Tips for Finding a David Bradley Garden Tractor

With a little bit of patience and luck, you just might be able to turn a number of your farmstead or garden chores over to the David Bradley tractor, which was made by Sears during the mid-20th century.

| May/June 1982

A few months back a friend pulled into our driveway and leapt from his pickup with a grin fit for payday in county fair week.

“Will you just look at this?” he asked, waving to the truck bed. Well, we strolled over (not wanting to appear too interested with a rusty pile of junk that looked for all the world like the result of a head-on collision between a runaway lawn mower and a tractor).

“Great!” we both exclaimed, exchanging glances and trying to figure out just what the device might be. However, our buddy was apparently too overcome with enthusiasm to take note of that hesitation.

"It's a David Bradley walking tractor," he gloated . . . and then went on to tell us a little about the machine. It seems that Sears, Roebuck and Co. produced these remarkable little iron horses between 1933 and 1964 as part of a large family of agricultural machinery bearing the same name. Now, there's no way of knowing just why that firm stopped selling the "DBs," but our friend guesses it was because the tractors were just too danged well made. No one, he asserts, would ever be likely to have to order a second David Bradley.

We were still somewhat skeptical, but — seeing as how the dilapidated-looking implement had cost our pal only $40 (and had been purchased with seven different attachments!) — we decided to withhold judgment until the tractor could be cleaned up and put to the test. As it turned out, we didn't have to wait long. Within two days the DB was overhauled and painted. An 8-inch turning plow was attached for the occasion, and with no little ceremony the mechanic who’d fined-tuned the engine fired her up and engaged a gear.

We watched in amazement as the David Bradley dragged that 6-foot 4-inch, 250-pound individual some 20 feet before he could disengage the transmission — and it plowed a beautiful furrow in the tough, overgrown turf while doing so. Suffice it to say that we tell in love.

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