First Things

Connecting Dots

| January 2007

We give a fair amount of thought and consideration to each issue of Farm Collector, but each issue invariably takes on a life of its own. This issue, for instance, showcases several rare and unusual tractors. We ended up with an eclectic blend that includes the Yuba Ball Tread, Thieman tractors, IH crawlers, Rumelys and a few steamers. What we didn't count on, though, was the way these pieces would be connected.

In this issue, Sam Moore completes a two-part profile on Alexander Legge, who started his agricultural equipment career in 1891 with the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. McCormick eventually became part of International Harvester. By the late 1920s, under Legge's sure hand, Harvester was engaged in design of crawlers for farm use, the subject of an article in this issue by Oscar Will. Early crawlers also pop up in this issue's installment of Iron Age Ads, where we take a look at the Holt Caterpillar line during the World War I era, and in a James Boblenz feature on a Yuba Ball Tread tractor produced at about the same time.

Just as Harvester got its start with Cyrus Hall McCormick's reaper, the Rumely company (check out a couple of fine specimens in the article on the Canandaigua Pageant of Steam in this issue) started out building separators in 1853. In a 1911 parting of ways, company President William N. Rumely left the company his father founded. He went on to launch the Illinois Thresher Co. in Sycamore, Ill., which is home today to an antique steam engine club that celebrated its 50th anniversary last summer. At its golden anniversary show, featured in this issue in an article by Lyle Rolfe, the Northern Illinois Steam Power Club proudly displayed a relic of the Rumely years in Sycamore: a 1916 Sycamore steam engine.

A final connection in this issue: From all of us at Farm Collector to each of you, our very best wishes for a happy holiday season!

Leslie McManus, Editor