Letters to the Editor

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Planter restored for posterity

This planter has “1919” on the wheel, but the manufacturer’s
name rubbed off many years ago. This planter was found in a barn
where it had been stored for more than 50 years. I restored it to
its present condition and made a new handle for it. It and an old
syrup mill retrieved from deep in the woods are now located in the
Round Oak (Ga.) Memory Gardens, a project of two people – myself
and Mary Mussleman – who love history and the area where we

Ronnie Crutchfield
Hillsboro, Ga.

Finding treasures along the roadside

In the June 2005 issue, the cartoon “Memories of a Former Kid,”
the scene depicted still goes on today, and fits me to a “T.” I
stop to pick up found items on the road all the time. I missed a
chain binder once: By the time I got swung around, someone else was
putting it in his car.

I’ve found all kinds of tools and parts on the road. I guess a
20-ton hydraulic jack is the grand prize so far. It was half-buried
in the snow and I thought it was a tomato can (it was red!).

One does have to be careful and be aware of traffic coming from

Harold Rossow
Weston, Idaho

How it all measures up; land measures explained

The following comments are related to the two letters to the
editor in the October 2005 issue of Farm Collector
pertaining to the chain and pole used in land surveying. Both
systems were used well into the 20th century.

Both related directly to the “rod,” which is 16-1/2 feet in
length. There are four rods in a chain (66 feet) and one rod in a
pole. The rod also has the following relationship to other land

– Furlong: 40 rods (or 1/8 mile). Originally the furlong was
defined as the distance a horse could pull a plow without having to
stop to rest.

– 1/4 mile: 80 rods (1,320 feet)

– 1/2 mile: 160 rods (2,640 feet)

– 1 mile: 320 rods (5,280 feet)

– 1 acre: one chain wide and 10 chains long (43,560 square
feet). The area represented by one rod wide and 1/2 mile long also
equals 43,650 feet. Thus, there are 160 acres in a quarter section
of land, and 640 acres in a section one mile square.

With the chain (66 feet), each link is .66-foot, which boils
down to every 25 links equaling one rod (16-1/2 feet). There are
four rods in a chain.

The main problem with the chain was that it was not accurate for
precise survey work. When pulled tight, the connector links would
stretch and, with time, wear. The first step to help eliminate
these problems was the steel ribbon tape. I have a 66-foot long
steel tape.

As a civil engineer, I grew up with the 100-foot steel tape and
transit, both of which have now been eliminated with electronic
surveying devices.

Ivan L. Pfalser
Caney, Kan.

Editor’s note

All images for the Auto Tractor article (Farm
, November 2005, page 40) were courtesy of the
University of Illinois Archives.

Is there a museum of Sears equipment?

My husband has an old Sears tractor and would like to know if
Sears has a museum anywhere. He’s also interested in learning the
value of this piece. The manual lists it as a 1939 Sears Riding
Handiman RT riding tractor, and it also has disc harrows, plow and
cultivator (with rubber tires). Any information would be greatly

Mrs. Charles Gagnon
1163 Old Fall River Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747-1157
(508) 674-5994


Stories to share? Whether reminiscing about a tractor, a piece
of equipment or early farm practices – or maybe just showing off a
restoration – your stories are important to Farm
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