Field Notes

“Silo too tall or ladder too short”


Bruce Spoche, a friend of mine, found this picture of his dad, Albert, painting the cornice on our silo. The silo was too tall or the ladder was too short, so they put the ladder in a box wagon. It does not look too safe. Dad is waving his straw hat out of the window that the blower pipe went through while filling the silo. The silo was 30 feet tall and 10 feet in diameter.

Rollan Schnitker, Hoyleton, Illinois

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609 • fax: (785) 274-4385 • email: • online at:

Remembering the glory days of the Vermont syrup equipment production


Item C in the July 2020 issue of Farm Collector shows the end of the evolution of sap spout development, and one of the very last designs by George Soule Evaporator Co., St. Albans, Vermont.

This company was bought out by Leader Evaporator, Burlington, Vermont, in 1964. They now are in Swanton, and the only such company left in Vermont.

Ninety years ago, we had five evaporator companies in Vermont: G.H. Grimm Co., Rutland; Leader, Burlington; Lightning Evaporator Co., Richford; Soule, St. Albans; and Vermont Evaporator, initially of North Clarendon, Vermont, but later located in Ogdensburg, New York Leader bought all of them!

There have been at least 100 different designs for spouts; some were total disasters. Hale Mattoon, Chelsea, Vermont, has written a book about spouts. He has a collection of nearly 100 unique pieces.

I have used many of them and still have some of the Soule spouts. We started sugaring in 1942, when I was 5 years old. Syrup sold for $2.50 per gallon at that time.

Everett W. Demeritt, 223 Demeritt Rd., Walcott, VT 05680; (802) 888-4617

Editor’s note: For more information on traditional maple syrup production and producers of equipment used in maple syrup production, visit here for a rich overview of the category.

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Making hayfork lesson fun for a new generation


Regarding Ken Bolton’s article in the July 2020 issue of Farm Collector on hayfork pulley systems: I am 88 years old, and can remember the hayfork quite well. We never baled hay at any time. I had enough of bales as a teenager, helping a gentleman with a stationary baler, doing custom work baling straw.

We used a hayfork most of the time, just occasionally using slings. If there was no one in the mow to holler “trip,” it was up to the person on the wagon to judge when to pull the rope. Some farmers, I believe, tied knots in the rope as a guide. We never did; you got so you could judge as the trip rope played out when to trip the load, usually with good success. The trip rope was used to pull the hayfork back out of the mow, making sure while the fork came down not to be right under it.

Later, we bought an Allis-Chalmers forage harvester with a pickup head. We built two forage wagons with covers. By using the harvester and picking up the hay right from the windrow, it saved a lot of time and labor. By setting the blower up at one end of the barn and using silo pipes, we could fill the mow from one end to the other. The hay was much easier to pitch from the mow, and the cattle and other livestock did not waste as much. We used the same idea for the straw mow. In the fall, we purchased a corn head for the harvester. Later, I did custom work, filling silos.

We are members of Niagara Antique Power Assn. (NAPA). Several years ago, as a teaching moment, we made a frame from 1-inch square tubing fastened with bolts and pins. We made it to represent the upper part of a barn or the haymow. It was complete with a section of steel hay track, hay fork, hay rope and pulleys. We used half a bale of hay as our loose hay. The children would be the horses and pull the “load” of hay up into the barn. When the fork hit the track, the hay car and load would move along the track. A child or adult would be holding the trip rope, and when I said, “Trip,” they would pull the rope and trip the fork, releasing the load of hay. That was the fun part.

Many articles bring back so many memories. We appreciate all who contribute articles. Leslie McManus does such a super job of introducing us to each issue. Many times it’s hard to decide which articles to read first. The “Memories of a Former Kid” cartoon makes one think, “been there, done that, just the other day.” Such a great job by everyone.

Ellis Moore, St. Anns, Ontario, Canada

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Readers Respond to 1893 Columbian Exposition


The debut of the ferris wheel in 1893

Sam Moore’s column (Farm Collector, June 2020) on the 1893 Columbian Exposition was very interesting. I would add the fact that the original Ferris wheel debuted there. I won this photo post card (above) at a family reunion in the 1990s.

Rick Borland, Carrollton, Ohio

Exposition’s legacy lives on in Kansas

I read Sam Moore’s column on the Columbian Exposition (Farm Collector, June 2020) with considerable interest. There is a close connection to the exposition here in Wamego, Kansas.

J.C. Rogers, a Wamego banker, visited the exposition and was thoroughly impressed. He vowed to create something of significance to cause the exposition to be remembered in Wamego. He returned to Chicago as the exposition closed and purchased artifacts to be brought to Wamego. Among the artifacts were a huge spread-winged eagle, about 20 12- by 12-foot classical paintings and two tall pillars.

Rogers had built a nice theater called the Columbian. Today, the huge eagle is at the peak of the restored theater’s roof. Six of the murals hang in the theater’s seating area, and the huge pillars add to the beauty of the facility. Another of the huge paintings hangs on the wall of the Kaw Valley Bank in Wamego, and the rest are housed in an air-conditioned vault.

The theater closed in the 1920s. About 25 years ago, a community group raised almost $2 million to restore the building. Now it has a beautiful performing arts theater and a gallery. The foundation that operates the building also operates the nearby Oz Museum, which is home to a

large collection of materials from the Wizard of Oz. Patrons can visit the building and gallery, or attend a theater presentation given by a local community theater group. The theater also presents the Wizard of Oz on stage annually during the Oz Fest.

Ronald J. Williams, Manhattan, Kansas

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Preserving the past in Pennsylvania


As an avid reader of Farm Collector, I would like to share some pictures and information about our collection of antiques and plain old farm tools, implements and even some machinery. We are in southeastern Pennsylvania and are the Concord Township Historical Society with a farm section titled “Farm Life.”


We are only able to open once a month due to shortage of people to man the exhibits. We do research on the origins of our township and its many beautiful farms, now turned into housing projects due to exploding growth around the Philadelphia area. Collections of deeds, pictures, documents, etc. create a look into the past all the way back to maps of the area by William Penn and his associates.

Albert Eelman, president,

Concord Township Historical Society

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Restored MH 20 is a tractor drive favorite


I’m not a Massey collector, but I do have the one my dad bought new in 1948 when I was 11 years old. It was fixed up so that it ran decent and looked good in 2006. Since then, it has been on about 5,000 miles of tractor drives. It has been the only Massey-Harris 20 on the WMT radio drive in eastern Iowa. It’s a good size for tractor drives and will scoot along up to 15mph if needed. I have been a subscriber since the beginning and still have all the issues.

Larry Cox, McGregor, Iowa

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Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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