Add to My MSN


Dan Andrew Conrad

These photos show the last threshing ring near Conrad, Iowa. The man standing on the machine is Dan Andrew.

Clifford Parker, P.O. Box 785, Conrad, IA 50621

Threshing Ring Conrad

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 S.W. 42nd St.,Topeka, KS 66609 

FAX: (785) 274-4385 email:; online at:


Homemade tractor 

Last fall I came across a barn that was being cleaned out. Outside was this gem of a homemade tractor I saved from the scrap heap. The tractor is a great example of “necessity is the mother of invention.”

A Model A Ford supplied the running gear with a cut-down rear end, and angle iron welded on the wheels formed tire cleats. It has a Model A Ford transmission and homemade throw bearing for the clutch, which is mounted over the rear end, and a huge chain-driven sprocket that would drive the tractor. The engine is missing and nowhere to be found. I think the engine had to be an air-cooled unit. The front end of the frame is not extended for a radiator. It must have been a large engine, based on the size of the starter.

Several engine and tractor enthusiasts have thought that this was a single plow tractor or rock-and-stump puller. The “man-killer” may have been used to drag out firewood logs, but not during Maine’s mud season. It will be used as a flower box this coming spring.

Paul Baresol, Buxton, Maine;

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 S.W. 42nd St.,Topeka, KS 66609 

FAX: (785) 274-4385 email:; online at:


Douglas Pripps 

In the December 2015 issue of Farm Collector, an article on the Vaughn post auger suggested that the U.S. Cavalry used the augers to create temporary horse corrals on the Great Plains. More likely, the fence posts with the corkscrew-style design are surplus World War I barbed wire anchor posts.

These posts were set in no-man’s land, the region between the opposing armies’ trenches, with barbed wire strung through the loops forming an entanglement to slow the advancing enemy. The barbed wire barriers were set up by wiring parties that ventured out under cover of darkness. The noise of hammering a traditional fence post into the ground was found to draw the enemy’s attention, so screwing these posts into the ground was much quieter and therefore safer.

In the photo above, I am shown with just such a setup (although the barbs are actually made of rubber). This photo was taken several years ago at a battlefield re-enactment at Midway Village Museum in Rockford, Illinois. Midway Village Museum hosts World War I and II re-enactments annually.

Douglas Pripps, Rockford, Illinois

WW1 fence post

WW1 wire party

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 S.W. 42nd St.,Topeka, KS 66609 

FAX: (785) 274-4385 email:; online at:


McCormick Spreader

I have subscribed to Farm Collector for a few years now, and I love the magazine. I really like the variety of articles. I recently purchased the Best of Farm Collector special issue. I was reading the article on the New Idea horse-drawn manure spreader and thought I would send you pictures of the McCormick-Deering all-steel horse-drawn manure spreader I restored with my father-in-law this year. It turned out better than we expected (top photo). It had been sitting in his shed for more than 20 years before we decided to restore it (below). Everything worked and it was only missing two shields. I found another spreader nearby that had the shields. I took pictures and measurements and made patterns of the shields I was missing so I could reproduce them. It was a fun project. We are now in the process of restoring a 1952 Allis-Chalmers WD I bought from my neighbor this fall. Keep up the good work on the magazine.

Dave Goette, Bricelyn, Minnesota

McCormick Spreader

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 S.W. 42nd St.,Topeka, KS 66609 FAX: (785) 274-4385 email:; online at:



In the January 2016 issue of Farm Collector, Ken Larson inquired as to the function of a specific set of eveners. As shown in his photo, it looks like the back evener of a 4-up hitch. There would be a chain, rod or cable running ahead to hook to the lead team. It would allow all four horses to pull evenly. It could be used on anything that you would use four horses on. I have a setup on a sled pole. At the end, I have a clevis holding the rod and chain up where the front evener hooks up. Not many people use this system anymore. Most people use a rope and pulley setup.

