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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:


Antique milking machines 

This photo shows my dairy display at the Orange Spectacular, Hutchinson, Minnesota, in July 2015. I displayed 15 different milking machines representing 11 brands, with five sizes and styles of Surge buckets. I had nine different milk strainers, various milk bottles and restaurant containers, as well as wooden cheese boxes, a 1-gallon home butter churn, two different milk pasteurizers, a hand-crank ice cream freezer and old metal 1-gallon ice cream buckets.

My display also included butterfat testing equipment, DHIA record books, two tabletop milk separators (both Montgomery Ward), five milk cans, each stamped by different creameries, and miscellaneous dairy items.

I had a very good response to this display, especially from children. Several parents said that when they started looking at tractors, the children lost interest, but when they got to my display and they could ask questions, they really got interested. Several families spent up to an hour looking and asking questions.

Milferd Smith, Darwin, Minnesota


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:


international baling chamber

The October 2015 issue of Farm Collector had a very interesting article by Bill Vossler about the Johnson family demonstrating a stationary baler. In the winter of 1942, when I was 15, I started working with a baler crew. I would like to explain how we baled hay and straw at that time.

With an Oliver 70 tractor and a McCormick-Deering baler similar to the one in the October article, we would park the baler next to the stack with just enough room to place the table between the stack and the baler. The table was about 4-1/2 feet square, with two L-shaped brackets on one side that attached to the baler, level with the top of the bale chamber throat, and two legs on the opposite side, next to the stack. Then we turned the tractor around and lined it up with the belt pulley.

It took a crew of six men to operate the baler. Three men were on the stack. Two brought the loose hay near the table and one pitched the hay onto the table (not too much, so as to overwhelm the table man, but always enough to keep the baler well supplied).

The table man (standing on the table) had to slide the hay under the plunger every time the plunger was in raised position. The plunger packed the hay into the bale chamber.

We only used one wire man. He would push the wires through the slotted block, and then reach over the bale chamber and tie the wires. There was a trick to fast tying. He would hold the looped end in his right hand and slip the other through the loop with his left hand. Then he would bend the wire 180 degrees, hold the bend in his right hand and with his left hand, grab the longer part, make two revolutions around the end and bend back the remaining end 180 degrees (see illustration below). The blocks were three layers of 1-inch lumber. The center was vertical and both sides were horizontal with 1/2-inch slots where the wire went through.

To determine the proper length of the bale, there was a painted line on the side of the bale chamber. When the block approached that line, it was the wire man’s duty to call “block” to the table man. The table man had to stop feeding hay into the baler and make sure there was no hay in the chamber. The wire man had already placed a block in the block holder (a hinged holder that held the block in a horizontal position). The table man would tip it forward to a vertical position and the plunger would come down and push it into the bale chamber. It took a good table man to feed the baler just right to produce one bale per minute.

The sixth crew member carried bales away from the baler and stacked them. It was his job to estimate the weight of each bale and adjust the screws accordingly. Hay bales had to be 100 pounds; straw bales, 70 pounds. It was hard work to do 16-20 tons per day.

Herman VanderVos,

7034 Nash Rd., Bozeman, MT 59715

VanderVos Wire 


Massey Harris 30

In raffles at two separate Iowa tractor shows last summer, Lyle Reinertson, Albert Lea, Minnesota, and his brother, Shorty Reinertson, Eldora, Iowa, both won tractors – identical tractors. The two Massey-Harris 30 tractors appear to be 1951 models, says Gladys Reinertson, Lyle’s wife.

The win ended a long, dry spell. “We’ve bought raffle tickets at tractor shows for 20 years,” Gladys says with a laugh, “but we never won anything before.”

Shorty has added his Massey to his tractor collection, but Gladys says she and Lyle plan to give theirs to their youngest grandson. “We’d rather see him enjoy it and display it,” she says.

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Farm 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!

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If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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