Fred Bocka grew up on a grain and dairy farm in Richland County, Ohio, driving a John Deere tractor while most of his neighbors were sitting atop Co-ops and Cockshutts, bought from the local Farm Bureau's Cockshutt dealership. Back then, Fred says, Farm Bureau had many strong Cockshutt dealerships in area towns.
About 10 years ago, Fred finally joined the crowd. ' I had a 30, then a 20 and then I wanted a 40,' he recalls. ' I wanted all the round-nosed ones.' Today, he owns some 30 vintage Cockshutt tractors and holds down a seat on the board of directors of the International Cockshutt Club Inc. (ICCI), which has 1,500 members, mostly in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada.
Fred's also on the board of Ohio's Buckeye Iron Will Club, and in May, he coordinated an ICCI exhibit that drew some 75 Cockshutt and Co-op tractors to the Richland County Fairgrounds for the Ohio club's annual vintage tractor show.
Cockshutts have become his favorite tractors, Fred says, because they are so rare compared to the more familiar brands such as John Deere or International Harvester. He bought his first Cockshutt, a 30, simply because he wanted a 3-point tractor with which to mow.
'Then we started going to tractor shows,' Fred recalls, 'and it took off. But the biggest reason is there's just not that many of them.'
The Cockshutt Equipment Co. was formed in 1877 at Brantford, Ontario, Canada, to manufacture seeders, planters, discs and plows, according to information compiled by the International Cockshutt Club. By the 1920s, they were testing a tractor; by 1924, they were marketing the Hart-Parr; by 1928, they switched to Allis-Chalmers, and in 1934, they returned to selling Oliver (Hart-Parr), which continued until the late 1940s. Some of the tractors built and sold by Cockshutt also were marketed under the Co-op and Farmcrest brands in the United States.
The 30, introduced in 1946, was the first true Cockshutt tractor. It was built in Canada and tested at the University of Nebraska, and came with a live PTO, which Cockshutt notes was an industry first. 'The Cockshutts all had live PTOs, except the little 20s,' Fred says. 'That was a big selling point. They were one of the first to have it.' A Buda engine provided the power.
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