A discussion in the chat room last night reminded me of something that happened when I was about 8 or 10 years old. We had a granery with 3 rooms on the bottom floor, 2 for different grains, with the 3rd as a mill room, and a loft for ear corn. We had a David Bradley Hammer mill that we powered with a 41 Farmall H via a long belt running through a hole in one wall. For those of you that have never been around one, hammer mills are extremely noisey and create large amounts of grain dust. We were griding corn one evening with me upstairs shoveling corn into the chute leading to the hammer mill and Dad on the lower floor regulating the corn flow and sacking the ground corn. It was getting dark, and there was no electricity in the granery and we couldn't use lanterns due to the grain dust. I noticed a flickering yellow light reflecting off the wall of the loft, and at first thought Dad had turned the tractor lights on trying to see, but since the only opening on that side of the building was the little hole the belt went through they weren't doing much good. After a minute or so I decide the light was flickering to much to be the tractor headlights so I leaned out of the loft to see what it was.
The tractor was on fire.
The mill was so noisy Dad couldn't hear me yell, so I grabbed a piece of 2x4 and banged on the floor over his head. When he looked up to see what I wanted I pointed outside and then began to scramble down the boards that were nailed to the wall for a ladder. I headed for the house (about 30 yards away) to get the water bucket (yes we were still carrying water then), and was thankful that for once it was full. The peoblem was the valve cover gasket was leaking oil on the manifold anf the H running under full load on the mill had gotten hot enough to iginite the oil and the fan was blowing the flames back under and around the gas tank. Dad grabbed a bucket of freshly ground cornmeal and ran out throwing it on the manifold to smother the flames, and the shoved the pulley out of gear and idled the tractor down. He didn't want to shut it off when the engine was that hot for fear of warping the valves. By the time I got back with the water, the cornmeal was just starting to burn and Dad threw the water on the manifold to put that out. It broke the manifold, but we did save the tractor with only a little scorched paint. Needless to say the leaky valve cover gasket was promptly fixed.