Farm Collector Blogs > First Things

The Price of Freedom

First ThingsOld farm equipment was one of countless casualties of World War II. During a period when this nation’s military industrial complex expanded rapidly, steel and iron from junked farm equipment (and countless other materials ranging from cooking fats to fur coats) were salvaged on an unprecedented scale.

It is a topic of no small interest to collectors. While much of the scrapped material was undoubtedly junk and many American farmsteads got a much-needed cleanup as a result of the scrap drives, pieces that would be considered rare today were inevitably swept up at the same time. Understanding what they meant to the war effort, no one really begrudges the scrap drives, but more than a few collectors have mused wistfully over the pieces irretrievably lost.

Historian and writer Bill Vossler delves into that topic in an article in this issue of Farm Collector. Seventy years after the end of World War II, the ranks of those who remember the scrap drives and other salvage programs of those years are shrinking rapidly. It is a fitting time to revisit the topic, and an era when collective sacrifice made the difference on a global battlefield. We are grateful to Tim Putt of Putt-Putt Puzzles who suggested this topic, and to the Farm Collector readers who shared their memories of the era.

Shifting gears dramatically: Some of you will no doubt remember my efforts to sell my boss on the merits of a trip to research old iron in Hawaii, preferably in, oh, say, February. While he has shown little enthusiasm for that venture (“Google it,” he says), he has offered an acceptable alternative: a Farm Collector tour of antique tractors in England and Scotland in July 2016!

We’ll take in a terrific tractor show in Scotland, tour several private collections of antique tractors, get acquainted with local collectors at a cookout, relax on a leisurely canal boat excursion, go for a jaunt to the coast aboard a restored steam engine, see the sights in Edinburgh – and spend a day with Farm Collector Columnist Josephine Roberts in Wales, visiting sites she’s hand-picked for us! Sign up soon: Seats are limited, and this is one trip you won’t want to miss! FC


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