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Twin City 20-35 Prototype?

Mark Schneider

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11/14/2018
I have a question about this picure that is in the book "Twin City Tractor Photo Archive" by P.A. Letourneau. The picture shows a storage room filled with early 12-20 Twin City tractors. But the tractor in the foreground is not a 12-20. The fuel tank and saddle look like 20-35 parts to me. But then on the motor there is an early "12-20 style" intake manifold with a Pierce governor assembly. Also note the unique hand hole covers on the block.

If this is a 20-35 some of these parts do not show up in the 1924 repair parts list No. R-721. However the engine physically looks too tall and the hood too long to be 12-20 stock.

Any insights?
 

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Jeff Blaney

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32
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01/25/2020
It is very possible. From what I understand the 20-35 was still in the design stages throughout the late teens and was finally made available to the public in 1920 (the same year the photo was supposedly taken).

It is difficult to tell due to the tractor being in the foreground and its bottom half out of the frame. Those monster front wheels would give it away instantly. From my perspective it does look larger than the 12-20's pictured behind it, especially when you consider the gas tank and height of the fenders.

Awesome observation by the way. I've studied that picture many times and never picked up on this.
 

Mark Schneider

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11/14/2018
Yes that intake manifold does throw a guy for a loop. A person automatically assumes that it's an early 12-20. However on the 12-20's and 17-28's most of the steering wheel and the top part of the brake lever can be seen over the top of the fenders from a side view. On a 20-35 only the top portion of the steering wheel can be seen. The controls are clearly in the right spot for this to be the first of the big twin cams.
 

Phil Johnson

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07/12/2019
I wonder what that one used for valve lubrication? There are no oilers visible through the hood as there are on all the 12-20s in the picture. I also think that this may be a 20-35 prototype due to it's size and already mentioned features..
 

Stuart Landry

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07/12/2019
Looks like 20-35 size tractor,
As the bottom tank of radiator is cast with the engine support frame ,i think the smaller TC tractors have a separate bottom radiator tank ?
 

Tony Thompson

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Last Subscription Date
09/18/2019
Mark,
You are definitely a detail oriented person!
I got my first photo archive book in 1994 and studied it so hard under bright light and magnifying glass that I wore it to pieces and had to get another copy.

You are correct, that is an early short fender 20-35.
The block and head set are very different in much more than size between the big and little tractors. The first 20-35's appeared along with the TC trucks (there is one sitting behind the big TC) and had rear wheels with a rolled edge like 12-20's.
The books were a great photo source, however, they had painfully incorrect text that did not even match some of the photos...that photo may have been taken in 1919?
Tony
 

Jeff Blaney

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32
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01/25/2020
I wonder what that one used for valve lubrication? There are no oilers visible through the hood as there are on all the 12-20s in the picture.
Phil, I imagine that the oilers were placed beneath the hood on this prototype. I couldn't see MSM equipping these prototypes with a pressurized system like those on the 27-44 and then move backwards, equipping production tractors with drip oilers?

My 27-44 has cut outs on the hood for drip oilers yet it has a pressurized system. I figure there was an old hood in the parts pile when my machine was assembled.
 

Mark Schneider

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11/14/2018
Here is another interesting picture of the Twin City 20-35 prototype from the book "Twin City Tractor Photo Archive" by P.A. Letourneau. It is incorrectly labeled as a 12-20 but it is clearly the 20-35 prototype during a in-field testing run. Note there is no air filter on the carburetor and no lugs on the rear wheels making it unlikely that this unit was sold to a customer.

There are a couple of clues that the engines in these prototypes were different than the ones that ended up for sale. One is that the original engine size may have been 5 1/4"x 6".
 

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OTTO-Sawyer

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57
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07/15/2019
...... It is incorrectly labeled as a 12-20 but it is clearly the 20-35 prototype during a in-field testing run. Note there is no air filter on the carburetor and no lugs on the rear wheels .....
and as you noted earlier..... On a 20-35 only the top portion of the steering wheel can be seen...

:salute:
 

Tony Thompson

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Last Subscription Date
09/18/2019
This photo is poor,
I hope it shows up good enough to see one of the rare early 20-35 short fender
TC's. The first few had rear steel with rolled edges on them like 12-20's. Regular production rears were thicker with a squared off outer edge.
The "TC" letters cast into the top radiator tank was smaller on the early short fender models as well. The fenders were actually 12-20 fenders that were re-arched or stretched open to match the large diameter wheels of the big tractor.
Tony
 

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Mark Schneider

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11/14/2018
So Tony...it has rolled wheel edges on the rear, short fenders, and the small TC emblem on the radiator. Is this illustration the left hand 3/4 view of the early 20-35 picture you posted? Note the position of the water pump. Also no valve oilers or rocker cover vents.
 

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Tony Thompson

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Last Subscription Date
09/18/2019
Covert,
There are several early regular production short fender survivors.

Mark,
Yes, that is the other side of the same tractor we are calling a prototype in this thread. Here is a re-run of early oddities...
Stretched narrow 12-20 fenders, narrow rear steel with rolled edges, smaller water pump looks more like 12-20, small letters on radiator, some different mostly unidentified oiling features and a tiny dry air cleaner that was likely made by Bennett.
I was studying MS&MC real hard 20 years ago and the knowledge I have on the "prototypes" was gained the same way you are getting it. You are one of about three or four people who ever saw this much information in what little early literature there is on these great old machines.

Covert & Mark,
There are no known survivors of the prototype machines shown in the pictures we are discussing.

