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The Topeka Hiway Mower

• CATEGORIES: Machinery, Unusual • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: I recently ran across an article discussing a pre-war Topeka Hiway mower built from Ford truck parts: http://www.farmcollector.com/tractors/mowing-tractor-zmbz14octzkel.aspx I haven’t looked any deeper into this information.

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This is Joe’s DiMaggio’s Topeka Mower in Wisconsin (see more pics here)

One source argues that the Topeka Hiway Mowers were built by ‘Shorty’ Meinhardt, who founded Meinholt Machine and Welding in Topeka Kansas. Shorty’s grandson Dean Fechter now runs the business. According to Meinhardt’s cousin, the first mower they built rolled over and broke Shorty’s back. But, that didn’t stop them from building more tractors.

Yet, according to at least one data plate, the Topeka Hiway mower was produced out of Irwindale, California, a product of the American Hoist & Derrick Company. Can anyone clear up the discrepancy between producers of the mower?

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According to Marty Henson in 2009 there were three versions of the mower:

I have kept records of all of the people I know who have these mowers and information about the style, age and attachments. So far I have found three distinct styles. The oldest style appears to date to the late 1930s and uses Ford-style sheet metal and running gear. Examples are owned by collectors near Seattle, Wash., and Hartsville, Tenn.

The second style closely follows a CJ Willys/Jeep and uses a Continental 4-cylinder flathead engine, 3- or 4-speed transmission, and Dana 18 transfer case. The mower attachments on these were either a sickle bar or rotary. I think later mowers of this style included a windshield. I have found two examples of the later style Topeka Hi Way mower. One was recently sold by the Montana Highway Dept., and the other is in Lyons, Colo.

Most, if not all, of the mowers were painted yellow. To date, I have recorded the names and addresses of 11 owners in eight states. Just today I added two more contacts. By including my previous letter in your magazine, you have generated many of my contacts. I’d like to receive information from your readers about anyone who has one of these mowers or knows where one might be found. Thank you for producing such a wonderful magazine and assisting me in researching the Topeka Hi Way mower.

Here are some examples of the jeep version of the Topeka Mower:

This was for sale in December of 2014:
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This one was for sale on eBay in Ohio in 2009 (see more pics here):

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This one was for sale in Baker City, Oregon, in 2010 for $400.

Here’s an orange one:topecka1

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From the CJ-3B Page.  There’s a second pic here with the windshield up.

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Here’s a fancy one from the Antique Tractors Page

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  1. Farm Collector Magazine
  2. My Tractor Forum
  3. Lesser known tractors
  4. CJ-3B Page
  5. Here’s a tractor called a Topeka, but looks different
  6. 1960 article about Topeka Mower
  7. Partial article from 1959
 

24 Comments on “The Topeka Hiway Mower

  1. Pingback: Topeka Highway Mower, Baker City, Or $400 | eWillys

  2. DJ Bill

    There was one of these on Ebay in Kansas recently….Missed it but still interested on one. If anyone knows of any near Texas, let me know….Looks like a way to have a jeep that works for a livin’ altho with a different motor. I would like one of the hydraulic rotary mower versions like the one that was just on eBay, and I think if I added a three point I could mow a 12 foot swath at a time……and drive to my vacant lots in style.

  3. Dave Shaw

    I bought a Topeka Highway Mower off the side of the road in Ashfield Ma. this summer. I’m in the process of restoring the unit. the guy I bought it from didn’t know much about it. He told me his father in law bought it some 20 years prior. after a few hour and rebuilding the carb it started right up. all new brakes hoses, lines, and wheel cylinders. parts have been easy to come by. It has a 60″ hydraulic 4 blade rotary cutter. I have all new tune up parts. all hoses will be replaced. mower hyd motor and control valve resealed. new tires. sand blasted and new paint

  4. mmdeilers Post author

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the information. If possible, could you send me some pics? I’d like to add them to the thread: d@ewillys.com. I’ll do an updated post on them and see if I can dig up more info.

    Thanks,

    – Dave

  5. Roger Martin Ohio

    There used to be one in Greenville , Illinois in a barn I could call Buck and see if he still has it.

  6. Marty

    Buck, in Greenville, Illinois has sold his mower. I know of one for sale in Louisiana, MO for about $1000, with non-original, sickle bar mower.

    Dave,
    it good to hear that you are moving along with the restoration of your machine. I am making some progress restoring on my 1938 Topeka Hiway Mower

  7. Keith Langenhahn

    I have a restored Topeka Highway Tractor w/ snowplow that I don’t need anymore.
    Give me a call. 715-218-1929 – Central Wisconsin location. Private seller.

  8. Steve M.

    I just bought a Topeka Highway mower, It came from Montana highway dept. Was built in California. It has a 4 speed transmission, a Continental engine, windshield, and Willys/Jeep axles. . It runs pretty good and is in very good condition for the vintage. It is 4×4 with a 5 ft hydraulic sickle mower. Not sure what I am going to do with it yet. Steve

  9. David Eilers

    Steve,

    If you get a chance, could you take a few photos of it for me? Some are a little different than others and I’d be interested to see if yours differs. If you can, email them to me at d@ewillys.com.

    Have fun with it!
    – Dave

  10. aaron stohr

    I just bought a Topeka highway mower with rotary mower mine was originally orange and then was painted yellow at some time. its in nice condition with roll bar,4 speed high and low. also 4 wheel drive my cell number is 641-430-0254 I am in northern iowa .my cell is 641-430-0254 thanks

  11. David Eilers

    HI Aaron,

    If possible, I’d like to get some pics and add them to the database. I know it helps others. If you are able to do this, feel free to email them to d@ewillys.com. Thanks so much!

    – Dave

  12. Kimberley

    I have a Topeka Hiway Mower model # H-F5. Does anyone know where I can get general and/or technical info about this equipment?

  13. David Eilers

    Tom,

    What size are the brake drums, 9″, 10″, or 11″? Maybe we can track some cylinders that way.

  14. Sam Dembitsky

    To Dean Christianson: I am looking for a Topeka HiWay Mower. Do you still have iy and if so could you send some pics and price if you want to sell it. Sam Dembitsky 970-768-4054 cwforge@gmail.com

  15. David bruce

    I bought this about 2 years ago. I changed the mower And put one on off of a Ford tractor

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