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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Squeaky Wheel: 1918

The Squeaky Wheel: 1918

Oakland, Calif., circa 1918. "Orchard tractor demonstration -- Fageol Motors Co. 'Walking Tractor'." Latest entry in the Shorpy Catalog of Agricultural Anachron­isms. 8x10 inch glass negative by Cheney Photo Advertising Co. View full size.

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Insert Obligatory Hoyt Clagwell Comment here

Well someone had to say it.

Driving one of these contraptions

... must have been a harrowing experience!

Why I come back to Shorpy

This photo is a prime example of my love for Shorpy. I Google the interesting items and increase my knowledge.

1. Painting tree trunks was common when I grew up in 1940's Florida. Both citrus and regular trees were painted but I never knew why (citrus bark is very thin when young and susceptible to sun scald).

2, The teeth on the drive wheels are removable. Most likely to aid in manufacturing as I cannot see a way to break one off in actual use.

3, That sulky seat allows for a second worker to raise and lower the disk harrow blades. If it does not swivel, then the controls do not, as they say, "fall readily to hand."


I have seen surviving steel wheels of this nature in person (sometimes one row, sometimes two, diagonal treads, or straight ones) but never anything like the rear wheel on this Fageol.

Looks like some kind of medieval torture device. Yikes.

Not for lack of lubrication.

I notice all the pictures of Fageol tractors you've posted show leaky seals on front hubs, it seems to have been a design feature. Tiller steering was an anachronism long before 1918 and must have been brutally hard work with those front wheels. Perhaps not surprising they disappeared only a few years later.

[According to the Research Department, there are no seals or bearings. Just a Flintstones-era spindle and disc, to which grease is liberally applied. - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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