung on as it rose and rose. Apparently everyone held on; nobody slid out the back. But, perhaps the height of the bed has grown as tall as the story has grown old. Nevertheless, it was all taken in good humor, and the story has it that afterwards Congressman Fazio quipped that that was the first time he had been dumped in his political career. Just a couple months ago, Congressman Fazio announced he would not be running for re-election.
Tom Ginsburg has been an astounding asset to the Club over the last six years. He has done substantial work on the John Deere D and perhaps his favorite tractor, the Union. He has championed that tractor through fuel tank, final drive, and magneto repairs. He had it running and im-pressing visitors when we took it to Pacific Coast Dream Ma-chines a couple years ago. His last project before graduation was to get the 1937 Allis Chalmers WC to Pic-nic Day. Continuing in the dedicated and comprehensive work of Andy Hulse and Alex Smith, Tom's initiative got other Club members to join in. Having the tractor operate under its own power three days before Picnic Day helped make the Club's Picnic Day preparations less hectic and more successful. (Subsequently, befud-dling everyone of us, and having nothing to do with Tom's, Andy's, or Alex's work, we found water in the engine oil. Since then, Paul took on that particular problem and we believe we have the WC water problem licked: hairline crack in one cylinder wet-sleave which was "un-rusted"during the initial restoration work). Now, back to Tom. While Tom had ample free time until the beginning of last year, he had become especially enthusiastic in giving visitors tours of the Collection. His effort in this manner has helped us keep our Saturday afternoon "OPEN" hours. Tom is now settling into a good job at Woodside Electronics which makes color sorters for tomato harvesters and is located in Woodland, CA.
The Club continues to provide artifacts for the College's annual Celebration which recognizes a dozen or so alumni who have helped build the College's reputation through their professional or other efforts. Artifacts loaned for the exhibit include wagon wheels, milk cans, a scythe, and a corn sheller which were incorporated with straw bales, pumpkins, corn stalks, and other items into a very creative and appealing display by the College. The latest Celebration last October included the oversized fiberglass cow head which had received many hours of paint work from Victoria Smith. It was a striking sight.
The Antique Mechanics name received some invaluable publicity with prominent recognition on the playbill for a recent Dramatic Arts theatrical production. The producers of the show visited the Collection a couple of times and picked out artifacts for the show; which ones actually got used was hard to say, but nevertheless, it is nice to know that there was a good chance that the Chancellor - who is championing the new fine arts building complex - had an opportunity to see our name.
The Case baler now has a bell. Jack Frost, Alumn and Club member from the early years, built a replica from scratch, including a bell machined from a solid piece of brass. He says he has worked on this off and on for the last twenty years and finally finished it and was ready to mount it up. He tried and it appears to fit. The device has a toothed sprocket with fits partially through a slot on top of the bale chute. The sprocket is turned as bales move through the chute and are being tied. The sprocket is actually comprised of six separate toothed sections which are adjustable for the length of bale desired. What it does is remind the operator when to insert the next bale divider block by use of two prongs on the sprocket which trip the bell to first warn that a divider should be readied and then to signal that the divider be inserted. This has provided for many smiles when demonstrated to visitors.
The entry way to the shop now has a glass case featuring mug shot pictures of all current students and of all Alumni and Friends who were student Club members or who regularly volunteer at the shop. Though the primary reason is to help put names to faces, another reason is that there have been several instances in the last year or so when University police officers walked in and made some of us show a picture ID. One special item on the board is Brian Barnett's original Antique Mechanics picture ID.
"Caterpillar" was first used for the model name of a line of crawler tractors in 1906 built by the Holt Manufacturing Company of Stockton, California. The gist of its origin is that a comment was made while observing the way that the innovative hinged sections of the tracks pivoted and moved when operated over an obstruction. Hence, the name Caterpillar and its wavy logo were born. In 1925, when Holt of Stockton and the Best Tracklayer Company of San Leandro, California merged, the Caterpillar name was selected for the company. The Tracklayer models, with a more fixed undercarriage and in many ways a generally simpler and more efficient design shortly represented the bulk of models manufactured by the Caterpillar company. Though "Caterpillar" and "Tracklayer" were copyrighted by the companies, the term "crawler" is the generally used to describe a track-type tractor. However, as many may often hear, the term "cat" is also often used to denote a crawler.
