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Golden Eagle: 1921

Golden Eagle: 1921

Sept. 26, 1921. "Ford tractor demonstration." Another look at the plowing bee held on the Washington, D.C., estate of former Maryland senator Blair Lee. A photo in the Washington Star identifies this young lady as "Miss Myrtle Lewton of Takoma, Md., Golden Eagle Girl Scout who received her decoration from the Queen of Belgium." National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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The gravity of the situation

was sometimes thwarted by vectors. If the fuel level in a cowl tank was low when the vehicle headed up a very steep hill, the carburetor float could get high enough for things to sputter to a halt. This necessitated drifting back down the hill backwards, restarting on more level ground, then backing up the problematic hill so the gas level would stay above the float.

Keep it simple

The tractor engine used gasoline only for starting. When running the driver would switch over to a cheaper distillate. It still had spark plugs so it was not a diesel. Henry was stubborn and insisted on keeping things simple. He did not use those newfangled fuel pumps on his cars or tractors until 1932.

Gravity Feeding...

...was a staple of Ford automobiles, at least through the Model "T." Not sure about Model As, but I think they had cowl-mounted fuel tanks, too.

Gravity fed car

The Model A Ford had the gas tank right above the driver and passenger's knees with the filling port just ahead and center of the windshield.
This gal's legs look stout enough to turn that pedal with six bolts.

Not a happy plower!

She does not exhibit the smiling radiance of a swimming pool model, does she.

But here's a male-type question: I appears that the fuel tank on this tractor is above the engine, so it could have a gravity-fed carburation system. Seems very practical to me in theory! I wouldn't want it to blow up in my face, but I never thought of such a system before.

Obviously it wouldn't have been appropriate for a passenger vehicle -- or maybe it would. Did anyone make a gravity-fed auto that wasn't a tractor?


Myrtle Lewton was born in Pennsylvania in 1904, the second of four daughters of Emilie Hempel and Frederick Lewton. Frederick was curator of textiles at the "U.S. National Museum" (Smithsonian Institution).

Myrtle died Sept. 3, 1931, having been married to Hamilton Irving Rothrock for less than three years. Her mother died in 1929.

Their gravestone is here (with an incorrect death year for Myrtle).

Shake it Up!

My dad drove a Fordson tractor like this when working on his uncle's farm as a boy in the '30s. He told me driving one of these steel-wheeled contraptions would "shake your teeth loose." He was much happier when his uncle traded it in on a rubber-tired John Deere.

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