Farm Collector Blogs > First Things

Starting Fresh with Old Iron

by Leslie McManus

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On a bright, cold January morning it’s easy to imagine that the crisp breeze whipping around the corner of the house is the direct result of an immense calendar page turning. In January, the year is new and full of promise; blank slates have been issued to every household in the land. Why not fill yours with something new this year?

One of the wonderful aspects of the old iron hobby is its enormity. Tractors to steam engines to gas engines, corn collectibles to cream separators, memorabilia to models, pedal tractors to porcelain signs – the list is nearly endless. If you’ve been immersed in one category for a while, why not dip a toe into another one? Think of it as continuing education.

This issue of Farm Collector provides wonderful inspiration if you’re looking for a starting point. You’ll find information on steam schools, stationary gas engines, collectible snowmobiles and hay presses. And in our annual Show Photo section, you’ll find quick looks at all kinds of things that may serve as inspiration.

Happily, there are no prerequisites in this form of higher education. You don’t have to be an engineer to attend steam school. You don’t have to have a grip on the ins and outs of engines to put your hands on a piece of old iron dating to 1915. You don’t have to have a degree in applied technology to learn about early hay presses. All you have to do is jump in and ask questions: There are plenty of “professors” in this hobby who will be happy to help educate you!

This particular type of cross-pollination enlightens individuals and strengthens the hobby overall. When tractor collectors start delving into related memorabilia, pieces of history start falling in place. When engine collectors get interested in the kinds of devices once powered by stationary engines, the rhythms and challenges of another era come to life with sudden clarity.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it keeps the rest of us alive and interested in what’s going on around us. Get nosy; ask questions and dig into something new. Take advantage of January’s blank slate! FC