This last year found Antique Mechanics involved in three separate episodes of this very popular statewide PBS program which focuses on anything and everything agricultural. In the first appearance, parts of the Facility were used as background shots for the segue ways between features. A shot was taken in front of the un-restored Case thresher out front in the triangle along Hopkins Road. A shot was taken in the front of the Bronson Pitts separator. A shot was taken in the front of the red Cat 60. A shot was taken down tractor row. In the second appearance, we were part of a feature on tractor safety. So, we started up the Case CO and talked about the Case 12-25. In the third appearance, we were our own feature. We rounded up founding Club members from 1971, Club members from the early Nineties, and current Club members to go on camera and talk about various pieces of equipment or the Club. We were able to get on-camera interviews with Eric Griffin describing and starting the Standish, Jerrold Franklin speaking about the Bronson Pitts, Greg Pirak talking about the Club, and Victor Duraj talking about the miscellaneous stuff. From strictly an equipment sense, Alex Smith ran the 20-40 and John C. Warmerdam ran the 60. Unfortunately, there was some serious editing done in the studio and not many interviewees got starring time. However, there is one story especially worth recording here. Eric went through the process of starting the Standish, including choking techniques for when the engine is cold. He went through the whole process and got it fired right up after only a few cranks. It ran a little while and he shut it down. The film crew decided they wanted a few more shots of the starting process from different angles. However, since the engine was already warmed up, Eric had little desire to go through the same process of choking techniques, while the reporter was insisting he do so for filming reasons. Eric began contesting that he would not fake the procedure as they were suggesting. If you just know Eric, you can understand how this became as amusing for us as it was becoming frustrating for the film crew. Thanks, Eric. Complimentary copies of these episodes are available for viewing at the shop. It is interesting to note that the programs were broadcast three times in their initial week and on occasion in subsequent weeks.
Five Antique Mechanics tractors at the Joe Heidrick Wester Center for Ag Equipment
Machines of Iron is a recently-released hour-long tractor video. It consists of about thirty minutes of tractor pulls at a big show in Arizona, a fifteen minute guided tour of Antique Mechanics, and then fifteen minutes of tractor parade at the same show in Arizona. Spinnaker Home Video, based in Burbank, CA, produced the tape. The Antique Mechanics portion was shot on December 26, 1997, on a cold, windy, wet day. There are complimentary copies of the video for viewing at the shop. It has been suggested by some Antiquers that we or other students on campus could put together a fairly professional, entertaining, and educational video of our own for commer-cial distribution.
An un-edited, un-clarified newsprint article from circa 1971, published in perhaps the Picnic Day magazine. We're hoping that some of you who were early Club members or supporters may be able to offer any appropriate additions and/or clarifications.