From MS&MC and other company history that I have read it was not uncommon to have made as little as two prototypes for testing and development. Sometimes these machines had their own serial numbers that fell outside of regular production. No information has surfaced regarding the numbers.
Regular production had wider rear steel, larger water pump, Aluminum oil pan and aluminum valve covers.
MS&MC almost went down between 1920 & 1923 so the 20-35 got off to a slow start with minimal printed literature being released. Production was so slow at that time, the company turned one-third of the plant into a locomotive repair shop in an effort to survive the financial storms caused by the post world war 1 depression that gripped the nation until around 1924.
Under this clever plan (contracts with local railways) the plant could house and repair 25 locomotives at one time. There is recorded text of this event, but I have never found any pictures of trains being repaired in the plant. There must be photos of this event somewhere :shrug:

Thanks for interesting thread Mark, perhaps some one with a sharp eye like you will pick up some more tidbits of missing information that I missed.
Tony
 

Jim Anderson

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01/23/2017
The parts book shows the wheel guard brackets changed after serial number 3300.
With the first 20-35 listed as number 3201 it would look like the first 100 tractors were short fenders.

Here are two pictures of a 12-20 prototype.
12-20-4.jpg 12-20-7.jpg
 

Mark Schneider

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11/14/2018
Have you ever wondered how the 641 cubic inch Big Twin Cam ended up with such a low horsepower rating? 20 HP on the drawbar and 35 HP on the belt.
So when Twin City sent #3217 to the Nebraska test grounds it very nearly equaled its belt HP rating on the drawbar pull! Actual results were 34.12 HP on the drawbar and 46.88 on the belt.

So was this as close as the engineering department could get? Their figures seem a long ways off.

A little over a year ago I fell prey to Tony Thompson's Twin City sales pitch and I bought an early 1926 Twin City 17-28. I got most of the problems ironed out on that one and got a lot of enjoyment out of it as both my grandfathers had this model also. My thought's started to stray toward getting a 20-35 to work on so I ordered a reprint parts manual to learn a little about them. When I got it the engine size was stated as 5 1/4" x 6" on the front cover. Like...where did these figures come from?

It would be basically a 12-20 engine with a 1" overbore and 520 cubic inches which would be a much more realistic candidate for the 20-35 HP rating. My theory is that this smaller displacement engine is where the Big Twin Cam engine development started and where the 20-35 rating originally came from.

On the inside pages the normal 5 1/2" x 6 3/4" bore and stroke is listed. The cover must have missed the proof reader!
 

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Jim Anderson

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01/23/2017
Here is a copy of the front page from the 1st edition. It appears the bore and stroke was a misprint on the 2nd edition.
1st edition 20-35.jpg 1st edition 20-35 details.jpg
 

Mark Schneider

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11/14/2018
Well that appears to be one short lived theory! It just goes to show how far a North Dakotan's mind will wander when it drops below 0...:bonk:

One wonders just how good this parts book revision is given the fact that the front cover didn't even get copied correctly!

Jim... those were great photos of the 12-20 prototypes. After owning a 17-28 I can see more than a few initial ideas that got dropped before regular production started. I found the removable pushrod covers on either side of the block to be quite interesting.
 

Tony Thompson

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Last Subscription Date
09/18/2019
(quote) One wonders just how good this parts book revision is given the fact that the front cover didn't even get copied correctly! (quote)

Mark,
The boredom inspired by sub-zero temps had me enjoying your historical dig through TC history also.

The clarifying misprint that Jim pointed out jars my memory of just how hokey some of the early drawings were and how many times there were misprints or pictures did not match captions. The drawing on post #12 looks like it has light duty 12-20 rear wheels on a 20-35 :rolleyes:

I experienced this frustration often when I was trying to catalog MS&MC history for my own satisfaction and to build a tribute website for these remarkable tractors.

Here is a re-cap for newbies and young folks...
Twenty years ago the only published information on the Twin City line was done by the Prairie Gold camp. They studied MM and published a small amount of the post merger TC history. The MM club had only listed serial numbers from 1930 and newer with all of the unknown getting dumped into a vague "pre-1930" heading or title.
I became fascinated by the fact that MS&MC had engineered a tractor in the teens that was so well done it would get re-rated ten years later to better reflect it's actual power out put and sell many more years after that with only minor changes to the original design. The 12-20 was already ten years old when MS&MC started calling it a 17-28...that is a hefty statement given the time frame!
It took me many years to extract and catalog enough history to secure a basic list of the whole product line that had enough public appeal to create a helpful website.
I have two confessions to make after all these years...
#1... I had just purchased my first computer less than fifteen years ago and everything about it seemed to be a long walk uphill against the wind. I actually used the building of my TC website to learn how to type, improve spelling and how to use a computer.
#2... I can't remember anything anymore so I must log on to my own website occasionally to keep myself in check :bonk:
New Smokstak members can look here...

http://twincitytractors.tripod.com/

Become a subscriber to Smokstak @ $20. yearly for added benefits!
Forgetful people like me....did you remember to send Harry $20. ???
Happy 2016 everyone and good luck on all your projects!
Tony
 

Mark Schneider

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11/14/2018
Tony...As I study the picture in post #12 I can see three unusual characteristics that I can't seem to find in any pictures.
1. Already mentioned width of rear wheels. In the illustration they appear to be around 14" wide at the most. I did notice in the prototype picture on post #8 that some kind of wheel band extensions have been added so maybe the wheels were narrower to start with?
2. The mounting of the water pump and magneto. A decidedly 12-20 appearance with the pump mounted in the center of the block and the mag bracket attached toward the back side of the block. Unfortunately the prototype pictures seem to be right side dominant so there isn't any actual photo available yet to check out the left side details.
3. The front axle yoke has the "Comfort Control" spring mounted in it like the earlier 12-20's had. Was this ever really an option on the 20-35?

Do you have a print date on the tractor ad shown on post #10? A 3/4 view of this tractor would be useful...
 
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