First Things

Hold the pickle, hold the mayo …

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One of the beauties of this hobby is that like the claim of the hamburger chain, you can have it your way.

Those who love old tractors or steamers can gather up as many as time, money and mate allow. But there are other ways to get involved in the hobby that are less expensive, less demanding physically and require fewer storage considerations. This issue of Farm Collector gives plenty of great examples.

Take Allen McCloskey, for instance. Allen has pursued an idea - creating a working scale model tractor - with singular focus (see page 26). The result, a 1/2-scale John Deere Model D, has been a happy challenge for the builder. Smaller, lighter and easier to haul than a full-size tractor, it's a dream project.

Donnie Sharp is involved with all kinds of old iron projects. With a name like Sharp, it was inevitable that one of them would be a vintage sawmill. For Donnie (see page 40), the sawmill fulfills his passion for old iron powered by old iron, preserves a strong family tradition and is practical to boot.

Rowe Garmon (pages 34) became fascinated by hand-crank corn shellers. He's created a terrific and interesting display of shellers that's compact and ready to roll when he is … and it's a crowd pleaser on the show circuit!

Postcards, dealership signs, memorabilia, tools - the possibilities are endless. Find a niche that fits your lifestyle and your needs, and you're off and running. The fun is in the hunt … and in discovery of the ways all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Show a tractor collector a tiny detail in a piece of memorabilia and he can help date the find. Those who study the evolution of a given manufacturer's logos can offer insights on antique signs. A vintage postcard or piece of letterhead opens new vistas of product offerings and branch locations.

In the process, information is shared. More importantly, friendships are formed and bonds are strengthened. Collectors learn a bit about another niche of the hobby. Doesn't matter, really, whether you have a rare piece of ag machinery in the shed, or a filing cabinet full of old manuals in the spare room. What matters is the way all the pieces fit together. Go ahead: Have it your way!

Leslie McManus, Editor
lmcmanus@ogdenpubs.com