It may sound like a trashy romance novel, but we have just posted our friend Clint Dixon’s article on Jabez Love and the Empire tractor. Jabez designed the first 3-point hydraulic lift for the Jeep and the Empire tractor was built using Jeep parts.
This summer we have been contacted by two individuals who were researching American Bantam tags on their plows. The first is a 16″ single bottom plow that has been in the same family since it was purchased. It is located in Virginia and is still being used to plow with a tractor.
The Bantam model is an “NSGP-16.” All Bantam plows we have seen used the same model number as used by Newgren. Newgren used a 5 or 6 character model code. The first two characters indicated the manufacturer and number of mouldboards. The codes we have seen are either “NS” meaning (we assume) “Newgren Single” bottom or “ND” meaning “Newgren Double” bottom. The next two characters indicate mouldboard types: GP – General Purpose, SB – Slat Base, or F-Forgy Base. The last characters are actually digits indicate the plow size – 12, 14, or 16 inch. So we know the above plow is a Newgren made single bottom 16″ plow with a general purpose base.
Our Bantam labeled plow has the model number “NDGP-12″as expected. Our working assumption has been that Bantam simply took the current stock of Newgren plows and replaced the tag with the new Bantam tag, copying over the model and serial number. But something else may have been happening too.
The second plow is located in Ontario, Canada and is the first example of a 10″ plow – Newgren or Bantam – that we have seen. This one is also still in use behind a Ford 8n.
The “Type” or model is “NDSC10” and the serial number is 114. As stated, all examples of Bantam plows discovered thus far had used the same model designations as Newgren. We have never seen the “SC” code, nor have we seen any 10″ model plows in the Newgren literature we have collected.
Is it possible that Bantam produced a plow that was not in the Newgren line? The “SC” code and the lack of the “-” before the “10” would indicate that this was not a direct copy. Did they expand what had been the Newgren line with a new product? Did “SC” stand for a new type of base or was it an error (it appears to be a “GP” base)? This simply adds to the mystery surrounding the final years of American Bantam. Stay tuned.
UPDATE – Clint Dixon has provide the following in an exchange of emails. As always, Clint is the source of a wealth of knowledge on all things Monroe and Newgren.
Clint writes –
“Take a look at this image:
This is Lonnie’s (DeWeese) plow (tag). It is a slat base, but the slats, furrow wheel, and bottom look out of place – more like those found on the early Newgren plows or a Wiard plow. I think this particular plow was assembled from more than one plow and have even pondered the idea that this plow may have started out as a fire plow.
Then there is this image:
Notice that the serial number is the same as the serial number of Lonnie’s plow. Too bad we cannot read the model number. It does look like it ends in a “-2”. This was on a double disk plow that sold along with a dirt scoop on ebay several years ago. Or, it may have been on the Dellinger dirt scoop. The auction really did not give a clue to which piece of equipment that particular tag was on.
I know this does not help answer your question, but it may add more to the mystery. It seems that Newgren/Bantam did not always adhere to a set model numbering scheme.
As a side note, the Monroe literature for the Dodge Power-Wagon lists a 10-inch double along with a 10-inch triple and they call both “Scotch Bases”. Both were obviously de-badged Newgren plows.
Interesting finds. Thanks for sharing.”
And then Clint writes this…
“Looking at your picture of the plow in Canada, it does indeed look like a Scotch Base. Ferguson used those bases too but I believe they did not use the “Scotch” description. They are supposed to stand the turned sod on edge – not lay it completely over – so that it can better absorb rainfall.”
So, based on Clint’s information, the Canadian plow may be a re-branded Monroe plow made by Newgren. Perhaps the “SC” code stood for “SCotch base.” In any case, this is additional data for us to use as we explore the Bantam plow story.
An ongoing project here at Farm Jeep is spreading the word about these amazing machines. As we park our Farm Jeep at various antique farm, machinery and even Jeep shows, we try to provide a story about the vehicle and its place in agricultural history. We are adding a Frequently Asked Questions About the Farm Jeep section. It will be both a part of the information presented here and at shows in the form of printed materials. This will be an evolving document and hope to hear your feedback to make it better.
It is mid-summer and antique machinery shows are in full swing. We represented Jeeps in agricultural again this year at the Pioneer Engineers Club of Indiana Reunion held in Rushville, Indiana. Just like last year, there were 600 tractors of every make and model, along with 30 or so operating steam traction engines and 1 Farm Jeep.
This four day show is one of the oldest and largest in the Midwest and is located on a club owned farm. It features a daily parade that can last over an hour. There are all sorts of farming demonstrations. A favorite is plowing demonstration using the massive steam engines. The plowing demonstration can be viewed from a hilltop.
We enjoy engaging visitor, both to tell the Farm Jeep story and to hear stories, of which there are many. We use the ad below to illustrate Willys use of women in their marketing efforts. It also usually gets remarks about the corn crop.
Spring weather here in the Midwest was extremely wet and many crops simply did not get planted or were planted very late in the season. More than one farmer remarked that the corn in the ad reminded them of this year’s crop.
Full Head of Steam
Although this is a Jeep site, we love the beauty of the old steam engines. We took a couple of hundred shots of these machines in action. We will share a few from one of the daliy parades here.
