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Coleman Trucks

Posted By jhancock 6 Years Ago
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Aaron
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They put some miles on them in Salinas, the road miles don't hurt them the fields do, with the quaduaple underdrives in them it seems to take 20 feet once you push the clutch in to unwind, I put 50 miles a day on mine.


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I suppose they would not run up a lot of miles over their lifetime, but probably motor hours are high

H.S.Blake
1971 IH VCO(T)-190 Leach 2R Packmaster
Fawnskin, CA 6,750 feet above tidewater
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There were still a few of them motoring around the last time I loaded produce out of Salinas about a year ago.

Numerous examples still running around Yuma, AZ.

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Aaron
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There used to be a bunch of them in Santa Maria and one contractor in Guadalupe, I haven't seen one there in years, they all went to Denair trailers.  Up in Salinas there are still some in use.  Many of them while in use got converted over to diesel motors and  a couple got to some sort of air cooled engine, the last couple years of manufactue they went to full air brakes


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Are any of them still in use, Aaron?

H.S.Blake
1971 IH VCO(T)-190 Leach 2R Packmaster
Fawnskin, CA 6,750 feet above tidewater
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That vegatable truck was common to the Salinas and Santa Maria Ca and Arizona produce fields, was built by Salinas Valley Ford in Salinas Ca, using a Fabco front end and transfer case, the rest was all Ford, I had one and I talked to the owner of SVF at a tractor show in the 90's, Ford gas job under the hood, Ford Steering box and pedels, Ford/Spicer main trans with  Spicer auxlierly, the early trucks had army rear ends that they had build special axles for and extensions, then had one piece units built a little later, the front rear drive axle had a shoulder bearing on it so that the rear axle had its own driveline, between the main,aux,transfer case,front and two rear axles there is 14 U-joints, I changed most of them while i had it.  Mine had a 3208 in it I ran duel stacks with baby resonators and irrigation pipe up the headach rack, it sounded pretty good.
http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/b94c314f-e8c8-40f6-8b53-8e49.jpg


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Thank you for the research, Mr. Trout. Very interesting.
Years ago I used to think the "Coleman" in A-C was related with camp stoves and lanterns!



H.S.Blake
1971 IH VCO(T)-190 Leach 2R Packmaster
Fawnskin, CA 6,750 feet above tidewater
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FABCO – A "BRIEFLY-SHARED PEDIGREE" WITH AMERICAN COLEMAN

FABCO – As background, the "F.A.B. Manufacturing Company" was first organized in December 1918 by founders Knud Jorgan Freitag, Howard Dearborn Ainsworth and Joe Beane. By 1919, they had started to offer extended truck frames for the Model T and TT, and the company name, "F.A.B. Manufacturing Company" was soon abbreviated to "FABCO." By the late 1920s, they had expanded into "specialty" truck and trailer equipment for the agriculture and logging industries, and after WW-II, the company decided to focus on the manufacture of all wheel drive units and other specialized medium and heavy duty truck equipment, to include fire trucks. Based in Emeryville (bordered by Oakland), most of their sales have tended to be in California, to include most lettuce trucks used throughout the 1960s and 1970s in the Central Valley.  FABCO lettuce trucks have also been seen in the San Luis Valley in Colorado.   (FABCO is unrelated to the St. Louis-based heavy equipment supplier, also called FABCO, owned by the Fabick family.)

American Coleman – What eventually became "American Coleman was first founded in 1916 by inventor Harleigh Randall Holmes (1881-1963) , who patented his "Holmes Front Drive (HFD)" which involved a very unique "power-yoke" assembly to turn a wheel by its rim, rather than its center. Basing it on his new steerable front wheel drive, Harleigh also founded the "Holmes Truck Manufacturing Company," later re-branded as the "Plains Motors," then "Coleman Motors," and eventually "American Coleman." From the very beginning, Holmes had the financial foresight to retain the patent for his Holmes Front Drive (HFD), and continually received royalties for each front drive axle (FDA) installed, regardless of corporate name changes, or the FDAs being sold for installation by other manufacturers. Even after inventor Harleigh Holmes sold out his shares in Coleman Motors on 15 Sep 1950, he had continued to receive $50 in royalties for each and every Holmes FDA installed throughout his semi-retirement.  To clarify, what are almost universally known in common conversation as "Coleman FDAs" are actually "Holmes FDAs" installed per licensing agreements on a roylaties-per-unit basis.  Holmes was always the actual original patent holder.   

