Made in Colorado: A Gibson tractor restoration
for The Fence Post
Gibson Model H tractor Specifications from Nebraska tests in 1949:
Produced from 1948-1952 in Longmont Colo.
4 cylinder gas engine. 133 cubic inches
22. 77 horsepower at drawbar Hercules 1xB3 vertical L-head engine
22.09 PTO horsepower Top speed = 14.7 mph in fourth gear
4F/1R gears Front Tire Size = 5.50 x 15
Rear Tire Size = 11.00x38
Weight = 3,650 pounds
On May 2018, I attended a farm auction in Ault Colo., for the estate of Dennis Drake. The auction was conducted by AMA Auctions of Brush Colo. While observing the farm tractors lined up for sale, I noticed a Gibson Model H tractor, parked in an area all by itself. The tractor was not on the auction flyer.
After doing some inquiries about the tractor, I found out it was purchased in 2016, from the estate of Dennis Drake, by William Franklin of Greeley Colo. Franklin was a friend of Drake and after Drake passed away, Franklin decided to buy the Gibson tractor. The Gibson tractor needed restoration at the time it was purchased.
In 2017, the Gibson H tractor restoration was completed, in Greeley. Franklins stepson did the whole restoration. Franklin was able to obtain the original tractor manual, which helped in the restoration process. The Gibson H Tractor was made in 1948 in Longmont Colo.
HISTORY OF GIBSON
The Gibson Co. was founded in March 1946 in Seattle Washington by Wilbur Gibson. The company was the offshoot of the original company in Seattle that built rail cars and had begun experimentation with tractors. The decision to move the tractor production to Longmont in late 1945, was motivated by the desire to escape a setting where pressure to unionize was great.
The Gibson H tractor was produced from 1948-1952 in Longmont. Other Gibson tractor models were produced at the Longmont facility, before being sold to Helene Curtis Industries in 1952. Western American Industries resumed production in the Gibson factory from 1953 to 1958 before closing.
In addition to tractors, the Gibson Co. produced forklifts under a government contract for the Navy, during the late 1940s and early 1950s. A combination of competition and the pressure to meet production quotas of forklifts at the expense of turning out tractors are likely what led to the company’s demise. ❖
— Hamlin is a freelance agricultural historian, from Westminster Colo. He has had pictures and articles published in the Fence Post Magazine, Antique Power Tractor Magazine and Hay and Forage Magazine.
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