Classics for the Tractor Enthusiast
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Juicy little nuggets of little-known but carefully attributed Deere lore will delight green-and-yellow fans and should be of interest to anyone with an appetite for history of tractor development. With a sure grip on the steering wheel, Dietz knows when to dip off the beaten path into patio tractors, bicycles and even Elvis. Archival images of tractors in action, ads and brochures add fine context. In the vast library of books on Deere tractors and equipment, this one stands out.
John Deere New Generation and Generation II Tractors: History, Models, Variations & Specifications 1960s-1970s, by John Dietz, hard cover, 128 pages, color photographs, Voyageur Press, $25, available through Farm Collector Books.
If you’re a closet Fordson fan, you’re not alone. Consider Ed Bezanson your comrade in arms – except Ed has come out of the closet in a big way with his new book, Fordson Accessory Guide, Vol. 1. “If asked, I would say I collected Minneapolis-Molines or Cletracs but never Fordsons,” he admits. “I was in effect a closet Fordson lover who could not admit to his true love.”
Like Rodney Dangerfield, Fordsons get little respect. But the facts stand for themselves: Bezanson notes that nearly 1,000 companies around the world built Fordson parts from 1920 to 1930. Furthermore, during a 40-year period more than 1 million Fordsons were built and sold, “not bad for a tractor that most present day collectors consider as unworthy for serious preservation,” he says.
After a brief discussion of the Fordson’s unique position in tractor history, Bezanson launches the reader into a remarkable selection of vintage advertisements for various Fordson accessories. The ads are grouped in manageable chapters: steering control systems, magneto drives, governors, auxiliary hitches, power-take-offs and drives, auxiliary axles, aftermarket wheels, lawn maintenance equipment, yard cranes, wood processing machinery, air compressors, power units, winches, trailers, snow handing equipment and railroad conversions.
The ads come from Bezanson’s personal collection and that of Jack Heald, founder of the Fordson Tractor Club. Compilation of those ads into one volume is both a labor of love and a gift to the old iron world. Anyone who’s ever done research on this category well understands the immense educational value of vintage advertising. You could spend years sifting through old magazines and not scratch the surface of the wealth of material contained in this volume.