Farm Collectibles ... the Old Way
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Another dangerous but fascinating little machine is a small tiller made in the 1920s. The tiller was driven by a Maytag gas engine, the same type used in Maytag's washing machines of that time period. The tiller had no clutch, and thus was always in gear. One started it on its side so that its iron wheels could not grab the ground, then jerked it upright, and off it would go.
"I found a picture of it in an old catalog," Roy says. "But they didn't sell it for long. Too many people got hurt by it."
He becomes a bit defensive at the suggestion that these farm classics, living things to him, could decompose again.
"I won't ever let them rot," he says. "My plan is that I would hope that they could be left when I'm gone in such a way that a museum would take them. If I had my way and the money, I'd build a museum and I'd deed it to the historical society in this area. When these things are gone, that's all she wrote.
"The equipment they're making today won't be here 25 years from now," he says. "These were so strong that they're still here, in spite of how they've been treated, and work like new even today."
Heightened interest in farm collectibles has made Roy's a more challenging hobby, he says.
"It's difficult to keep a collection of these things, because today, if anybody can get a hold of something and see that they can make a dollar, it's gone," he says. "I've had people come here and say, 'Oh, I'd like to have that,' and I'd say, 'It's not for sale.' I had a 1953 John Deere corn planter that I'd restored just like brand new. It sat out in my front yard, and a fellow came by and wanted to buy it, and I said, 'It's not for sale.' He said, 'Well, put a price on it,' so I just put a price on it that was about four or five times more than anybody with any brains would ever pay for it, and unfortunately he gave me the money and loaded it up and took it home. It's the only one I ever sold, and believe me, it won't happen again." FC
John Lammers is a freelance writer from Conway, Ark., who has a passion for machinery.
This article originally appeared in the River Valley and Ozark edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. It is reprinted here with permission.
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