Farmall H Found 35 Years Later
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"So I was standing there with this wooden block that dad had made," he recalls. "Then I reached up to the clutch, and mated up the half of the hinge on the block I'd brought to the half of the hinge still on the clutch pedal. Then I demonstrated for them how that block folded around and had made me about a five-inch extension on the clutch."
Suddenly the farmer and his family got real excited and the farmer looked at Jon and said, "This is the first tractor you ever drove, isn't it?"
"I said, 'You bet it is.' And they were just real tickled that I could get the tractor back."
By this time, Jon says, "I was thinking that now the farmer knows I would easily have given him the higher offer, the $500 for it, if he had known it was the first tractor I had ever driven.
"So I thought I'd just give him the other $100, because he knew I would have paid it anyway to get the tractor," he says. "As I was writing out the check for the other hundred, out of the corner of my eye I realized the 11-year-old who had taken the photo of that old H was standing there, and it had been his photo project, so I made out the check in his name, and handed him the check. 'This hundred dollars is called a finder's fee,' I told him, and the kid was just totally delighted with getting the hundred dollars."
Hugely satisfied, Jon then took the tractor home.
But it's not quite the end of the story. For a fair project for the next year, Jon and his son, Jon Jr., decided to redo the engine of the old H. They took it all apart, "cooked" the block and head to clean it, put in new parts, and set it back together. They had the engine setting on blocks, and when it was finished, they put in some gas, and because the starter was still in the bell housing, hooked up a belt and pulley from another tractor, cranked the engine with another tractor, and after 15 turns, it took off.
"The emotion of hearing that old H ..." John says, gazing into the distance. "It took me back. It was very, very distinctly a Farmall H."
And while that tractor engine was running in the shop, Jack Kinzenbaw, his son Jonathan, and his son's son Jonathan, were connected once again. But there's still more.
"The next year at the county fair," Jon says, "I ran into the mother of the son who had taken that photo, and she said, 'Guess what my son asked me about a month ago? He says, Mom, what do you think I could take pictures of this year that Kinzenbaw might buy?'" FC
Bill Vossler has written on a variety of collectible farm equipment, and is the author of Toy Farm Tractors, published last year.
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