Collection Honors IH Legacy
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In the backyard Butch has installed a hand pump and Thermoil engine like those from the backyard of his childhood home. “I wanted to get across the idea of how things were in the olden days,” he says. “We used the engine to pump water for the horses, but there were times when we had to pump by hand to get them water.” A small-scale version of the display is housed in one of his toy rooms.
Butch’s collection even includes a model of an IHC dealership. “In the 1940s and ’50s, all IHC dealerships had to be built alike,” he says. “If a dealer wanted to erect a new building, he had to use the IHC blueprints. This one was made for me from those original blueprints.”
A custom-built backyard building contains the dealership model, as well as large IHC items, including a Planet Jr. corn planter, framed photos of IHC events and an IHC mailbox. In front of the building is a McCormick-Deering bench with wheels. The wheels are from an old McCormick grain drill and the bench back is the drill’s lid. The rest is sawed lumber. Nearby is a rusty Farmall gas tank with holes cut in the top to hold flowerpots. “A friend of mine talked me into that,” Butch says, shaking his head.
No big tractors – yet
Butch’s collection is unusual for what it doesn’t have: big tractors, often the main focus of many IH collectors. “I’ve thought about getting one of the bigger ones,” he says. “I’d like to have a 1206 someday. In fact, I wouldn’t mind having one of everything we had on the farm, a couple of M’s and Super C’s, a 400 and 650, all IH.”
For now, Butch has settled for smaller tractors: four Cub Cadets and a Cub Cadet 60 lawnmower. Three of his Cub Cadets came via Trueman Welter’s dealership in Buffalo. “When they discontinued their IHC building in St. Michael, Minn., I bought three pickup loads of literature,” Butch says. “The literature covered everything: Gehl, Fox and Minnesota. I sold it all off except for the IH items. A few weeks later they wanted to sell me three used Cub Cadets. The wheels and spindles were off, the engines were bad and the axles were shot. They said they’d give me a discount on any parts I ordered for the restoration, with the stipulation that the Cub Cadets would be kept original and not used for pulling.”
With the exception of the rear ends, everything on all three Cubs was restored. Butch tore each apart and handled reassembly; he hired out engine work and painting. Craftsmen went through engines, resealed gas tanks, and rebuilt carburetors, alternators and starters. The Cub Cadets gleamed, and worked like new. “It wasn’t something we planned,” Butch says, “but it reflects how we’ve gotten pieces of our collection. The opportunity was there, and we took it.”