Friday tractor

Farm Forum

The Friday Tractor Company of Hartford, Mich., entered the tractor model in 1948.

It was named after David Friday, the man who designed and built the attractively styled tractor that would be favored by orchard and vegetable crop farmers.

The Friday was powered by a Chrysler six-cylinder, 46 horsepower industrial engine. It had a ten forward speed transmission with a two-speed rear axle.

This gearing provided speeds of 1.9 to 35 miles an hour. It came equipped with a power take off, hydraulic control, a variable speed governor, hour meter, lights, radio and even a cigarette lighter.

The Chrysler industrial engine enjoyed a wide use in tractor manufacturing with the Massey-Harris, Love Tractor, and the Lawther Company in its custom tractor.

The Duplex Machinery Company in its custom tractor. The Duplex Machinery Company installed this power plant in the Co-op No. 2 and the Co-op No. 3 tractors.

A Friday tractor is at home in South Dakota. It is owned by Terry Lockner of Black Hawk. The 1951 model tractor is full restored. Terry stated that his was the twelfth tractor made in 1951.

Information available indicates there were 143 tractors built. The manufacturing was accomplished by as few as ten employees.

The most favored use of the Friday was to bring ripened fruit from orchards. As wagons or trailers were loaded the Friday tractor could deliver the fruit direct to the market at speeds of 30 or more miles an hour. The Friday family, incidentally, owned a large orchard in Michigan.

As early as 1939 David Friday had built a tractor from old vehicle parts. The result was called the “Doodlebug.” He entered the tractor in a plowing contest and plowed a half acre in 22 minutes, two minutes faster than competing, company manufactured tractors.

David Friday died in 1988 after a long life as an inventor of equipment for orchard use. Terry Lockner and his wife Linda had the opportunity to visit with Beverly Friday, David’s widow, several years ago.

During World War Two, David Friday agreed to assemble the Love Tractor designed by Jacob Love of Eau Claire, Wis.

Thus he became associated with both the Friday and Love Tractors.

Written by Delmer Dooley, an agricultural engineer, former high school ag teacher (Platte), expert on vintage tractors and farmer. The author lives with his wife on his parents’ homestead farm near Ramona in Lake County.