A 1942 International Harvester TD-6 restored by Don Edwards, Solvang, California.
I rebuilt this 1949 Farmall Model H from one end to the other. It was junk when I got it. I spent about 1-1/2 years working on it.
Editor’s note: Dan Sack, Corning, Kansas, wrote us recently to inquire about grain cradles. “I know what a binder is,” he says, “but what is cradling? How do you cradle wheat?” Our resident expert, columnist and blogger Sam Moore, explains:
The scythe, in one form or another, is an ancient mowing tool, with straight-handled versions appearing about the 9th century. The now-familiar curved handle (or snath) with short, projecting handgrips (or nibs) was developed in about the 12th century. In spite of the fact that a man with a scythe could cut more grain than a man with a sickle, the sickle remained the chosen tool for harvesting grain for many centuries.
The scythe was great for mowing grass or hay, but cutting grain with it left the grain stalks tangled, which made the job of the following rakers and binders extremely difficult. In addition, grain was usually not cut until it was quite ripe and the more violent cutting motion of the scythe, as opposed to the sickle, resulted in a lot of shattering and lost grain. One account estimated 5 to 10 percent of the grain was lost when cut by a sickle, but that number doubled to 10 to 20 percent when a scythe was used.
Finally, someone added a loop to the snath, just above the blade, that caught and held the stalks cut during each swing of the scythe and allowed the scythe man to deposit the gavel to one side where it could be more easily gathered up and tied into a sheaf. The grain cradle, a series of light wooden fingers behind the blade, was an improvement on this primitive loop, and made the cutting of grain with a scythe much more efficient than with a sickle, although still prone to greater losses from shattering.
The development of the reaper and, later, the self-binder, as well as the mowing machine, soon relegated the scythe and the grain cradle to the occasional job of opening up a field so the crop wouldn’t be trampled down by the machines. Now, these tools are seen only in museums or hanging on country restaurant walls. It would be surprising if anyone much misses them.
Can you remember the days when a farmer would go to a hardware store to buy or order a new piece of machinery? This sign is a remnant of that era.
The porcelain sign is believed to have been produced for International Harvester in 1905. It surfaced about 55 years ago in the upper level of Leonard’s Hardware Store in Wakarusa, Indiana. Robert Getz, a northern Indiana farmer, paid regular visits to the store, looking at many old items there. He would routinely ask the owner if he would sell any of them, but was rejected numerous times.
One day, while making a run for a pound of staples, Robert received a surprise invitation. The store owner suggested he go look around upstairs. Robert took that as a green light. He proceeded to load advertising signs and other items on the freight elevator. The owner priced each item and a deal was struck. “Bob came home looking like he had been hauling coal,” his wife, Dorothy, recalled later, “and his livestock truck was full.”
Robert and Dorothy owned the sign for more than 40 years before selling it at auction several years ago. Distinctly colored – blue instead of the more familiar red – the sign is in mint condition, and is a rare glimpse of the very earliest days of International Harvester. FC
Here at Farm Collector and Gas Engine Magazine, we’re looking to cap our summer show travel off with a visit to the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa – and we’re hoping you’ll stop by and say hello!
We’ll be set up at our regular spot, in a tent just across from the food pavilion on the show grounds. Staffers from both magazines – including Leslie McManus, Terri Keitel, Codi Spiker and Matt Petty – will be on hand at various times during the show. Also back for a return engagement: Bob and Linda Crowell from Batesville, Indiana, longtime representatives for our magazines.
New this year: The Corn Items Collectors Assn. will have a display at our tent. This is a great opportunity for show-goers to get acquainted with this organization and the vintage farm equipment its members collect and preserve.
Come see us and take advantage of show specials on subscriptions, renewals, books and magazines. We’ll also have drawings for prizes donated by these Farm Collector advertisers:
One pair of U.S.-made overalls from Klein Brothers Hardware, Malinta, Ohio;
• One pair of suspenders from St. Clair Suspenders, St. Clair, Minnesota;
• Massey-Harris scale model toy from SpecCast Toys, Dyersville, Iowa;
• New releases from Quarto Publishing, Minneapolis;
• New releases from Octane Press, Austin, Texas;
• One copy of Little Rumely Man by Beth Douglass Silcox, Westfield, Indiana;
• Surprise item from Nixon Auctioneers, Wakefield, Nebraska; and
• One set of horseless carriage plans from Jimmy Woods, Coker, Alabama.
I have received Farm Collector for two years. It is a wonderful and informative magazine that I read through front to back each month and then re-read many of the articles. I grew up on a small farm in Ohio; my parents sold it in 1960 when I was 12. We moved 575 miles south and no longer farmed. The older I get, the more my mind goes back to memories of my childhood days and the many wonderful times of family life on the farm. My mother has challenged me to record my memories in writing, which I plan to do. Too bad we did not take very many pictures. Many I see in Farm Collector bring back even more fond memories.
I do not have a collection of “old iron,” as it is impractical where I live now. My farm collection consists of a set of 1/12-scale tractors crafted expertly with great realism and detail, all in wood, with no plastic or metal used. The craftsman has produced six tractor models and I happily own one of each, all with low serial numbers. Three are John Deeres: a 1951 B, a 1951 BW and a 1936 BR (each dyed green and yellow, rather than painted, so the grain of the maple and walnut shows). Three are Fords: a 1947 2N, a 1950 8N and a 1953 Jubilee (in natural cherry and walnut). The Deeres are also available in a natural finish (with no dye). The detail, authenticity and craftsmanship are superb on each one.
My farm collection is probably complete, as the craftsman is not currently starting any more models, though I am holding out hope for a 1953 Minneapolis-Moline ZB. Thanks for your great publication.
Richard Streib via email
I thoroughly enjoy your magazine each month. I found the article “Double-take” (Farm Collector, May 2015) particularly interesting. My father sold farm equipment for more than 45 years. He took on the Massey-Harris line in 1956 just after the Massey-Harris triple series, the Massey-Harris 50 and the red and gray Ferguson 35 were introduced to Massey dealers.
Also at that time, the Ferguson 40 was added to appease Ferguson dealers who needed something to compete with the Massey-Harris 50. I own a Massey-Harris 50 that my father sold new to a neighbor; it came with the farm when I bought it. A point of correction to Mr. Vossler’s excellent article: The engine used in the M-H 50, Ferguson 40 and the Ferguson 35 was the Continental Z-134, not the B-134. This could have been a typo or just a misunderstanding.
Another interesting point is that the 35, 40 and 50 were all mechanically exactly the same with the 35 using the same style front axle, hood and dash used on Ferguson 30. The hood, grille and dash used on the Ferguson 40 were essentially the same as those used on the Massey Ferguson 50s and 65s built in England.
Keep up the good work with your magazine.
134 State Rte. 36,
Editor’s note: You are exactly right, Fred: Our ears played tricks with us on that engine identification. And thanks for the extra detail: very interesting!