Friday Tractor 2Dear Ole Mechanic;

I just got back from a trip to northern Ohio to visit some long-time friends. While there, we went to an antique tractor and fall harvest show. I have never seen so many different tractors in my life. One in particular caught my eye. It was a Friday tractor. It had a sleek look to the sheet metal and a good-sized six-cylinder engine. I went by that display several times but never did see anyone near it to answer my questions. It was the only Friday that I saw at the show. I have never seen another one, and I have been to several shows here in Texas. I know that you are involved with the tractor and engine club in Fredericksburg, Texas. Can you shed any light on this unusual tractor?

Thanks. Antique Farm Kid.

Dear Farm Kid;

A lot of tractors? Yes, because they have been farming in the Midwest a little longer, and the flatness means more farms. They didn't need to work around our hills. If my information is correct, the German settlers came to the Texas Hill Country in the 1840's and 1850's. My great-grandfather left the Finley, Ohio, area in the late 1860's in a covered wagon because it was "getting too crowded and the good farm land was already taken." The more farms, the more farm tractors.

The sleek sheet metal that you saw on the Friday was commonly used in orchards on not only Friday tractors, but many other brands of tractors as well. The smooth sheet-metal would not catch on tree limbs, and therefore would not damage the trees in the orchard. The Friday tractors were made in Hartford, Michigan, specifically to work in the apple orchards of Michigan; although, a few were also used in the cherry orchards. Friday never built anything but orchard trctors. Since most orchards did not have a processing plant on site, they collected the apples or cherries in baskets on a trailer, and a team of horses or a tractor would pull the trailer out of the orchard. Then, the baskets would either be transferred to a truck, or the trailer was hooked to a truck to get the produce to a central processing plant. That was faster than using horses or a tractor to pull the trailer to the plant. At least that was true until the Friday tractor came along.

Friday Tractor 1The Friday had a Chrysler industrial six-cylinder engine. It was the same basic engine you got in your new 1947 Plymouth. The Friday also used Dodge truck transmissions and rear axles. For work in the orchard with the transmission in low first gear, the tractor would move at about one and one-half mph (miles-per-hour). The tractor had nine speeds forward. In the top gear, the Friday was officially able to go over 30 mph. I have heard that one was clocked at 50 mph. In short, a truck was not needed because the Friday had no trouble keeping up with late 1940's traffic.

Since the orchard model was the only model that Friday made, the production was very limited and they were only produced from 1947 to about 1957. Also, they only built one when an order came in The major manufacturers could make orchard sheet-metal for their existing mass-produced models. Without mass production, the Friday was doomed to become what is called an "orphan" or "odd-ball" tractor.
The Chrysler industrial flathead six-cylinder engine was used in several different "odd-ball" tractors. Montgomery-Ward even sold a tractor that used the Chrysler engine. The engine was a very durable one that had a lot of power for its weight when compared to most tractor engines. I hope that I have given you the information you wanted.

Herr Professor Nuzanbolts.  Love Tractor

Note: The Love Tractor was the predecessor of the Friday Tractor. A Love Tractor is shown on the right.