Took tractor for a ride

From our January 2013 issue

By Cy LawrenceMelville, Sask.
About the 1915 and up IHC Titan farm tractors…I was about 13 when WWII broke out. Being a farm boy I was soon pressed into driving a stook team – a team of horses pulling a rack that you loaded sheaves of grain on and hauled them to a threshing machine.

I was helping the neighbours with threshing by driving a stook team They had a threshing machine that was driven by a International Harvester Company Titan tractor. I had a interest of anything mechanical and soon learned how they got the Titan started.

Another neighbour that farmed from town also had a Titan tractor that they never used. We used to get our drinking water from this neighbour’s well where the Titan sat nearby in the vacant yard, so every time I got water I checked the Titan.

I convinced a couple of other farm boys my age to try to start the Titan so we got gas and oil and on the first try it started and ran well. Then we decided we should drive it around which we did, which left some telltale tracks. Now what?

We knew full well that there would some tall explaining to do of why we started and drove the Titan without the owner’s or anybody else’s permission.

Dad went to get some water from the well and when he came home he said someone has been driving the Titan around. He thought the owners had been trying to sell it. What a relief for me! I never did fess up to how the tracks had got there.

The Titan was a two-cylinder with a horizontal engine that ran about 500 rpm. Titans were power balanced where the pistons travelled unopposed in the same direction thus creating a balancing problem making things rattle and vibrate.

The Titan’s exhaust went bang bang bang bang. On the John Deere two-cylinder tractor, for example, the pistons travelled opposed. The Titan had a rated horsepower of 10-20 with lots of power to drive a 22” grain separator or pull a breaking plow. They weren’t used much for field work, mostly belt work.

On a good day, a 22” separator with for stook teams would thresh about 1000 bushels of wheat or 40 acres. The Western Development Museum in Yorkton has one that they use to drive a separator at the Threshermen’s show.

They were built in 1915 on, by the International Harvester company. The Titan was the forerunner of the 15-30 or the 22-36 and Farmall IHC line.