In the newsletter of winter 2003, you could read about the history of Moorstown castle. This time I write for people with an interest in machinery. And so I go back to the time I lived in Holland.
The first tractor my father and I had was an Allgayer (made by Porsche). It had a one-cylinder 12 horsepower engine. It was a bad yoke. Sometimes it bolted like a horse. Somehow the pedal would get stuck and you could not stop it. I remember once when it would not stop, my father was going around the back of the shed and turning around the old pear tree, hoping that it would run out of diesel or some other miracle would happen to stop it.
The Allgayer came to its end when it finally blew up. The engine cracked.
After that we had a Renault. The Renault was a 2-cylinder 20 horsepower tractor. It was a good tractor. We bought it in 1956, and it is still there. My sister has it and it is in working order.
Other growers had Massey Ferguson’s, Grey Fords, Allis Chalmers and Fiats. The Allis Chalmers were brought from America after the Second World War to help farmers in Europe. They ran on petrol and were very reliable.
Some growers could not afford ordinary tractors and had little two-wheel machines with handlebars for steering. The first ones were Planet’s and Trusty’s. Others were Agria and Bungards. The Planet was very popular but the Trusty could only be trusted to drive you mad. It had no reverse gear, so if you got stuck against a tree or bush you had to remove the tree or bush to go forward!
These little machines were used for transport, rotavating and mowing. On our farm we had a Bungard for rotavating and an Allen for mowing. The Allen had fingerbar for cutting and no reverse. It made a terrible noise and nobody knew about ear-protection. I worked with it for years and am slightly deaf on account of it.
In Holland we had motorised sprayers since 1936. Before that people sprayed from a barrel like the fire brigade used to, one man pumping, one man spraying.
The motorised types at that time were Hardy, Douven, Solo and Munckhof. These sprayers were pulled by a horse or the tractor and had their own engine for pumping. They had two hoses attached so two people could spray at the same time. Like a better equipped fire brigade with one driver and two sprayers.
The smaller growers had to carry a sprayer on their backs called a knapsack. In Ireland the poet Patrick Kavanagh wrote about spraying the potatoes with bluestone and lime using one of these. The chemicals would be mixed with water and pumped out by hand. Gardeners still use sprayers like these.
That is the way fruit growers in Holland were mechanised. When I came to Ireland I left the machines behind. When I came to Ireland there were many similar old tractors here. If you like you might still see them at a vintage rally.
However, I still would like to get the Renault tractor here sometime. My sister said that I could have it, and it would be handy to cut the grass on our campsite.
Tractor sketched by Brian Fitzgerald, a
guest on our campsite.
Answer the following three questions:
Q.1. How did the Allgayer tractor eventually stop?
Q.2. Give the name of a different brand of tractor.
Q.3. What did Patrick Kavanagh spray the potatoes with?
Send your entries, written on a postcard or in a letter, including your name and address (to reach us by April
23rd 2004) to:
- Spring competition,
The Apple Farm,
Entrants should be aged 12 years or younger.
1st prize: €20.00 voucher for Easons.
Runners-up (x2): €10.00 voucher for produce at our farm shop.
All correct entries will be entered into a draw for the three prizes.
Winter competition winners:
Congratulations to the winners in our winter competition.
Clare from Ballineen, Co. Cork
Evan from Clonmel
Denise and Rachel from Tipperary
Phiala and Emer from Kilsheelin