Transport Motor Company

We asked our friend for help in finding information on the Transport Motor Company Jeep hydraulic implement lift. His post and Keith’s comments have given us a new appreciation for this farm equipment supplier. We have reproduced part of the post here.

Transport Motor was already a strong Willys reseller by the time WWII started, so they were were well positioned for post-war sales and service. This ad was published in the October 19, 1941, issue of the Oakland Tribune as part of a larger article:

After the war, the company pushed Willys Jeeps and the associated farm equipment, though it is unclear which specific models/manufacturers of the equipment was being sold, as evidenced by this October 27, 1946, classified ad in the Oakland Tribune:

This article from the March 28, 1947, issue of the Ventura County Star claims that Transport was the first company to make farm equipment especially for the jeep (I would need to see more evidence to believe that):

Keith B. added to the discussion:

It’s been almost 25 years since I did any research on Transport Motor. When the CJ2A went into production, several of the very early ones went to TMC in Los Angeles. There is a stadium where their building was. TMC was the Willys west coast distributor.

The Main TMC facility (where the demo movies of their equipment were filmed) was actually in LODI California. When I tried to find it 10 or more years ago, the building had burned to the ground.

The TMC Lift and Equipment

The TMC lift does not allow for the use of the PTO (or even its installation). The design of the cylinder mounted to the the center of the draw bar prevents mounting the PTO in the standard position. For this reason alone, we don’t believe the TMC lift would have ever been a “Jeep Approved” option. Without a PTO we don’t believe a Jeep outfitted with a TMC lift could function as a “light tractor.”

That being said, The Campbell Films DVD “The Incredible Farm Jeep” contains several shots of the TMC lift working in the vineyards of southern California. TMC even sold a line of implements for vineyard and orchard use. Perhaps that qualifies a Jeep equipped with a TMC system to be called a “specialty tractor” rather than a “general purpose” light tractor.

More than one lift

After initially annotating the TMC movie, we began working on the Farm-Aid short film. We recognized the implements from the TMC film. Looking at the brochure, it is easy to see that most of the implements are mounted on a Farm-Aid lift, but some are shown on the TMC lift in the film. TMC may have also been a distributor Farm-Aid lifts and impelements.

The TMC Movie

“The Incredible Farm Jeep” includes a film titled “Jeep at Work” that is a 27 minute silent B/W demonstration of the TMC lift, bulldozer and other equipment. We thought it would be fun to annotate the movie using the TMC brochure. (Note: Campbell Films has graciously allowed us to reproduce stills from their films.)

Since this is a silent movie, the producer used a number of placards to explain the action.

At 0:27 the disc is introduced:

At the 0:37 mark is the “4 tools in 1” concept

At about 1:06 mark

What follows is 8 minutes of the disc being used the the four configurations

At about the 9:30 mark, the film makes a quick change. We have a Jeep, equipped with a PTO driven post hole digger. The Jeep lacks any hydraulic lift. A hand winch is used to raise and lower the auger. The TMC brochure doesn’t list a post hole digger and we find this an odd addition to a film otherwise focused on the lift and implements.

Action returns to items in the brochure at about the 10:44 mark.

The bulldozer design is an interesting one, since it uses arms down the sides of the Jeep that attach at the rear to the drawbar. Other films on the DVD show the optional bucket and fork lift in action, but in this film we only see the dozer blade.

The well dressed operator (note the suit and tie) appears to be driving a “rented” Jeep.

At about the 12:18 mark, we are introduced to the “TMC Scraper and Leveler. The brochure above shows the Farm-Aid lift. The still below is clearly a TMC lift.

This implement would be called a “box blade” today.

The plow appears to be mounted on a Farm-Aid lift. The 2-Way Automatic Plow operation was a mystery until we saw the demonstration at about the 14:13 mark. Also note the Jeep driver’s hat above and compare it to the still below. This may be our best proof that the brochure and the movie belong together.

The 2-way plow is unique. It allows the driver to plow back and forth in a single furrow, the same as a traditional tractor using a roll-over plow. Very impressive engineering. It appears to be attached to the Farm-Aid lift.

In the case of the 2-way plow, we needed the movie to understand how it worked. For the 2-bottom plow, we needed the written description. When we first saw the movie, we were struck by the absence of a depth wheel, to prevent the plow from sinking too far into the soil. The depth control is described in the 3rd paragraph above. Again, this plow is mounted on a Farm-Aid lift.

At about 17:18 there are demonstrations of three more implements mounted to the lift.

The top brochure picture shows the furrower mounted on the Farm-Aid and the bottom picture is of a TMC lift. The film shows a TMC lift.

At the 18:16 mark is the spring tooth harrow and a demo of how to detach.

The cultivator is shown at the orchard (20:40) on a TMC lift. The top brochure picture appears to be a Farm-Aid lift and the bottom a TMC. The still shows a TMC lift.

The brochure shows the cultivator mounted on a Farm-Aid lift and the film uses the TMC.

The remainder of the film is devoted to the 4-wheel low bed trailer and the lift boom. These shots appear to have been taken at the orchard and may have been how they moved all the equipment to the site. What we can’t tell is how the wagon is hitched to the Jeep.

There are several items in the brochure that don’t appear in this film. They do appear in other footage on the DVD. We plan to annotate more of the movies in the future. We hope these bit of information have added to your viewing pleasure.