Celebrating the golden age of farming
Voyageur Press tapped into several collector markets last October when it published Classic Farm Tractors by Cletus Hohman. The $19.95 book introduced a new Voyageur series of 'popularly priced' tractor books in time for holiday shopping.
The picture album-type volume includes a well-done overview of tractor history with the tractors arranged chronologically from 1900 to 1970. Included are all those made in North America as well as a few European models.
Detailed caption information and archival images from original operating manuals and sales brochures compliment the tractor portraits. The book is indexed and has a bibliography too.
Anyone interested in tractors - neophytes or veterans - should find something of interest between the covers of this modest but well-done album.
- Available from Voyageur Press, 123 North Second St., Stillwater, MN 55082, (651) 430-2210, Web site: www.voyageurpress.com; $19.95; ISBN: 0-89658-566-2.
Traditional American Farming Techniques, another in The Lyons Press' series of early-day agricultural reprints, described itself on initial publication in 1916 as 'a ready reference on all phases of agriculture for farmers of the United States and Canada.'
Today, it remains even more so, for such a compendium of 1916 farm how-to was very hard indeed to come by, until now. Farm machinery collectors of today will find much of value in this reprint.
The fat volume - the 9 by 6-inch book is nearly 2 inches thick - was written by Frank Gardner, who was a professor of agronomy at the Pennsylvania State College and Experiment Station. Originally, the book was published by L.T. Myers, under the title Successful Farming.
For Farm Collector readers, the chapters on engines, implements and tractors are the most pertinent, although much of general interest, including incidental photographs of commercial and homemade machinery in operation, can be found throughout.
Chapters exclusively on machinery take up about 75 pages in the second half of the 1,088-page book and cover such topics as crop work, from ground preparation and seeding to harvest; sanitation, which includes lighting and sewage disposal; and drainage and irrigation, which focuses on fields and orchards.
For engine collectors, the book may be especially helpful because of the detail. Everything from the difference between two-and four-cylinder engines to formulas for figuring the speed of any given pulley are offered. Photographs and line drawings depict various engines and show on-farm applications, including powering a binder, a pump jack and an electrical lighting plant for a farm house.
Horse farmers also will find this book a rich how-to resource, but tractor lovers may think it a little thin due to the early publication date. Three note-worthy tractors are pictured: a Three-Plow Tractor from the Advance-Rumely Co., Inc., of La Porte, Ind., a Hackney
Auto-Plow from the Hackney Manufacturing Co., in St. Paul, Minn., and a Creeping Grip Tractor from the Bullock Tractor Co., Chicago.
The book is not indexed but does have a detailed 'Contents' section in front.
Available from The Lyons Press, 246 Goose Lane, P.O. Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437, (800) 962-0973; $29.95; ISBN: 1-58574-412-3.