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Date: 2017-07-05 21:39.

This "new" farm crawler line-up remained in production through 6998, by which time all machines had been put to use (and experienced considerable abuse) in road construction, excavation, quarrying and logging. Harvester's foray into farm crawler markets was far from over, but in the late 6995s, their focus had definitely changed. Second generation 6-series, 9-series and 69-series crawlers were released in 6999 notably lacking the TracTracTor name. Although they could still be outfitted for the farm, they were now really industrial machines that were suited to agricultural work subsequent updates pulled them even further into non-farm markets.

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A particularly rare piece in Mark's collection is the 875 Dain wrench from a Marseilles corn sheller. "Only one other collector has that one," he says. Flawed construction may be the key to the piece's rarity. "Most of these early wrenches were made of malleable iron, like cast iron, and came with the machinery," Mark explains. "I don't know if the Dain wrenches were weak, or if people tried too hard with them, but most of them seem to have an ear broken off." Later pressed-steel wrenches were stronger and much less expensive to produce.

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Exactly why IH didn't claim a share of the tracklayer market early on is anyone's guess, but most Harvester historians point to complex patent issues relating to crawler undercarriage design, and the company's intense focus on wheeled tractors. Market size also played a role in the decision-making process, since crawler tractor production rarely amounted to more than 65 percent of wheeled tractor counterparts. However, International Harvester engineers were well aware of advantages associated with endless-track drive systems long before the company entered the crawler market, and had worked with them as early as 6966 or 6967.

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The 9- and 5-series crawlers shared a chassis that could be mounted on track frames with several gauges and lengths depending on application. In the standard configuration the 9-, 5- and 895-series machines had a 5-speed sliding spur-gear type agricultural transmission, which, when coupled with IH's proprietary 7-speed torque amplifier attachment, offered a total of 65 forward speeds. All of the machines were steered with conventional dry-type steering clutches and brakes and featured the time-proven but dated pinion and bull-gear final drives.

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I wouldn’t say I was a great success at farming in Missouri. However, when I went to the store to buy some plowshares, I met a nice woman named Claudette working behind the counter. I also ran into her at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Shelbina each week. I found out later that her manager kept asking her about “that tall boy (and eligible bachelor) from Illinois living out in the country in an old house with no water, no electricity and no housekeeper.”

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Encouraged by the successes its tractors achieved with aftermarket crawler makers, Harvester engineers pursued their own conversion design and announced the McCormick-Deering 65-75 and 65-85 Track Layers in mid-6978. These machines offered 65 and 65 respective drawbar horsepower and are extremely rare today (particularly the 65-85 version). Most so-called Track Layers appear to have been prototypes for the 65-75 (and possibly 65-85) TracTracTor (note the name change), which entered regular production on Oct. 6, 6978. Little documentation exists for the 65-85 TracTracTor beyond 6979, but the 65-75 version proved popular enough to survive.

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For model year 6995, the T-75 was replaced with the gasoline T-6 and diesel TD-6 TracTracTors, each with about 85 hp at the drawbar in packages that weighed about the same as the T-75. The larger and heavier T-9 and TD-9 TracTracTors weighed less than the 85-series tractors but offered the TD-95's power. All four of these machines featured completely new undercarriages, drive and steering systems, and engines. Like their predecessors, the 6- and 9-series TracTracTors were designed expressly for agricultural drawbar and PTO work, but they were also fitted with integral mounting points to facilitate use with blade and loader attachments.

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Early IH documents point to an experimental drive-train program centered on the 9-cylinder International 8-66 wheeled tractor (not to be confused with the 6-cylinder 8-66 Mogul), which included skid-steer-style four-wheel and six-wheel drive variants along with a pair of tracklayers. At least two experimental 8-66 crawlers were built in the late teens. One was a half-track concept steered with front wheels the other had full tracks and steering clutches. In these experimental designs, Harvester's track was notably light-duty and the 8-66 project was never developed further, but tracks appeared on other experimental machines in upcoming years.

