Six gifts that'll make any old-iron collector smile
Sometimes holiday shopping can be difficult, especially selecting the perfect gift for the old-iron collector in the family. To clear up the holiday confusion, Farm Collector recommends these six books as perfect candidates to bring a smile to any vintage farm equipment fan.
Classic Vintage Crawlers & Dozers, Vol. I
'The four machines that won the War in the Pacific were the submarine, radar, the airplane and the tractor bulldozer.' - Fleet Adm. William F. Halsey
For anyone who ever doubted the enormous contributions that crawler-style tractors brought to the world, those words by Halsey should make their importance clear. In fact, that's just why this book was published, according to its authors, so that the crawler tractors' importance will be understood by future generations.
From building airstrips during World War II to helping farmers till soft soils in California, crawler tractors were instrumental machines. They were used across the globe and were produced by numerous tractor makers, many of which are featured in the book's 188 pages. Surprisingly, despite the book's title, short-lived tractor companies that produced crawlers are not covered extensively in the work.
Even though the book focuses on major manufacturers, the text provides interesting insights that will further a collector's understanding of crawler history. From the origins of the first battle tanks, to the fact that the first patent for a crawler-style farm machine was filed in 1770, the book provides many fascinating details about the crawler's rise to prominence on the farm and construction sites.
Written by Roger V. Amato and Donald J. Heimburger, the book was certainly crafted by professionals. Although it's Amato's first book, he has a background in mining and petroleum industries and serves as editor for the Historical Construction Equipment Association. Heimburger is a lifelong writer with both newspaper and publishing experience, and published the book through his own Heimburger House Publishing Co. The book tells the tale of those famed machines through hundreds of color photos, paintings, illustrations and vintage advertisements. Technical information is also included for many crawlers, including model numbers, years produced, horsepower, weight and engine details.
- Classic Vintage Crawler's & Dozers, Vol. I, by Roger V. Amato and Donald /. Heimburger, published by Heimburger House, 2003. ISBN: 0-91581-54-5. Hardcover, $54.95 plus shipping and handling from Farm Collector Books, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Call (866) 803-7096 to order by telephone or use the order form on page 48.
The First American Farm Tractors: Developments to 1917
For any equipment collector curious about how tractors supplanted horses as the primary farm power, this book definitely provides answers.
Written by Jack Alexander and' published by Binder Books in 2003, the work is truly unique among old-iron books. Alexander is a noted tractor and farm engine historian from California, and previously published Steam Power on California Roads and Farms in 1998.
Alexander describes the effort to develop tractors as 'truly an American story.' Amazingly, the author managed to capture that fascinating tale with information ranging from inventors to inventions that spans more than 100 years of American farm history.
'The purpose of this book is to present a glimpse into the past of the long American saga of developing mechanical cultivation, the use of machines to plow or cultivate the land,' Alexander writes in the preface. That's just what he delivers.
The book breaks down information by important developments through time, beginning with early American steam-powered vehicles and ending with Nebraska Tractor Test entrants from 1916.
Literally hundreds of photos grace the book's pages, and although all images are black and white (some aren't altogether clear because age robbed them of quality) the book could be considered a showcase of orphan tractors because so many odd and short-lived machines are placed in the spotlight.
From the 'Columbian' expansive steam engine built in 1804 by Oliver Evans, to the unfortunately named Boring 35 tractor built by the Boring Tractor Co. of Chicago, 111., Alexander's book provides unprecedented insight into an important era in American farm history. The book also contains patent drawings, advertisements from the period and many interesting engravings sure to entertain even the most knowledgeable collector.
- The First American Farm Tractors: Developments to 1917, by Jack Alexander, published by Binder Books, 2003. No ISBN. Soft cover, $37.95 plus shipping and handling from Farm Collector Books; 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Call (866) 803-7096 to order by telephone or use the form on page 48.
Tractor in the Pasture: Rusting icons of rural America
Some old-iron collectors enjoy looking at photographs of vintage tractors as much as they like collecting them. Those photo-loving farm equipment fans will undoubtedly appreciate this collection of inspiring and unique tractors pictured -just as the title says - in the pasture.
Author Lee Klancher, a professional photographer who stalks and photographs vintage tractors across the globe, produced what is possibly the finest compendium of old tractor images ever compiled. 'At first, I photographed every old tractor I saw,' Lee writes in his preface to the book. 'That soon proved to be counterproductive, as most old tractors abandoned to the weather are nothing more than old junk. The shots that caught my eye combined well-worn farms with beautiful landscapes. Add good light, and I found a recipe for photos that captured something special.'
