Snow needs a good PR firm. With the possible exception of those who run sideline plowing operations and kids looking for a day off from school, it’s hard to find anyone enthusiastic about the stuff. If you’re in the latter camp, this issue of Farm Collector may make you change your tune a little bit.
In Ford Model A on Snowshoes, writer Bill Vossler takes us dashing over the snow — in Ford conversions, complete with skis and tracks. Today we tend to look at these relics in a recreational context, almost as the forerunner of the modern snowmobile. Certainly collector groups in the northeast appear to have rollicking good times with their restored snow conversions at winter meets and gatherings.
Back in the day, however, snow conversions were designed for the serious business of rural mail delivery and essential transportation. Those old enough to remember doctors making house calls may never have seen a snow conversion in use, but they have a clear understanding of the importance of such contraptions. Advancing technology soon relegated the snow conversions to the back of the barn, but for a short period of time, they, well, carried the mail.
Children’s sleds, on the other hand, were designed for nothing but fun. Sensing a ready market among their rural customer base, early farm equipment manufacturers produced sleds during factory downtime and included them in their catalogs and promotional pieces.
In producing sleds at the turn of the last century, workmanship more typically devoted to pinstriping, casting and woodworking was poured into playthings for children. The resulting artistry has a charm all its own, one that might well make you nostalgic for a time you never knew. In Antique Sleds Refurbished with Care, we look at Steve Weeber’s collection of sleds restored to better-than-new condition — and imagine the delight these brought to children a century ago.
The holidays are fast upon us. Whether your dreams are of a white Christmas or something considerably more temperate, all of us at Farm Collector send our very best wishes to you and yours in the year ahead. Merry Christmas! FC