Putting the Pieces Together

Remember the Museum's 1919 Holt 75 tractor, the one being restored? This blog has discussed it a number of times over the past year or so. Well, the work goes on.

Too big for your Honda: Jerry and Mike with the Museum’s Holt 75 engine.

Visit the Museum on any given Tuesday and you'll find the shop a beehive of activity. In one corner, volunteer mechanics might be cleaning parts. In another, they could be turning a lathe to make replacements. Elsewhere, several men might be sorting through old nuts and bolts. And off in a corner a fourth group might be pouring over an old shop manual seeking out the finer points of assembly or adjustment.

Watching the process month after month reminds me of how complex the task is. It also serves as a reminder of the tractor's massive size. Look carefully at the picture to the left. The men standing beside the engine are full-grown adults. The engine is an oversize, slow-revving, four-cylinder gasoline pushrod engine that generates seventy-five horsepower. That's less than half the power in your standard Honda Accord. The torque, gearing, and purposes of the two engines differ quite a bit, but the comparison should offer a useful basis for putting the tractor and its engine in perspective.

The Museum's Holt 75 will continue to take shape in coming months as repaired or replacement parts come together and take the form of a whole tractor. All of us here at the Museum look forward to the day when this complex and massive task is finished and workmen can fire up the Museum's Holt 75 and take it for a spin.

I plan to post pictures and progress reports on occasion between now and then. In the meantime, the San Joaquin County Historical Society welcomes monetary contributions to help the process. Let me know if you want to help. I can be reached at leighjohnsen@sanjoaquinhistory.org.

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