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IH Power cultivator was first of its kind
"It's one of the most unusual pieces of farm equipment ever built," says Lester Larsen, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska and former head of the Nebraska Tractor Tests, about this IH powered cultivator built in 1915.
Larsen now oversees a collection of antique tractors owned by the University of Nebraska. Each year he sets up a tractor exhibit for the Nebraska State Fair. Last summer he managed to borrow this one-ofa-kind powered cultivator from its Colorado owner for the fair.
"When this tractor was built it was difficult to cultivate corn with a tractor because they didn't have 3-pts. International Harvester built this machine to do the job but it never caught on," says Larsen, noting that the company built 400 machines before giving up. The last one was sold in Mankato, Minn. in July, 1920.
The machine was easily tipped over due to the high positioning of the engine. The engine and rear steering/drive wheel assembly pivoted as a single unit on turns, making for an extremely short turning radius. The operator was seated ahead of the engine right above the cultivator gangs, giving perfect visibility. It apparently worked great but because it could only be used for cultivating represented a sizable investment for limited use.
Larsen says that at the time the motored cultivator was introduced, powered cultivators were a big marketing craze. Many other companies got into the act, including many small companies that went out of business soon after. Of all the powered cultivators on the market in 1917, none were still on the market several years later. International continued to use the motor cultivator in their development of a general-purpose tractor and .the Farmall row crop tractor later developed from it when they turned the machine around, put the engine at the back and the steering wheel asembly up front.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lester F. Larsen, 1205 N. 42nd St., Lincoln, Neb. 68503 (ph 402 466-1128).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #6