So we have a discrepancy as to whether or not the Bolens Ridemaster was sold in 1947 ?
There are two people that are very knowledgeable on the Ridemasters.
One says they were sold in 1947 and the other says they were not sold in 1947.
When I got my first Ridemaster I went searching on the internet for information on them and came across Aaron who told me ( as he told Jerome ) that the first 100 Ridemasters that were made in 1947 were all test tractors and they were not sold until 1948.
I also saw on the Smokstak forum where someone asked about Ridemasters and in answering that someone made this statement:
"Type 35AA started production May 26 1948 and Type 35AB started production July 2 1948. The Ridemaster Model 35AA is equipped with 4.00x18 front tires. The Model 35AB is equipped with 5.50x16 front tires."
So ... at that time, I also accepted it as fact that the first Ridemasters were sold in 1948.
After I got the Bean Cutler, I became acquainted with Hank Watkins.
Hank bought his first Bolens tractor in 1963 when he was 21 years old.
It was a 58 Ride-A-Matic and he has been collecting Bolens tractors since then.
He currently has 7-Ride-A-Matics, 3-Ridemasters and a Bean cutler.
He was written up in the July/August 2009 issue of Lawn & Garden Collector Magazine.
He has been keeping a registry of Bolens tractors and it has 300 Ridemasters and 27 FMC Bean Cutlers on it.
Now, after talking with Hank the last few months, I have changed my mind as to when the first Ridemasters were sold.
Jerome has brought the "first year" question up again.
I thought this would be very easy to settle by checking the serial number on the engine that came with my Ridemaster.
Unfortunately, this is what the tag looks like.
Last night I did some more searching on the internet.
Other than the response to the question posted on Smokstak, I did not find any statement that provided proof that they were or were not sold in 1947.
I did find photos on the Yahoo group of a Ridemaster with the serial number R-137 and the owner says it is a 1947.
I also ran across this photo on the Antique Tractors Forum.
It is an add for a Bolens Ridemaster in 1947.
Now you have to ask yourself a couple of questions ? ......
(1) If FMC was already selling the Bean Cutler in 1946 and switched to the Ridemaster in 1947, Why would they not sell any for the whole year of 1947 and why would they build 100 tractors and scrap them all ?
(2) If they did not sell any Ridemasters in 1947 then why would they have made an advertisement for a 1947 Ridemaster ?
As for explaining the serial number starting with 101 ... it is a common practice for manufactures to start their serial numbers at a higher number.
The first FMC Bean Cutlers started at serial number #J-26181 ( this is shown in the copy of the original owners manual that I have ).
Edited by jdcrawler, April 10, 2011 - 10:21 AM.