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More Rare Garden Tractors
Many of Dennis Merlau’s garden tractors aren’t often seen, and he says that’s because, “I’ve always been different. I enjoy small engines and like small, unique tractors that everyone can relate to.” He owns an array of tractors, including the little Farm-Ette built by the Tom Moore Tractor Co. that operated out of Mantua, Ohio. “I bought the tractor about 13 years ago. It was made in 1954 and was their fi rst model,” says Merlau. “It came equipped with a 34-in. deck, and you could get plows and other items for it. It had a good engine and transmission. The company also built other mowers such as walk-behinds.”
Merlau says that in the 1940’s and 1950’s companies like Wheelhorse, Bohlens and others were racing to create a riding mower. As with many industries, the lawn and garden tractor industry was innovative and came up with some creative options. Some of the first riding mowers were made from kits. “In the 1930’s and 1940’s Gemco came out with a kit that converted a reel mower to a riding mower. They’re neat because they’re just gone.” One of Merlau’s more innovative tractors is the Snappin’ Turtle mower made from 1949 to 1950 in East Point, Ga., by the Southern Saw Works Co. The actual turtle arms and legs and the head appear on this little mower. “You put the starter rope around the head, then pull to engage it,” says Merlau.
Reprinted courtesy of Lawn & Garden Tractor Magazine (www.lagtmag.com)

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6