Seeing these machines is a treat for the eyes and ears (except for the noon time whistle blow that requires you to cover your ears), We strongly encourage you to visit you local antique machinery show, even if the don’t have any Jeeps. You won’t be disappointed.
In 2007 we received a note from Seamus Lefroy-Brooks of Buckingham, England about his family’s farm Jeep and brochures from the British company that had sold the Jeep to his father. Somehow this story didn’t get moved from the old Web site and we had forgotten about it until our friend Dave at eWillys wrote asking if we still had the brochure.
Seamus’ story about the ex-British Forces 1942 Ford GPW’s arrival on the farm and his description of its uses as a tractor deserves to be told again. So we have moved the story and brochure. Be sure to check out the photos at the bottom of the story.
Dave has published a series of articles on the Metamet company-
Some days we have to ask the questions. While we had made a good start on a new body for the 2a, we hit a snag when we tried to remove the steering wheel. The following is the rest of the story.
We started the 2019 show season by attending the Midwest Willys Reunion in Aurora, OH and the Willys Jeep Rally at Hueston Woods Lodge in College Corner, OH. These two shows are only 2 weeks apart and that can present logistical issues for many. But each has unique attributes that make it worth a weekend trip. If you can’t make them both, then alternate. You won’t be disappointed.
We were presenters at both shows this year, since we were screening our movie find. More on that later. This was our second time presenting at the Reunion. The first had been when the show was held in our home town of Columbus, IN and covered a brief history of the farm jeep. We filled in for a Saturday afternoon speaker who had to cancel at the last minute. That session was the beginning of the transformation of Farm Jeep to the new format were we emphasis more history and research.
This was our first time presenting at the Rally and it was an equally enjoyable experience. But it has been a special event for us because of the equipment demonstration put on by John Ittel and friends at the family farm. We are not aware of any place else one can see so many Farm Jeeps doing real work, right in front of you. It brings the Farm Jeep concept to life. This is a must see for every Jeep fan.
On with the show!
As we stated in the post about finding the movie “Revolution in Pleasentville” we wanted to show the movie as quickly as possible. Both the Reunion and Rally folks were happy to accommodate us. Each show has a unique character and this was reflected in the reaction to the movie.
Friday’s showing at the Reunion was informal in nature. We gave a very brief introduction mainly comprising of how we acquired the film. The small group gave the movie a round of applause when it finished. One of the first reactions was from the “lefty” crowd, who were amazed and pleased to see so many “lefty” models displayed.
The movie shows a number of Jeeps leaving a plant with the Monroe lift installed. All of these where the lift is visible in the rear are of the “lefty” variety (spare tire mounted on the driver’s side). Since these “lefty” Jeeps were from a very short production run in 1948, we can use this information to help identify when the film was shot. For more on the history of “lefty” Jeeps, see the CJ2a Page discussion here –
Another point of interest, that we observed in our first viewing, is that the leveling adjuster is installed on the right-hand side and the body of the lift is smooth, not embossed as were later models. This would again indicate very early examples of the lift.
There were other comments related to the location of several scenes. The film will provide plenty of material for Jeep, Newgren and Monroe researches.
At the Rally, we were the keynote presenters, so we presented some history of the Monroe Auto Equipment Company to give some context for the movie. We followed the screening with a short review of what happened after 1949 and ended with a question session.
The movie again received a round of applause and there were many questions about our plans for the film. The presentation also produced a volunteer to help with data gathering on the Greenfield event. We look forward to reporting on these efforts in the near future.
Sometimes the stars align and fun things happen. Read how a newspaper ad from 1949 led to the discovery of a Farm Jeep movie in a shop in Paris France.
Spring found us making a JPRT (Jeep Part Retrieval Trip) to southern Michigan. Barry had needed a front weight for an upcoming project and Bob V. had a spare. Bob was also located just 90 minutes or so north of Eau Claire, home of Jabez Love.
Jabez Love patented the first “Jeep Approved” hydraulic lift for the new civilian jeep. You can read the story here. After writing the article, Barry became more intrigued by Mr. Love and continues to search for more information about him. Specifically, Barry wants to know how Love ended up designing the lift for Willys.
The first time Barry had visited Eau Claire, he wasn’t prepared. He had a single copy of a Love Tractor ad to show people. This time he had a number of ads and business cards and made his first stop the Fruit Exchange.
The Eau Claire Fruit Exchange has its own history. A very young Jabez Love had designed his first tractor to serve the needs of local farmers heading to this place to sell their fruit. We are working with the fine folks at the Exchange and will be reporting about what we learn there in the near future.
We also left materials with the local historical society. Again we will be reporting more on this later. We are making great strides in learning about Love pre and post Willys, just not the critical question of how Love come to be the designer of the first lift.
In the mean time, back to the weight
We headed north to meet up with Bob. With the aid of one of Bob’s many antique tractors, we quickly loaded the weight and still had time for a look around. Barry told Bob about his Love research and Bob showed him his Love tractor awaiting restoration. In addition Bob has shared his Love literature.
From there we went into the workshop to see Bob’s Newgren lift that is undergoing refurbishment along with the rest of the Jeep. These JPRTs often result in more than an exchange of parts. We plan to stay in touch with Bob.