With the finding of a Standish one cylinder engine, believed to be the first gasoline engine built in the United States, the Antique Tractor Museum was born. Invented by a Gridley, California foundry and shop operator, Soranus Standish, in 1885, it was nearly sold for scrap in 1937 when Japanese armament builders were offering high prices for junk metal. F. Hal Higgins learned about the engine which was sitting behind the feed mill in Gridley, while he was doing research on old farm equipment and talking to pioneer mechanics. Realizing the historic value of the engine, it was gra-ciously sold to Higgins for $1.00 by Mr. Channon, owner of the mill. It was then turned over to Profes-sor Harry B. Walker, Chairman of Agricul-tural Engi-neering at Davis in 1937, and then restored to run-ning condition and displayed at the Sacramento State Fair in 1938. This was probably the beginning of concerted efforts to the establishment of a museum of Agricultur-al history, although nothing officially was established until eary 1963 when Bill Duffy, a local farmer and a 1916 UCD graduate, started the ball rolling. After several discussions with Dean of College of Agriculture Fred N. Briggs, Mr. Duffy sent a letter to the then Chancellor of Davis, Emil Mrak, who became a strong supporter of the museum idea. In June of 1964, he appointed Coby Lorenzen, who was also Chairman of the Agricultural Museum committee. Other members of the new committee were John Hardie, Roy Bainer, Clarence F. Kelly, F. Hal Higgins, Fred Wyatt, James Shideler, and Bill Duffy. Several meetings were held with a museum proposal and an architect's drawing for submission to the 1965 Legislature to provide $40,000 for restoration and building space to house the growing collection of farm machinery. However, with budget cuts, the museum proposal was scratched. As word got around of a possible museum, various pieces of equipment continued to be donated. The largest donation came in 1965 from August Hagemann of Livermore, who donated a dozen items in excellent condition that had been stored in barns for years. The key item of the collection is an 1863 H.W. Rice straw-burning Steam Engine used on a Bronson-Pitts separator which is used for threshing grain. The straw-burner was refurbished and displayed at the State Fair and Picnic Day. After the 1965 budget cut, the museum effort sort of died away with the committee becoming inactive due to lack of interest and retirement of some of the key members. Picnic Day 1970 brought new life to the museum idea. Through the efforts of Dan Delwiche and Lorry Dunning, a display of one cylinder engines combined with a Best 75 tractor and Russell Steamer was one of the most popular of the 1970 Picnic Day exhibits. (Provided by Fred Heidrick.) In cooperation with the chairman of Agricultural engineering, Professor John Goss, Mr. Dunning continued to spearhead a program of restoration and collections of museum items. Mr. Dunning formed a student organization, which is headed by Bob Ingram, for the restoration, research and the fun of operating the machines that made California agriculture. Under the keen leadership of Mr. Delwiche, ten 4-H members are learning the intricate parts of small engines; there is nothing unique about this except that they are nasty, dirty, bulks of cast iron with fly wheels known as one cylinder engines. However, after extensive cleaning and painting the engines chug as good as new. Chancellor Meyer recently appointed Professor Goss as Coordinator of the Agricultural Machinery Museum Collection. A new committee has been appointed with a sincere effort to establish a building for restoration and display of restored items in the collection. The ultimate goal is to establish an Agricultural Machinery Museum for the display and preservation of equipment and machinery of historical value. Hopefully all items put on display will be restored to operative condition with displays to portray how the farm operated in yesteryear. Unfortunately, neither the University nor the State of California is in a position to budget money for this program. The Agricultural Machinery Museum collection has no money for purchasing equipment and machinery and likewise no money for restoration or housing restored items. The 100 or more items in the collection have been donated by business establishments in the Sacramento area. There is a strong feeling that the UC Davis campus is a logical location for a musem due to the many new ideas and machines developed in the years in the Department of Agricultural engineering. Following in step was the purchase of F. Hal Higgins library of Agricultural Technology in 1959. This unique collection contains some 300,000 items on the history of Agriculture and mechanization and was accumulated over a period of thirty years by F. Hal Higgins. Since the purchase various individuals and manufacturing companies have donated special collections adding to the value of the library. Acknowledging the fact that the Higgins Library is unique in its field, the National Agricultural Library of the United States Department of Agriculture has transferred to Davis its collection of agricultural machinery catalogs numbering nearly 12,000 items. The library is without equal in the United States and possibly in the world. From this vast source of history we can pick out many names of importance that need to be located and acquired for a museum. Probably the most prominent was the early efforts of Holt inventing the Holt Steamer and Dan Best inventing the Best Steamer. They both competed in the track layer developments and finally merged in 1925 to form Caterpillar Tractor Co. which today is one of the world's leaders in tractor development. Anyone interested in donating equipment, assisting with monies for restoration and buildings or just helping in general is asked to fill in the form below and you will be contacted. The Student Antqiue Mechanics need technical advise, and guidance in restoration procedures. Restoration is not limited to students only. They will welcome any nut and bold mechanic from the surrounding community, ladies included. All donations are income tax deductible.
