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In times like these our hobbies become lifesavers. At GAS ENGINE MAGAZINE and FARM COLLECTOR, we have been tracking down the most interesting and rare vintage farm machines and collections for more than 80 years combined! That includes researching and sourcing the best books on collectibles available anywhere. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-866-624-9388 or by email. Stay safe!

First Things

Random Summer Ramblings

Leslie C. McManus 

My body may be parked at a desk, but my mind has gone to the beach. Suddenly untethered by the arrival of summer, the old brain ambles down random paths, stops to smell roses, lazily wonders at things past and things yet to come.

Like the whisk broom. Time was, there was a whisk broom in every car. Decades have passed since I last saw one. Same with the ball compass, once a standard after-market feature on the dash of the family sedan. I was not of driving age when the ball compass was all the rage, so I have no skin in the game — but what was that all about, anyway? It seems like overkill, as if the driver was setting out on an Arctic expedition rather than just going to the grocery or the bank.

Frankly it would make more sense to me today, when at least half of the population doesn’t have a clue which direction is north. That is what Google Maps is for, I guess. These days, every vehicle has built-in cupholders. We may not know what direction we’re going, but we’re darned sure going to be well-hydrated when we get there!

Speaking of going — this summer, when plans to attend shows around the country have been totally upended, my mind keeps turning the pages backward, remembering shows I’ve attended in the past. Recently, for instance, I recalled a show in Maryland, where I stopped to watch a blacksmith demonstration. As we chatted, he worked at the forge, forming something so small that his hands hid it from view.

When he finished, he presented me with a tiny but richly detailed horseshoe. The entire piece was about the size of a dime. “Someday,” he said solemnly, looking me straight in the eye, “some archaeologist will dig that up and say, ‘Damn! They used to have tiny little horses around here!’”

Many clubs have cancelled their 2020 shows; others bravely forge ahead. Some folks are making plans to hit the road; others are leaving suitcases in the attic. If you go, take good care! And if you stay put, take the opportunity to think back on shows you’ve attended. Remember the people, the displays, the sounds and smells, the chance encounters, the ice cream. You may be staying home, but your mind doesn’t have to. Here’s to the joy of the summer show season, past and present! FC


Identify this Tractor

steering-wheel tractortractor-side

Can anyone identify this tractor?

These photos show an old tractor that I don’t know much about. The front tires, engine, muffler, intake and gas tank are not original.

Steve Thoune, 2012 12th Ave., Menominee, WI 49858; phone: (906) 863-8848;

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

Mom was Grateful!


In the November 2019 issue of Farm Collector, Sam Moore’s column brought back some memories.

When my parents moved to the farm where I grew up, the owner had a Ford Ferguson tractor. The only tools that went with it were a rear-mounted 2-bottom plow and a cultivator. Everything else was horse-drawn, with the tongues cut off. The hay fields weren’t square.

When Dad mowed them, Mom would ride the mower to raise the bar in certain places so it wouldn’t bunch the hay. Sometimes if Mom wasn’t aware and the mower hit a rock, it would throw her off. The farm owner noticed that one day and went to the local Ford dealer and bought one like the one pictured here. It was a real improvement, but like Sam stated, it was a bear to put on.

When we took it off and set it on blocks, the next time we put it on, it had usually fallen off the blocks. It was a real job to get it back up, fastened in place. When dad bought the farm, he scrapped that and bought a bigger tractor with live PTO and a trailer mower.

Duane Greenhoe, Ionia, Mich.

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

Be in the Know

Leslie C. McManusIf there is any certainty in the time of pandemic, it is that there is so much we don’t know. This year, for instance, we don’t know whether shows will be held, and if they are, how that will look — and feel.

And yet, there is much we do know. First and foremost, you know the value of a hobby that transports you to a different time. Especially now, a good diversion is priceless. Want to flush news of the day from your mind? Focus your attention on a piece of old iron, preferably the one that you’ve been avoiding. Spend a few hours on a mechanical challenge; mix up a batch of body filler.

You know that there is always a need for volunteers. Perhaps you find yourself in the embarrassing predicament of being woefully under-projected. Chances are very, very good that there’s something for you to do at your local showgrounds. Carpentry, repairs, painting, mowing, clean-up: If all of us spent the time we’d normally invest in attending shows taking care of our own showgrounds, think of the impact! And you’ll be perfectly safe: There is no more effective way to maintain social distance than to wield a rake or a paint brush. Believe me, no one will come near!

You know there are many ways to stay engaged with your hobby. Have you read all the books on your shelf? If not, this is a great time to dust a few off. Technology also provides a distraction: Tackle that online research you’ve been meaning to do; check out the collector websites you’ve been meaning to visit. Just pick up the phone, for pete’s sake! You probably have a far-flung collector buddy or two who you’ve not spoken to for years. Why not now?

And finally, you know you can count on us at Farm Collector to do all we can to keep this hobby moving forward. We’re still publishing, we’re still online and we’re still spreading the news. Our website, for instance, contains a listing of cancelled shows. Be sure to check the list before travelling. If possible, check the show’s website or call the show organizers. Take good care, and stay in touch: We want to know what you’re up to!

New Zealand Kia Ora

Leslie C. McManus

As this issue of Farm Collector goes to press in early April, we find ourselves facing a world transformed by a global pandemic. Already we marvel at things we once took for granted: going to the office, going to a restaurant, going on a trip.