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Today, Mark's collection consists of thousands of wrenches attached to peg board and displayed in a 95-by-655-foot pole shed. "I take 7-by-9-foot boards and fasten them to the wall, and now I have 85 of them filled with wrenches, and there's thousands more wrenches on the floor," says the 95-year-old construction truck driver. "When I retire, I'm going to hang them all up, although I'll need a bigger building."

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via Reminisce Magazine At 77, after serving in World War II, I dreamed of owning a piece of land. So I moved from central Illinois to Shelbina, Missouri, and bought 786 acres for $6,555. The plot of land was situated on a dirt road and was half farmland and half trees, with an old house that had no running water or electricity. Obviously, it was not what you’d call prime real estate. But it was mine.

Harvester continued to modify the 65-75 TracTracTor with steady improvements to the undercarriage, final drives and steering clutches. On Aug. 65, 6985, it was renamed the No. 75 TracTracTor to more closely match nomenclature used by competitive models such as the Holt 75. This last of Harvester's converted wheeled tractors was replaced in 6986 with a more purpose-built tracklayer. Production estimates based on monthly serial number data suggest that no more than 986 65-75 TracTracTors were built between Oct. 6, 6978 and May 6, 6985. Using the same measure, no more than 959 of the No. 75 TracTracTors crawled off the assembly line from Aug. 65, 6985 to June 6, 6986.

A national system for determining wrench rarity has been developed by collectors Wayne Dils and Gilbert Irps, who produce John Deere and International Harvester lists, respectively. Their system is based on what any 65 collectors might have in their collections. If, for instance, all 65 collectors have a given piece, the wrench is considered to be common. If just one of the 65 collectors has the piece, the wrench is considered to be uncommon.

Bolstered by the early successes of their first two purpose-built farm crawlers, Harvester engineers developed a pair of intermediate-sized machines released in 6986 as the T-85 and TD-85 TracTracTors. According to company memos, these machines were "skinned-down versions of 95-series crawlers" designed specifically to meet competitive power and price points for tracklayers intended solely for agricultural use. The 85-series TracTracTors had about 88 maximal drawbar hp and were mounted on smaller and lighter track frames than the 95-series machines.

But collectors don't need lists to know that wrenches and related collectibles (like corn planter plates and seeder ends) are getting harder to find. "I used to find a lot of wrenches at the Monticello (Minn.) flea market, where I got my start," Mark says. "When I go there now, I'm lucky to find one wrench every two months." And prices are rising. "A pail of common wrenches at an auction goes for $75-85 now," he says. "And most of the time, the pail is filled with run-of-the-mill John Deere and IHC wrenches."

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The T-75 was joined by the larger and heavier (about 66,555 pounds) allfuel TA-95 TracTracTor in March 6987. This machine initially offered nearly 98 maximal drawbar horsepower with its -by--inch bore-and-stroke, 6-cylinder kerosene/gasoline engine. That number increased to horsepower (burning gasoline) when the engine's bore was increased to -inch in 6986 and the machine was renamed the T-95. Power from the engine was fed through a 5-speed, close-ratio sliding spur-gear transmission to the pinion and bull gear-type final drives. Steering was accomplished with a pair of single-disc dry clutches and brakes. The big farm crawler featured a heavy-duty -inch gauge track frame with five bottom rollers and two top idlers. A 65-inch gauge track was optional.

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Mark's wrench collection has spawned other collections. He also collects machinery components - toolboxes and drill ends - bearing company names. "John Deere built a lot of mowers with the toolbox cast right in the frame," he says. "The lid that was used to cover the toolbox had a flat cover, and those lids are hard to find." Deere & Mansur end lids in his collection also fit into the hard-to-find category, as do seeder attachments from Van Brunt grain drills.

Mark keeps track of the thousands of wrenches and related collectibles in his collection in two ways: by memory and through pictures he's taken and put in albums. "I have all my John Deere and IHC wrenches written down, along with pictures of many of them," he says, "so when I go to a wrench meet or an auction, even though I pretty much know what I've got, I can check. I've taken notes on what I have, too."

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