(About six years after this article was printed, the existing Agricultural Machinery Restoration Facility was dedicated. As the previous newsletter described, the Facility was made possible by the financial leadership of Ben Sharpsteen, UC Class of 1916, and the combined generosity of the Cal Aggie Foundation which is now known as the UC Davis Foundation.)
We have invested a major part of our efforts in the past year on facility clean up, maintenance and updating. Along with the need to make the shop, storage and yard areas more useful to our restoration work we are also creating an environment more appealing to the public. In the past years a large amount of dirt has settled into the area and weeds have attempted to take over. As us "old timers" who were around in the 1970' s can recall, the yard was originally all asphalt. We have now removed all of the tall weeds (2 to 12 feet), some of which were torn out with chains and the forklift, and are working on the smaller ones. The eventual goal is to remove the dirt and eliminate the weed friendly atmosphere the yard has assumed. Although the roof was repaired at times in the past, large leaks had developed in the first three of the four hangars. The leaks in hangars #1and #2 have now been lessened to a few drips. Much work is left to do on the roof, which actually needs some outright replacement along with painting the now rusty roof and wall panels. Much of the clutter has been eliminated from the work areas and we ave created space in hangar #2 for general maintenance and welding work. We have accumulated parts for welding smoke exhaust and general ventilation in the summer months. These systems will be installed as time allows. There have been numerous other facility related tasks carried out ranging from a steel strage rack through general equipment maintenance and upgrade along with fluorescent lamp replacement. There is much left to be done and there is a growing list of tasks to be accomplished in the future. Future major tasks, which we hope to find funding for, are construction of a paint booth, sandblast building, and pole barn around the outer yard fence to provide some protection for equipment that will not fit into our buildings.
Equipment in last years parade: Case CO, 1916 Case 20-40, 1929 Cat 60, 1930 Cat 10, 1930 Cat 20, 1929 Cat 30, 1949 Farmall A, 1936 Allis Chalmers WC, 1917 Case 12-25, Studebaker buckboard restoration in progress, Novo engine and water pump, Associated engine and corn sheller, Hercules dragsaw. Special thanks to Dave Schwenger who once again was available to operate the Murray-donated low-bed. Exhibit was different this year in the respect that most of the pieces were placed in an oval and roped off. One tractor was left outside the rope for children to sit on its seat. This was also the first year that we had 11x17 inch write-ups for each piece on display. These were read by a large majority of people who stopped by to take a look. Additionally, several tractors were kept idling for the entire afternoon exhibit.
This past year has seen over 100 members of the public visit the Collection. Though there were a small number of special appointment visits, most people visited on Saturdays from 12-4, our posted hours for the school year and non-major holiday weekends. We averaged about one tour per Saturday through the three academic quarters, with people often times waiting at the door right at noon.
We have been able to do this by committing to set hours, and we were late only once and that was by about 25 minutes. We look forward to someday soon when we can form a group to open up the Collection for limited hours on Sunday as well as for special appointments.
Antique Mechanics Society Executive Committee 1998-99
Student Club Members 1997-1998
Please send this form with your donation to:
Antique Mechanics Society Bio & Ag Engineering
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616-5294
Please make your check payable to UC Regents
The University is grateful for the support it receives from alumni and friends. One of the ways our thanks is expressed is through listing the names of donors in various publications. Should you wish that your name not appear as a donor, please notify us if you have not already done so. It is the policy of the University of California, Davis to utilize a portion of the short-term investment income on current gifts and grants to support the cost of raising and administering funds. The University of California does not discriminate in any of its policies, procedures or practices. The University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.