In December, 2013, Regina Weidenfgeller, the President of the Hill Country Antique Tractor & Engine Club in Fredericksburg, Texas, was contacted by Jim Smith of brackettville, Texas. Mr. Smith indicated that he wished to give the club a Shaw Model R12T tractor. Mr. Smith had previously given the club four Gibson tractors and a Harvey Powerflex 10 tractor. Two club members--Cliff Ingold and Will Weidenfeller--drove to Brackettville with a flatbed trailer and brought the tractor back to Fredericksburg.

The Shaw R12T is a garden tractor with a Wisconsin Model TF engine--Serial Number 2150344-- built in January, 1953. The tractor does not have a serial number, so it's year of manufacture is generally considered to be the same as that of the engine. The engine has two cylinders, each with a 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 inch bore and stroke. The engine has a displacement of 53.9 ci. and it is rated to produce 12 hp. at 2600 rpm. The engine is coupled to a Rockwell clutch from a Model A Ford and a Borg-Warner T96 transmission--the same transmission used in Crosley, Henry J (also sold by Sears as Allstate), Studebaker, Falcon and some AMC automobiles, as well as Jeepster and Willys Jeep vehicles and a variety of other garden tractors. The differential was manufactured by Ford and Dana built the steering unit. The tractor has 7x24 inch rear tires and 12 inch front tires; it weighs approximately 1,400 lbs.

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Photos by Owen Meredith


Stanley Shaw was born on April 21, 1881, on a farm near Galesburg, Kansas. He demonstrated exceptional mechanical ability, building a human-powered tractor at age nine, a steam engine at age fourteen, and a gasoline engine at age twentyone. His education was limited to grade school and a correspondence course in mechanics. In 1903,at age twentytwo, he established the Shaw Manufacturing Company in an old drugstore in Galesburg, where he sold and repaired watches in the front  of the store and built gasoline engines in the back.

Shaw patented an air-cooled engine to power a bicycle in1905. Either an engine kit or a complete motorbike could be purchased. Within a short time, Shaw was building and selling a variety of air-cooled and water-cooled engines for home and commercial use.In 1908 Shaw developed and advertised an automobile called the Shaw Speedster--a simple machine  incorporating bicycle wheels and seats for two people. The vehicle had a top speed of approximately 25 mph. and gas mileage of 60 to 90 miles-per-gallon. The Speedster was available as a kit or as a complete automobile for $150. Shaw engines were used in early models; Briggs & Stratton engines were used in later models when the company was unable to keep up with demand. Production of the Speedster ended by 1930 when sales declined.

By 1911, Shaw had outgrown his small factory and he purchased the Kokomo Motorcycle Company of Kokomo, Indiana. However, in order to keep Shaw in Galesburg, his family built him a new factory building and he moved machinery from Indiana to the Galesburg factory. After improving the engine, Shaw sold Kokomo motorcycles for a number of years until automobiles became more readily available.

During the early 1920's, Shaw began producing tractor conversion kits for Model T Fords. In the early 1930's, a complete tractor could be purchased for $335 or a customer  could buy a kit for $160 and convert his own car. Later, tractor conversion kits were also available for Model A Ford and Chevrolet cars.

A new and larger factory was built in 1928.

Walk-behind garden tractors were introduced in the early 1920's. The Shaw Du-All was patented in 1924. The first two models were the T-25 and the T-45. Early models utilized Shaw's own engines, but his factory was not able to keep up with the demand, so he began purchasing Briggs & Stratton engines. Du-All models T-25 and T-45 were tested at the University of Nebraska in 1927 (test numbers136 and 137). Walk-behind tractors were used to cut brush, saw wood, plow, cultivate , mow and run implements like pumps, feed mills, shop tools and washing machines. The D Series of walk-behind tractors was released in 1933. Although most tractors had Briggs & Stratton engines, engines by Harley Davidson, Stover and Nelson Brothers were used on some models.

 In 1940, the Peppy Pal was introduced; it was a small cultivator with a mower attachment powered by a Briggs & Stratton 2 hp. Model N engine.

Shaw's first riding tractors--the RD Series--were offered in 1938. These were basically D-Series walk-behind tractors with riding sulkies; they featured rear-wheel steer and deluxe engine hoods. R Series tractors were issued in 1945. These were riding garden tractors with more conventional designs; they incorporated Ford drive-trains acquired from salvage yards. By 1947, this series included the Model R7, which weighed 1,274 pounds and was powered by a 7.75 hp. Briggs & Stratton Model ZZ engine and the Model HY8, a high-clearance tractor weighing about 1,350 pounds and using a 9 hp. Wisconsin Model AHH engine. The Model R7was rated for a 10-inch plow and the HY8 for a 12-inch plow. Both tractors featured three-speed transmissions and Rockwell dry-disk clutches. They were advertised as small farm tractors or large garden tractors suitable for plowing, harrowing, cultivating, raking and pushing dirt and snow with front blades.

The Shaw Manufacturing Company made parts for airplanes, tanks and airplane gun sights during World War II. The Company also sold plans for $1.00 each that enabled purchasers to build their own tractors out of used automobile parts readily available in local salvage yards. These included a walk-behind  tractor called the Jiffy Tractor, a three-wheeled garden tractor called the War Horse, and a row-crop farm tractor.

By the 1950's, the Shaw Manufacturing Company had the world's largest factory producing garden tractors and power mowers. To meet the needs of the expanding business, offices were established in New York City, Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio. Tractors, power mowers and parts were shipped throughout the United States and to a number of foreign countries. In 1953--the Shaw Company's golden anniversary--walk-behind tractors were available with 1.5, 2.5, 3 and 5 hp. engines, variable-speed transmissions, adjustable wheel widths, individual gang-tool controls and power-turn capability. Riding tractors were offered with power-takeoffs (PTOs) and choices of 5, 8 and 12 hp. engines capable of pulling 10, 12 and 14-inch plows.

The Shaw Company started building garden tractors for the Bush Hog Corporation in 1962. By the end of that year, Bush Hog had purchased the company and by the end of 1963, the Shaw name disappeared.

Stanley Shaw was revered as a kind employer and a generous philanthropist  who contributed a great deal to the well being of his employees and his community. He died in May,1981, at age 100.