Fallen Leaf Lake

Sunday Night Talk - 2019

Jason T. Ryan - (T as in Tractor)


Busted and Rusted: My Experiences with Antique Crawlers, Tractors and other Junk

The IRW is a special event where we seemingly never run out of stuff to talk about. We are all united in this common passion for microelectronic device and material reliability that fuels us well into the night (and often the early morning). However, if you ask, you’ll find that most people are equally passionate about some other hobby or special interest completely unrelated to their day job. A few of these from regular IRW attendees include; airplanes, home brewing, cosmology, martial arts, geocaching, playing music, creating art, laser entertainment and an IRW favorite, hiking.

I also have a personal hobby (obsession really) that is, well, most often met with the five W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) and sometimes blank stares. I collect and restore antique machinery. This includes things like farm tractors, crawler tractors, bulldozers, stationary engines, and various implements and accessories from about the nineteen teens through the late nineteen fifties. My favorites are John Deere “two-cylinder” tractors, early gasoline Caterpillar crawlers, and just about anything else that catches my eye. As you can imagine, this stuff is often in rough shape and probably belongs in a junkyard (which is where I find them anyway).

In this presentation, I’ll mostly focus on trying to answer the most common questions I receive; what you do with them, where do you get them, how’d you get into it, how much do they cost, etc. I’ll also walk you through a typical restoration from initial purchase, disassembly, rust and crud removal, repair/refurbishing of broken parts, re-assembly, and finally paint/decals. They’ll be lots of pictures, videos, and examples from my personal collection of over thirty machines. I’ll also give some tips and guidance for anyone who might be interested in learning more or getting their feet wet in the antique machinery world.

I hope you enjoy the show.


Dr. Ryan is leader of the Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Project in the Alternative Computing Group in the Nanoscale Device Characterization Division of the Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He received the B.S. degree in Physics from Millersville University, Millersville, PA in 2004. He received the M.S. degree in Engineering Science and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA in 2006 and 2010, respectively. In 2010, he was awarded a National Research Council (NRC) post-doctoral fellowship which he spent at NIST where he is still currently employed. He has contributed to more than 65 peer reviewed technical publications and over 100 presentations at international conferences. Dr. Ryan also holds 3 patents. He has been heavily involved in the technical and managerial committees of both the IEEE International Reliability Physics Symposium and IEEE International Integrated Reliability Workshop conferences, having served as General Chair of the latter in 2015. His research interests involve utilizing magnetic resonance spectroscopy to understand the physics and kinetics of atomic-scale defects responsible for critical failure and drift mechanisms in advanced electronic devices and materials.

A small sample of Jason’s collection including (from top to bottom), 1928 Caterpillar Sixty, 1956 John Deere 420C, 1937 John Deere “unstyled” B, 1946 Western Gear Works Trail Beetle, 1922 Witte Model B, and lastly four John Deere two cylinders (1956 model 720, 1940 model H, 1956 model 420T, and 1942 model G).