Reading Between the Lines
We may live in a digital age, but the paperless office remains a myth - at least in my case. A river of paper flows across my desk; a steady stream of mail, printouts, newspaper clippings and other scraps of paper. Today, a selection from that flow:
If you have friends or relatives who see no value in the old iron hobby, here's a factoid you can trot out. In August, according to a clipping sent by Dale Brumm, Sioux City, Iowa, a tractor was sold at auction for $86,500. Be sure to lay it on rather thick that the tractor (a 1920 John Deere Waterloo Boy) was no particular record-breaker. Antique tractors have sold for lots more than that.
Granted, most people who have an old tractor or two or 300 do not have pieces of that value. Well, not that dollar value. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The rusted old relic Granddad bought new may be as common as dirt but remains, in the owner's mind, priceless.
What is noteworthy about that Waterloo Boy is this: Proceeds from that sale, and the sale of six other tractors sold at a Pender, Neb., auction, were donated to the Pender-Thurston Education & Community Foundation. More than $100,000 was generated for the foundation, which creates opportunities for local residents. Tell me old tractors don't have value!
For those of a green persuasion, the photo at the top left corner of page 34 of this issue may cause your heart to skip a beat or two. The John Deere sign shown there (which has no relevance to the article) is a particularly rare and highly sought collectible.
Farm Collector is in the business of celebrating the preservation of vintage farm equipment. Good thing we limit ourselves to that and don't also tackle vintage childrearing. From the Old Farmer's Almanac of 1867: "Every farmer's boy should know how to dress himself, black his own shoes, cut his brother's hair, wind a watch, sew on a button, make a bed, and keep all his clothes in perfect order and neatly in place; milk cows, shear sheep and dress veal or mutton; harness a horse, grease a wagon and drive a team."
And finally, in an article in this issue on a Port Huron steam engine, Robert Vonderau recalls the steamer consuming as much as two tons of coal per day. It is a staggering number. Storage and transport are one matter, but consider shoveling two tons of coal into a boiler in one day. Makes the list of skills cited in the Farmer's Almanac seem like greasy kid stuff!
Leslie McManus, Editor