Father Knows Best

Stories of fathers passing down a love of old iron through the generations

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by Leslie C. McManus
Corbin Michael, Billy McHaffie and Billy McHaffie Jr., all of Bruner. “I grew up with steam,” Billy McHaffie says. “I was born in 1969, and I haven’t missed a (Steam-O-Rama) show since 1979.”

If I had a dollar for every collector who told me he got into the hobby with a gentle nudge from his dad, someone else would be writing this column today. But that is the way it is for a lot of folks: Whether their dad instilled a love of old iron in them as kids, or whether they picked it up through something like osmosis years later, many have learned this hobby at their father’s knee.

Stories in this issue are a perfect example of that. The German-built Deutz tractor on the cover is part of Dale Landwehr’s collection, a collection inspired by his father’s work as a Deutz dealer in Wisconsin. “After you’ve worked on equipment,” Dale says, “you become addicted.”

Then there are the two families in the Ozark Steam Engine Assn. featured in this issue. The McCauleys and McHaffies are just two of several families at the Ozark club who boast generations of involvement in old iron. For these two families, in particular, a passion for steam engines has been carefully passed from father to son. Both Randy McCauley and Billy McHaffie are hard pressed to summon a personal memory that doesn’t involve steam engines.

Also at the Ozark Steam-O-Rama, Carl Wagner showed a handsomely restored Oliver 80 row crop that his father bought some 30 years ago. His dad did not live long enough to see the finished restoration but in a phone call just before his death, he did get to hear the tractor running for the first time in years.

One of the lessons my father taught was that of personal responsibility. And so it is that I claim full responsibility for a colossal error inflicted upon Jim Lacey’s article in our May 2022 issue, in which I mistakenly identified International Harvester equipment as having been manufactured by Case.

From your easy chairs, I expect you are wondering how such a thing could happen. It is a fair question, and one I desperately wish I could answer. Suffice to say that, moving forward, I’ll do better!

Whether it’s an appreciation for old iron or practical life advice, a father’s influence is enduring. As we look ahead to Father’s Day, here’s to all the dads who’ve enriched our lives in innumerable ways!

  • Updated on May 12, 2022
  • Originally Published on May 11, 2022
Tagged with: antique tractor, editor letter, family, steam engine
Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
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