The FABCO "Holmes Front Drive" License – Even after entering into semi-retirement, Harleigh's ever-inventive mind was still actively exploring ways to improve upon his very unique front drive axle (FDA), and accordingly, he continued to do business as the "Holmes Front Drive" (HFD) company.  After much experimentation, "Harl" soon realized that he could achieve yet another 8-9° of turning radius if he simply "flipped" the power-yoke assembly around and "turned" the wheel rim from the "inboard" side, rather than the "outboard" side, or that is to say, from the axle-housing side, rather than what had previously been the "hub side."  As background, both his son Lee E. Holmes and son-in-law Cyrus Weeks had just recently gone to work for FABCO, so the company was an obvious choice, and after appropriate demonstrations and field testing, FABCO soon purchased a license on 9 Dec 1953 to install the "Holmes Front Drive"(HFD) on all their truck product lines. In order to protect his newly-updated invention, Harleigh, together  with his son Lee E. Holmes, jointly filled for a patent on 16 Aug 1954.  FABCO continued to use the Holmes Front Drive (HFD) on their 4x4 conversions, lettuce trucks, trailer-spotting tractors, and other product lines into the 1960s, when they fully replaced it with a front drive axle of their own patented FABCO "SDA" (Steerable Drive Axle) design.

Howe-Coleman – As an interesting side-note, when the Howe Brothers (having just recently lost their Coleman-distributorship in 1950) were still floundering around in the early 1950s, trying (unsuccessfully) to patent their own Howe-Coleman FDA, they continued to consider all options, and by 1951, had entered into ongoing correspondence with Harleigh Holmes regarding, among other things, his newly-updated FDA. While the general "tone" of the extensive personal correspondence between Harleigh Holmes and Frank Howe was very warm and friendly, at the end of the day, FABCO won out with regard to competing licensing proposals.


http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/c9790817-11e8-46d3-86af-36b4.jpg
FABCO Catalog Sheet (obverse side) for the "FABCO-Holmes" FDA conversions, which were actually Homes Front Drive (HFD) conversions  being installed in accordance with their 1953 licensing agreement with inventor Harleigh Holmes. Source: Craig H. Trout Collection, please credit.

http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/78848a78-8188-46e1-b05b-ccbc.jpg
FABCO Catalog Sheet (reverse side) for the "FABCO-Holmes" FDA conversions. Source: Craig H. Trout Collection, please credit.

http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/b1ded7bc-ed77-49c4-bcc8-59d2.jpg
FABCO factory photo of a Homes Front Drive (HFD) installed on a 1954 Chevrolet pickup. Since FABCO held the license to actually manufacture the FDAs, most heavy castings were stamped "FABCO," thus leading to potential errors in the correct  identification on much later models as to whether it was a version based on the original Holmes FDA patent, or the later FABCO SDA patents.  Source: Craig H. Trout Collection, please credit.

http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/fab4696e-0d6c-40fd-b9c8-062b.jpg
FABCO factory photo of a 1954 Ford F-900 flat bed, with the basic framework for a drilling rig, and fitted with a Homes Front Drive (HFD) axle, demonstrating the greatly-improved turning radius.  Source: Craig H. Trout Collection, please credit.

http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/4e263e69-b1aa-4873-976a-f2cb.jpg1
1954 Patent Drawing of "Holmes Front Drive" axle with improved turning radius.  Later patents by L.J. Ainsworth (descendant of one of the FABCO founders) and others all look very similar to the original Holmes patent, and it takes a trained eye to eventually find the significant mechanical differences.   While the Howe Brothers had failed to successfully patent their own version of a Holmes FDA, FABCO was successful in making sufficient changes for their own patent application to be approved and granted.   Source: US Patents Office

http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/2c79c946-255b-4911-9f69-7f39.jpg
Due to the similarities between the original Holmes FDA patent, and the later series of FABCO SDA patents, it is often difficult to correctly identify a Holmes FDA on FABCO products. As a very general rule-of-thumb, if the vehicle was built between 1953 and the early 1960s, it is probably a Holmes FDA, and anything later probably has a FABCO "SDA." The switch-over date estimate is still "very soft," and research continues. Source: Craig H. Trout Collection, please credit.


Craig H. Trout
ATHS Life Member

Researching Holmes / Plains / Coleman / American Coleman Trucks
and selected production partners, such as Columbian Steel Tank, Quick Way Truck Shovel, Howe-Coleman, International Harvester, Marmon-Herrington, and SnowBlast

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Sorry for off (edit) Coleman topic but I saw a 359/FABCO conversion bull wheel puller truck at an auction in the 80's that the rear drive shaft was spun off at the pinion so they drove it in the auction with the front axle. Someone got it for 1100. Wish I had taken more pictures back then, that thing was a brute! Cab must have been 10 feet up.

H.S.Blake
1971 IH VCO(T)-190 Leach 2R Packmaster
Fawnskin, CA 6,750 feet above tidewater
Jeff Lakaszcyck
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Brocky, Sicard did use a Dodge cab, but that is a mid 1950's Ford cab on the Federal. Here is a different photo from George Fiebe.

http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/8428b1a3-019b-426d-a61a-30b9.jpg

Jeff


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