Another thing we once took for granted: our memories of travel. After glorious trips or ordinary ones, once we return home and stow the luggage in the attic, it almost seems as if memories of the trip are stashed there as well. But travel pays unique dividends. This spring, memories of past trips are a much-needed diversion.

Now more than ever, it would do us all good to become armchair travelers. Please allow me to go first as I recount the highlights of a trip of a lifetime, the Farm Collector tour to New Zealand in January.

In retrospect, given the course of this year’s events, it seems somewhere between a dream and a miracle that such a trip was made at all, let alone that it was such a complete success. Moreover, the country saw extreme weather both before we arrived and after we departed. While we were there, it was like paradise.

When travelling, it is important to master at least a bit of the local lingo. Our tour guide and coach driver in New Zealand were patient instructors, each morning calling out to us, “Kia ora!” (Be well!). The phrase is part of the Maori language, one of New Zealand’s official languages (although English is the nation’s predominant language).

We picked up a few other phrases. After long days of touring, some of us became positively knackered (weary). We occasionally found ourselves in the wop-wops (middle of nowhere). Usage became tricky: a New Zealander is a kiwi, a specific endangered bird is a kiwi and a fuzzy-coated fruit is a kiwi. When we bought fruit at a produce stand, we wished we had a chilly bin (cooler) to stash it in.

But often we were just plain speechless. The friendly, welcoming people, beautiful scenery, lovely weather, enthusiastic collectors, the carefully protected environment and the ridiculously tasty ice cream sometimes left us without words. When in doubt, I fell back on, “Kia ora!” Today, working from home and staying at home, it is my most heartfelt greeting to every one of you. Take good care, and Kia ora!  FC

Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Leslie C. McManus

A friendly warning here: This issue of Farm Collector could give you a case of whiplash. We’re taking you on a mad dash from the mid-1800s (when Acme Co. began building hay harvesters) to the mid-1900s (when an Illinois farmer built a corn sheller that would keep up with him) to, oh, 2020 — when an online social media platform offers a new way to buy and sell old stuff.

Along the way, we’ll pause to consider threshing crews of the old days, one of the oldest surviving agricultural publications in the U.S., and the impact of a fierce competition on innovation in agricultural equipment. 

In this issue, Robert Pripps guides us through the competitive friction between Deere & Co. and International Harvester, and the innovation it delivered. Innovation, of course, meant progress on the farm — the kind of progress that eventually put Harold Kemmerer’s beefed-up corn sheller (read about this homegrown workhorse on Page 12) out of business, replacing it with a combine.

Way before that is the long-lost era of the threshing crew. In View from the Back Roads (beginning on Page 30), writer Anthony Lovelace travels back in time to consider threshing crews and harvests of the past, and reflect on how one of the oldest activities of mankind — harvest — has changed and evolved.

And then there’s the matter of adding to your collection — or reducing it. If you’re Facebook-friendly, you may be interested in a new marketplace for certain collectibles. Check out Sara Jordan-Heintz’s article beginning on Page 34.

And finally, a request. Do you belong to a specialized group in this hobby? Tell us about it! The Farm Collector show directory includes a section for national and regional groups — like collectors of watch fobs, cast iron seats and all kinds of tractor lines — but we know there are more out there.

For the novice collector interested in, say, barbed wire or seed corn sacks or planter plates, these listings have enormous value. And for groups that welcome new members, this is an easy way to grow your numbers. Planning is underway now for our 2021 directory, and we’d love to give your group some free publicity. Contact us at We’ll look forward to hearing from you!

Time in Abundance

Leslie C. McManus

What might you do if you had time in abundant supply, but very little freedom? It’s a question I’ve considered since writing an article about a Maryland inmate.

During his time in a correctional facility, Robert Stickel has busied himself by re-creating tractors, trucks, cars and aircraft in scale models. And yet, as a prison inmate, his access to both materials and tools is extremely limited.

Coaxed to life out of sheets of cardboard, each of Robert’s hand-crafted models weighs about as much as a dream. If your memory stretches back to the days when you built a glider out of balsa wood, that’s a useful point of reference.

As a writer, it isn’t my job to judge. Each of us is allotted time; each of us face challenges, whether they are self-inflicted or random. Awash in freedom, how do we choose to use our time – and our gifts?

More than a few folks I know fill at least some of their time with Jeeps. I know this because my husband has toiled long and hard to create a highly customized off-road vehicle. Such vehicles apparently have a magnetic pull so strong that they actually draw in others of similar persuasion, and so it is that we tend to travel in packs. The sure-footed mountain goat has more sense than to go to the places we attempt to reach, but that is a topic for another day.

Elsewhere in this issue, jeep enthusiast Barry Thomas takes us deep into the world of the Farm Jeep. Barry shares the lavishly illustrated story of a Farm Jeep display held annually in June in Ohio, in conjunction with the Willys Jeep Rally. One look at his article and photos, and you may spend a bit of time finding your way to Ohio!

And finally, a word to those of you who are fans of Sam Moore, our longtime and much-loved columnist who retired late last year. Sam keeps his hand in the game via our website (, where he still posts the occasional blog.

There’s more in this issue, lots more: steam engines in the bathroom, a collection spurred by heirlooms, and Jesse Lindeman, the man who inspired John Deere’s entry into crawler development. Here’s hoping you have plenty of time to enjoy it all! FC

Leslie C. McManus


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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