Old Iron Collector Carries on Family Tradition

B.F. Avery tractor a hit with old iron collector and family.

Ron Carver, with his 1948 B.F. Avery Model V

Old iron collector, Ron Carver, with his 1948 B.F. Avery Model V.

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For the old iron collector who doesn't own a trailer, tractors are pretty much off-limits. Ron Carver of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, has found one exception: His compact 1948 B.F. Avery Model V fits in the back end of his pickup. "We made a 4-foot-by-8-foot trailer for it," he says, "but it will fit right in there."

Ron's affection for the B.F. Avery, though, isn't just about convenience. The 43-year-old says he grew up on one. "My dad had a 1947 B.F. Avery Model V tractor that we used to cultivate corn and blade snow."

After Ron inherited the '47 B.F. Avery, the motor quit running. He was determined to find an engine to get it going again. Eleven years ago (the same year his son, R.J., was born), he found a 1948 B.F. Avery Model V tractor at the Greater Iowa Swap Meet. "The price was right, so I bought it," he says, "intending to take it apart and use its engine to replace the one on the 1947 Model V."

However, the '48 model ran so well that he decided there was no sense in tearing it up, just to make another one run. In fact, nothing was wrong with the '48 tractor that a coat of paint wouldn't fix. "So we painted the 1948 tractor," he says, "and left the other one, so now I have two B.F. Averys." According to Ron, both of his B.F. Averys would have been sold by Montgomery Ward & Co., which operated as a sales agent for the B.F. Avery & Sons Co. of Louisville, Ky.

Finding color-correct paint for the tractor was more of a challenge than Ron had anticipated. "The original color calls for Tar-Tar red, but I couldn't find anybody who had that color, so we settled for a Massey Ferguson red."

Ron's '48 Model V tractor has two implements: the cultivator, which he keeps on the tractor most of the time, and a single-bottom plow. "To remove the cultivator, you have to take the cultivator arms off," he says. That requires the removal of four bolts and a couple of rods with coil springs that go up into the Tru-Draft arm.

Hooking up the plow requires connecting it to a yoke under the belly of the tractor, as well as a bracket that extends from the back of the operator's seat and hooks into a bracket on the plow. "All of that is mounted onto the arm, the raise and lower lever, so when you raise it, the plow drops to the ground," Ron says. "It's all hand-operated. I read a history of the B.F. Avery where they said it's considered a draft outfit because the implements are under-the-belly mount, and automatically maintain a true line of draft." A full line of implements (planter, disc, sickle mower and manure spreader) was originally offered for B.F. Avery tractors, he adds.

Ron shows the '48 Model V each year at the Mt. Pleasant show, where he's been an exhibitor each year since 1975. "That year I started showing my dad's 1947 B.F. Avery Model V." The tradition continues: R.J. (Ron and his wife Teresa's son) is now 11, and gets to run the B.F. Avery - which one day will be his - from time to time. "He has fun driving it," Ron says.

Ron has shown other family tractors, including a McCormick-Deering/Farmall F-20 and his grandfather's 1936 John Deere A. The Carvers also own a 1944 John Deere Model B that belonged to Teresa's father, who purchased it new in 1944. For Ron, the B.F. Avery has been a good fit.

"People always tell me how cute that little Model V is," Ron says, "and that it would be handy to have, and I can only agree."

Bill Vossler is a freelance writer and author of several books on antique farm tractors and toys. Contact him at Box 372, 400 Caroline Lane, Rockville, MN 56569; e-mail: bvossler@juno.com