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Harry Truman's road grader


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#1 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted April 20, 2016 - 09:28 PM

The MRS. and I went to dinner with friends Sunday evening.  They live 45 miles away so we don't get together as much as we'd like. They live near the largest amish community west of the Mississippi River. 

He had recently went to an amish auction 1/2 way across the state with some friends from his local amish community.

He bought this horse drawn grader.  The grader was one of the first items to sell in the auction. My friend liked this because it is smaller than most. 

Front wheels are 18 inches across for a size reference.  It fit on his 16 foot trailer with room to spare.

Its made for one-man operation.  There never was a seat.  The operator stands near the rear on a [long gone] wooden platform, running the controls and horses too. 

Before the sale started he was admiring the grader and a fellow walked up and ask him if he was interested in the machine.  Admitting he was intrigued, the man told my friend that grader was once owned by Harry S. Truman.  Supposedly there was documentation of ownership but the former owners house burnt to the ground so the proof was lost.  This grader has been a yard ornament for some time.

[For you overseas members,  Truman was President of the U.S.A. in the later part of WWII and made the decision to drop the bomb on Japan.]  Truman also had a farm close to where this auction was.

After the purchase,  my friend was loading his new prize and another fellow came up to him and offered the exact info on Mr. Trumans ownership.  This man was clearly upset and short with my friend at first.  As they talked he losened up some and stated that the auctioneer promised that this grader wouldn't sell before 1PM.  This man's father had also owned the grader and this man wanted to purchase it back.  He seemed somewhat relieved that it went to a collector and would be preserved.

One of the two men also offered info that somewhere in one of the Truman museums there is a picture of Mr.Truman sitting on this grader.   My friend plans to seek out that picture and try to redocument the machine so its history is not lost. 

He has also been trying to identify the brand and has sought the advise of experts here in the USA and in Canada as to its identity. 

 

Truman grader 1.jpg ,Truman grader 2.jpg


Edited by Gtractor, April 20, 2016 - 09:29 PM.

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#2 wvbuzzmaster ONLINE  

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Posted April 20, 2016 - 09:33 PM

Now that is a cool buy indeed.
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#3 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted April 20, 2016 - 09:39 PM

Preserving history is an amazing feat.
Time and the fates conspire against you. Houses burn, memories fade, wood rots away.

I hope your friend can find a trail to at least breathe some life into the folklore.
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#4 wvbuzzmaster ONLINE  

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Posted April 20, 2016 - 09:55 PM

Preserving history is an amazing feat.
Time and the fates conspire against you. Houses burn, memories fade, wood rots away.
I hope your friend can find a trail to at least breathe some life into the folklore.

Not to mention older generations die off...

I always fear losing history of the family owned artifacts due to their intermixation into the collection. Some are tools, some are tractors, some are parts of other things or household items. There is a taillight on my great grandmother's 1966 Dodge Dart that has about a dozen dents in the bezel chrome that my uncle told me "can never be replaced because my great grandfather used that taillight when backing the car into the garage to know when it was backed all the way in and clear of the door."
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#5 HANKG OFFLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2016 - 05:48 AM

That's got a lot of wow factor, I think he nick named it little boy.  :smilewink:


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#6 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2016 - 06:19 AM

It looks like a "Taft" made in Pomfret Connecticut. There are still some of them around the northeast corner of CT. Most are the bigger models. The town of Chaplin has one that they were using in parades 20 years ago. 43 years ago I was hiking in the Blackhills of South Dakota where we came across a small one. There was a 6 inch diameter tree growing up through the middle of it. Good Luck, Rick


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#7 crittersf1 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2016 - 08:32 AM

The "crack heads" around here would've already scrapped that


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#8 pick-to-stone OFFLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2016 - 11:19 AM

Dude nice buy you got any hourse to use that old grader
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#9 UncleWillie ONLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2016 - 11:57 AM

That is cool.
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#10 tiretrx ONLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2016 - 01:06 PM

Cool piece of history, either way. Would be sweet to tie it to "Give 'em he11, Harry", though. Good luck with the detective work, and please keep us in the loop  :thumbs: 


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#11 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2016 - 06:21 PM

Never seen one that size. Know the larger ones were used by the county to maintain roads,

Wifes grandfather had one to maintain his 1 mile long lane, Pulled it with a B John Deere. they would do a good job.


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#12 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2016 - 08:19 PM

Dude nice buy you got any hourse to use that old grader

He does have some mini horses - too small to do any work. 

He also has a Oliver HG crawler but even that is too big for this thing.



#13 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted April 22, 2016 - 08:18 AM

He does have some mini horses - too small to do any work. 

He also has a Oliver HG crawler but even that is too big for this thing.

Funny you would say that, My brother subscribes to Farm Show Magazine and gives them to me when he is done with them,

I was just reading about a guy who has scaled down his haying equipment so it could be pulled with mini-horses.

He thought it was wrong for people to have mini horses and not do anything with them.

I have thought it might be fun to work a team, but sure could not justify a team of Belgians on my acreage.


Edited by JD DANNELS, April 22, 2016 - 08:20 AM.

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#14 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted June 18, 2016 - 12:16 AM

UPDATE:

 

My friend went to the Truman library in Independence, Missouri trying to prove this grader belonged to Truman. 

The staff there were most helpful,  looking through old pictures and digging for any info related to the grader. 

No pictures of any graders were found.  There is proof that Truman rented out some of his teams to the county to pull county-owned graders.  This was common practice in the days before gasoline and its related per-gallon road tax. 

 

We may never know........


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#15 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted June 18, 2016 - 09:56 PM

Spent several hours with Ron today.  He's the guy that now owns this grader.  He said he's been emailing some "antique construction machinery" or "antique road grader" association. [I can't remember the name - think its in Canada]

The guy there was also most helpful and had Ron send him several measurements from the machine.  When the official word came back it was something to the effect of.....

"I have no idea what brand it is." 

As of now Ron's still working on the machines identity. He has an appointment next week with the sandblaster man.  Its getting a full rest-O one way or the other.   Be nice to find the brand soon so it can be the correct color when he paints it. 

 

Update:

There was no brand name found after all the paint was removed during the sandblasting process.


Edited by Gtractor, July 10, 2016 - 05:42 AM.

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