BETWEEN THE BOOKENDS
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Written by Jack Alexander and' published by Binder Books in 2003, the work is truly unique among old-iron books. Alexander is a noted tractor and farm engine historian from California, and previously published Steam Power on California Roads and Farms in 1998.
Alexander describes the effort to develop tractors as 'truly an American story.' Amazingly, the author managed to capture that fascinating tale with information ranging from inventors to inventions that spans more than 100 years of American farm history.
'The purpose of this book is to present a glimpse into the past of the long American saga of developing mechanical cultivation, the use of machines to plow or cultivate the land,' Alexander writes in the preface. That's just what he delivers.
The book breaks down information by important developments through time, beginning with early American steam-powered vehicles and ending with Nebraska Tractor Test entrants from 1916.
Literally hundreds of photos grace the book's pages, and although all images are black and white (some aren't altogether clear because age robbed them of quality) the book could be considered a showcase of orphan tractors because so many odd and short-lived machines are placed in the spotlight.
From the 'Columbian' expansive steam engine built in 1804 by Oliver Evans, to the unfortunately named Boring 35 tractor built by the Boring Tractor Co. of Chicago, 111., Alexander's book provides unprecedented insight into an important era in American farm history. The book also contains patent drawings, advertisements from the period and many interesting engravings sure to entertain even the most knowledgeable collector.
- The First American Farm Tractors: Developments to 1917, by Jack Alexander, published by Binder Books, 2003. No ISBN. Soft cover, $37.95 plus shipping and handling from Farm Collector Books; 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Call (866) 803-7096 to order by telephone or use the form on page 48.
Tractor in the Pasture: Rusting icons of rural America
Some old-iron collectors enjoy looking at photographs of vintage tractors as much as they like collecting them. Those photo-loving farm equipment fans will undoubtedly appreciate this collection of inspiring and unique tractors pictured -just as the title says - in the pasture.
Author Lee Klancher, a professional photographer who stalks and photographs vintage tractors across the globe, produced what is possibly the finest compendium of old tractor images ever compiled. 'At first, I photographed every old tractor I saw,' Lee writes in his preface to the book. 'That soon proved to be counterproductive, as most old tractors abandoned to the weather are nothing more than old junk. The shots that caught my eye combined well-worn farms with beautiful landscapes. Add good light, and I found a recipe for photos that captured something special.'