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Tractor Ancestry Challenged
Writers Question Tractor Journalism
September 27, 2015


few days ago TownDock.net featured a tractor on the cover. A Farmall tractor, being given away by the Pamlico History Association. Lacking knowledge in the provenance of said red tractor, TownDock Senior Management went to the historical association web site for further information. And there it was – a Farmall red tractor raffle.

However, as evidenced by two reader letters, that may not be the same red Farmall tractor.

Dear Editor,

In combing thru you recent postings, I find that TownDock’s cub reporter has grossly mis-identified the very desirable Farmall tractor being raffled by our Pamlico Heritage folks.

Rather than being a 1950 Farmall Cub as reported, the tractor is in truth the more powerful and much-coveted Super A. And a 1947 model at that. Farmall Cubs of that vintage delivered a wimpy 8.5 “drawbar” horsepower, whereas the Super A delivered a whopping 16+hp!

Both of these Farmall models were intended to let small-acreage farmers replace their horses and/or mules with a more reliable and arguably more efficient means of powering a plow or cultivator. Farmall’s name for their offset-engine design was “Culti-vision” meaning that, with the engine/radiator/etc offset to the left, the driver could see directly down on the row they were cultivating. This so as to not plow up any precious plantings that might otherwise be hidden under the workings of a regular tractor.

Back when this gentle reader was helping his granddad keep up with 67 acres, genetically-modified “Roundup Ready” corn had not been invented. One had to “cultivate” the corn to keep the weeds out for the first six weeks after germination, or at least until the corn grew high enough to be in danger of being broken over by the passing tractor. (After that, one’s granddad made one take a hoe to the field and chop out the weeds manually) The Super A was the perfect machine to maintain 3 acres of tobacco crop and 8-10 acres of corn. Plus it was so much cooler to be riding the tractory rather than hoeing!

The smaller Farmall Cub was intended for the small-plot farmer or gardener who only needed to oust weeds from much smaller one or two acre plots. So there. Despite the TownDock minion’s Northern upbringing, we are ever hopeful that he can still be taught the critical things a Southern
gentleman must know.

With very best regards,
Sam Myers
Pamlico, NC

Editor’s note: A childhood confined to a two-cycle Tecumseh push mower may have limited TownDock Senior Management’s Farmall knowledge. The editor also bows to the the above writer’s superior hoeing background.

Mr. Editor,

Sir, meaning no disrespect, I must point out, that is not a Cub, it is a Super A. I can say this because I spent a summer trucking tobacco on one of those in 1963. It is a one-row cultivating tractor, not intending to show disrespect for your perspective, but notice the fuselage is offset so the farmer can look down at the row he is plowing without his view obstructed by the fuselage. Did someone say it was a 50, I thought it was 47, it may be that the John Deere M they raffled off a couple of years ago was a 47. The John Deere M was the first tractor I ever drove, a three-speed with a transmission and torque that could pull a building down with only a 21 horsepower engine. The Farmall Super A was best for cultivating, not known for power like the M.

Sir, still meaning no disrespect, down on the farm, one rarely, very rarely used the terminology, International Harvester for a small tractor. It was a Farmall, of course made by made by International Harvester. Now the combines made by IH were often referred to as International Harvesters.

Yours in cultivation,

Ben Casey
Minnesott Beach, NC

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