FIRST THINGS

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Jason B. Harmon

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The stories appearing in Farm Collector each month provide more than historical tidbits and pretty pictures of restored tractors, steam engines and vintage farm equipment. In fact, our pages are packed with valuable information that informs and even influences the old-iron community at large.

For example, the article 'Hoistin' Hay' (Farm Collector, May 2003) that spotlighted Steve Weeber's effort to document the fascinating history of hay trolleys has apparently generated quite a buzz among present and would-be hay carrier collectors.

Since the article ran, Steve reports that he's had countless contacts with folks across America who want to know more about hay trolleys. Some want to share their own experience finding a special hay trolley at a farm sale or the rusty carrier they rescued from the old family barn.

Yet, the vast majority of calls, Steve says, are from people who've purchased, found or inherited a single, unrestored hay trolley. Questions include what colors it was painted, who made it and how one can get parts to restore the clever hay-moving devices to like-new operating condition.

Steve helps whenever he can, and provides painting tips, restoration tricks and even knot-tying techniques to help beginning   and some experienced - collectors get their trolleys in working order.

Ever since the popular article ran last year, Steve has also compiled a few new resource manuals in an attempt to fill the void between the questions many curious collectors pose and the information available about hay trolleys.

The manuals aren't detailed company histories, per se, but consist of page upon page of reprinted catalog images that show hay trolleys as they appeared when first sold to farmers and ranchers at the turn of the 20th century.

The unbound manuals for companies like the Louden Machinery Co., of Fairfield, Iowa, and others provide collectors with an accurate   representation of the barn contraptions, Steve says, so missing parts can be identified and the trolleys repaired as accurately as possible.

Steve's ongoing effort is good news for trolley collectors, and the interest generated by the article is another sure sign that we're doing our part here at Farm Collector to help the old-iron community by providing important stories about equipment and the people who collect it.

Jason B. Harmon, Editor, jharmon@ogdenpubs.com