Lee's description of his effort is an understatement at best. In fact, the book is a work of art that will thrill even those collectors who've 'seen it all.' Published by Motor books International, the book's 128 pages contain color photographs of tractors abandoned to rust and ruin on farms from Australia to New York, and most places in between. From a gutted John Deere in the piney Black Hills of South Dakota to unidentified dozers discarded in a Mojave Desert turquoise mine, Lee manages to capture tractor photos that are beautiful and elicit a sentimental sadness for the long-forgotten farm machines.
Not a mere photo album, the book also provides historical information about American farming, which compliments the photographs. The book is a must-have for any collector who appreciates both agricultural history and prize-winning photography.
- Tractor in the Pasture: Rusting icons of rural America, by Lee Klancher, published by Motor books International, 2003. ISBN: 0-7603-0876-4. Hardcover, $19.95 plus shipping and handling from Farm Collector Books, 1503 S. W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Call (866) 803-7096 to order by telephone or use the order form on page 48.
Legendary Farm Tractors: A photographic history
Andrew Morland has done it again. The English photographer, who's well known for his stunning farm equipment photographs, has compiled a book that its publisher says contains more color photographs of more tractor varieties than any book on the market.
Published by Voyager Press in 2003, the book is the latest of Morland's 22 farm equipment books. Morland's keen eye is evident throughout the book's 208 pages, with color photographs of vintage farm machines L that'll entertain and educate.
Unlike other books Morland has published, this work focuses almost entirely on the equipment. Yet, that doesn't mean the book is just a coffee table centerpiece. Readers will learn about specific tractor models, and interesting details are provided within extended captions on each page.
Among the most unusual offerings in the book are photos of tractors manufactured across the globe, not just American-made sodbusters. Foreign tractor makers include Pasquali Macchine Agricole of Italy, Le Percheron Co. of France, the Schluter Co. of Germany, even the China-based Shenniu Machinery Co., and other lesser-known tractor producers.
- Legendary Farm Tractors: A Photographic History, by Andrew Morland, published by Voyager Press, 2003. ISBN: 0-89658-535-2. Hardcover, $24.95 plus shipping and handling from Farm Collector Books, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Call (866) 803-7096 to order by telephone or use the order form on page 48.
2004 Classic Farm Tractors Calendar
Most collectors love to show off their prized farm equipment at shows, and the 2004 Classic Farm Tractors Calendar is the perfect gift to help keep track of important show dates, not to mention maintenance schedules and other important events throughout the coming show season.
Produced by John Harvey, who has published the popular calendars for 15 years, the 2004 calendar is one of his best creations yet. John always includes rare and interesting tractors in his well-known calendar, and this edition is no different. Brands featured within the calendar's pages include Allis-Chalmers Co., J.I. Case Co., International Harvester Co., Deere & Co., Minneapolis-Moline Co., and others.
- The Original Classic Farm Tractors 2004 Collector's Edition Calendar by Classic Tractor Fever. $9.50 plus shipping and handling from Classic Tractor Fever, Box. 437, Rockland, DE 19732. Call (866) 803-7096 to order by telephone or use the form on page 48.
This Old Barn: A treasury of family farm memories
Anyone who grew up on a farm - and people who don't know a haymow from a hayfork - will appreciate this collection of tales about barns and their important role on the farm. From round to octagonal barns, barn dances to barn hex signs, this book covers all attributes that make barns a distinct American legacy -even barn billboards that promoted tobacco or tourist attractions.
The 144-page book is edited by Michael Dregni, with a foreword by well-known author and humorist Roger Welsch, and continues the Voyager Press farm series that began with This Old Tractor and This Old Farm.
Stories include recollections about barns, from sheltering livestock during harsh winter months to storing the family's tractor and implements, or even a place for all-important community gatherings. Noted farm writers like Patricia Penton Leimbach and Justin Isherwood contributed to the book, which also includes stories provided by the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 'Barn Again!' program.
Besides the fine writing and entertaining tales, the intricate artwork and dramatic, unusual photography within the book will certainly delight readers. The book contains 100 color and black-and-white photos, as well as illustrations by renowned farm artists Eric Sloane, Bob Artley and Grant Wood. Historical images and vintage advertisements round out the book's attractive character.
- This Old Barn: A Treasury of Family Farm Memories, edited by Michael Dregni, published by Voyager Press, 2002. ISBN: 0-89658-580-8. Hardcover, $29.95 plus shipping and handling from Farm Collector Books, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or call (866) 803-7096 to order by telephone, or use the order form on page 48.