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An Important Undercurrent: A Tribute to the Father-Son Bond

Familiar themes are an integral part of the old iron storybook. The great find, the diamond in the rough, finding a family heirloom decades (and subsequent owners) later, the basket case. Tales like those have enduring appeal; we gravitate to them as readily as a child to a bedtime story. 

Equally familiar themes wind deep through the storybook in a quiet, unassuming way. Universal and essential, they are a part of the nostalgia many collectors feel for the relics of the past. One of those themes – that of the father-son bond – works through the pages of this issue.

A letter to the editor celebrates the restoration of a windmill that is now more than a century old. Twice-restored (once by the original owner’s son, and a generation later, by his grandson), the Challenge windmill remains a tangible link to a family’s heritage, and one seen every day, not buried in a dark closet.

Elsewhere in this issue, Sam Moore, writing about the New Idea line, notes the result of collaboration between Joseph Oppenheim and Oppenheim’s son, Ben, then a schoolboy. Using an old cigar box, the two built a working model of an innovative new manure spreader. By the time Ben was 14, he’d left childhood behind – but I will leave that story to Sam to tell.

In Bill Vossler’s article on a rare, early Holt hillside combine, collector Larry Maasdam relates how his dad helped him buy his first Vermeer trencher when Larry was still in high school. It was an assist that would help set the course of a young life.

And then there is the remembrance by Lloyd Munson who writes of “farming,” as a very little boy, with his dad. Riding alongside his dad in a home-built seat attached to the family tractor, Lloyd gained both a deep appreciation for the world around him and a unique perspective on his father’s livelihood.

It was a different world then; it is a different world today. And yet that father-son bond – one forged on a tractor decades ago – endures and resonates in new generations, winding through new professions and new environments. It is a familiar theme, one that doesn’t always get a lot of attention – except on Father’s Day in June. To fathers and sons lucky enough to have such bonds, cheers! Enjoy your day! FC


Leslie C. McManus is the editor of Farm Collector. Contact her via email.