An Important Undercurrent: A Tribute to the Father-Son Bond


| 5/10/2016 1:30:00 AM


Tags: June 2016, First Things, Leslie C. McManus,

Familiar themes are an integral part of the old iron storybook. The great find, the diamond in the rough, finding a family heirloom decades (and subsequent owners) later, the basket case. Tales like those have enduring appeal; we gravitate to them as readily as a child to a bedtime story. 

Equally familiar themes wind deep through the storybook in a quiet, unassuming way. Universal and essential, they are a part of the nostalgia many collectors feel for the relics of the past. One of those themes – that of the father-son bond – works through the pages of this issue.

A letter to the editor celebrates the restoration of a windmill that is now more than a century old. Twice-restored (once by the original owner’s son, and a generation later, by his grandson), the Challenge windmill remains a tangible link to a family’s heritage, and one seen every day, not buried in a dark closet.

Elsewhere in this issue, Sam Moore, writing about the New Idea line, notes the result of collaboration between Joseph Oppenheim and Oppenheim’s son, Ben, then a schoolboy. Using an old cigar box, the two built a working model of an innovative new manure spreader. By the time Ben was 14, he’d left childhood behind – but I will leave that story to Sam to tell.

In Bill Vossler’s article on a rare, early Holt hillside combine, collector Larry Maasdam relates how his dad helped him buy his first Vermeer trencher when Larry was still in high school. It was an assist that would help set the course of a young life.