Norman Roering, Belgrade, Minnesota

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 S.W. 42nd St.,Topeka, KS 66609 FAX: (785) 274-4385 email:; online at:


Lundell 2020 

In Sam Moore’s column in the August 2015 issue of Farm Collector, he asked whether anyone had seen a Lundell 2020. At one time, I was very familiar with this project.

Lundell Mfg. Co. was one of several engineering or manufacturing firms I worked for during that era. I was on the team that brought the 2020 into reality. I completed numerous engineering drawings, illustrations and technical artwork for the Lundell 2020, including all drawings in the 2020 parts catalog and operator’s manual, and many of the illustrations that appeared in Sam’s column. I also completed drawings of additional Lundell farm implements. For a time, I was head of that department. This was before computer-aided design. All drawings were completed using conventional drawing instruments. I probably still have many drawings for the 2020 as well as various drawings of other Lundell implements stuffed away somewhere in my files.

The top photo on page 10 shows Vernon Lundell on the 2020. That photo may have been taken at the test farm in Arizona. The gentleman on the 2020 in the larger bottom photograph on that page managed the warehouse. He seemed to always have a fresh, flattop haircut.

During those years, as indicated in Sam’s article, Lundell Mfg. Co. produced a variety of various farm implements. These implements all did a very respectable job for what they were designed to accomplish, and at a reasonable price. Vernon longed to have a tractor to go along with the Lundell line of farm equipment. Thus, the Lundell 2020. Many of us labored long and hard to make the Lundell become a reality. It seemed that the hope was to revolutionize the farm tractor industry. If I remember correctly, the Lundell 2020 went into production during the summer or fall of 1967. I think only a few were produced, probably for the reasons listed in Sam’s column.

As the grass was greener elsewhere, I moved on from Lundell Mfg. Traveling on Highway 30 in eastern Iowa on a Sunday afternoon sometime during the 1970s, I saw a 2020 sitting front and center on a farm equipment dealer’s lot. I stopped to look it over for old time’s sake. The days of developing the 2020 were long gone. It was truly the best of times, and it was great to be part of it all.

It appears that the current John Deere 4990 windrower may have some of the features of the Lundell 2020.

The worth of the 2020 project would be difficult to calculate. The experience gained proved invaluable: for numerous years, I taught or managed college-level curriculums that were ultimately based on experience gained while working during that era, especially on the 2020 and similar projects. Many graduates of programs I was associated with went on to work for major equipment manufacturers or other engineering industries.

It is great to see the Lundell 2020 gain some attention and appreciation. Thanks for bringing it all to life.

Jerry Murphy via email

Lundell 2020 

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 S.W. 42nd St.,Topeka, KS 66609
FAX: (785) 274-4385 email: mailto:; online at:


Oliver 550

The Central Washington Ag Museum (CWAM) in Union Gap, Washington, recently restored an Oliver 550 Utility Tractor. The tractor, which was donated to the museum in 2013, previously belonged to a Yakima resident. The rebuild took approximately 14 months; it was completed in May 2015. CWAM President Nick Schultz spearheaded the effort.

The Oliver 550 Utility was first introduced in 1958 as the next generation of the Super 55, which was introduced in 1954. Colors were changed on this model, using a palette of Meadow Green and Clover White rather than the Fleetline green, yellow and red of previous Olivers. The 550 was offered with a choice of engines: a 144 CID engine or a 155 CID engine.

The 550 was an extremely successful tractor for Oliver and remained in production for nearly 20 years. It was known as an economical, well-designed and handy tractor. Versatility was another hallmark of this tractor. Because of its great balance, the 550 was well-suited to pulling implements or front-mounted implements.

The Oliver was seen in parades at Union Gap’s Old Town Days last June and at the Pioneer Power Show in August. It remains on display at the Central Washington Ag Museum.

Central Washinton Ag Museum,
4508 Main Street, Union Gap,
WA 98903; (509) 457-8735;

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 S.W. 42nd St.,Topeka, KS 66609 
FAX: (785) 274-4385 email:; online at:


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here