What better way to honor John Deere’s celebration of 100 years of the John Deere tractor than by featuring an early John Deere workhorse in this year’s first edition of Tractor Treasures? Thanks to Jim Miller and family, Kokomo, Ind., for providing the picture and information to allow us to share this restored tractor with readers.
It’s a 1941 John Deere B, purchased new by E. Sumner Miller. His grandson, Terry Miller, put the restored tractor through its paces recently, demonstrating that it could still pull a plow and till the soil.
According to tractordata.com, John Deere first produced the Model B in 1935, and continued production through 1952. Model B’s made through 1938 were unstyled, meaning they didn’t have a hood enclosing the front steering column of the tractor.
Miller’s B falls in the group known as “early-styled” B models.
Starting in 1947, John Deere changed the styling once again, with models built in 1947 and afterward known today as “later-styled” Model B tractors.
Surprisingly, in these days when garden tractors for mowing yards may have 24 or more horsepower, the original B had only 12 hp at the drawbar and 16 hp on the belt. It was rated to pull a two-bottom plow consisting of 10-inch bottoms.
The original B featured a 2.4-liter, two-cylinder engine. Several variations were produced, including the BR with a fixed narrow front end, the BO for use in orchards and the BW with a wide front end.
An early-styled B like the Millers’ tractor was rated at twice the horsepower, at 25 on the drawbar, although according to tractordata.com, it only tested at a tad over 18 hp on the drawbar. The engine was 2.9-liter, and it would pull a two-bottom plow with 14-inch bottoms. Later-styled B’s still claimed 25 hp, and produced nearly that much power in tractor tests.
Believe it or not, the Millers’ B was restored by a neighbor and close friend, Ethen Byrum, who was only 14 at the time.
If you would like to see your tractor featured in Tractor Treasures, no matter the make or model, send a large-format picture with as much information as possible to: [email protected].