Farm Collector


My mother grew up on a farm and spent many hours in her garden and flowers. Before she passed away at age 76, she and I enjoyed attending flea markets and tractor shops together.

During our trips to the Lexington Flea Market, we caught up on what was going on in our lives, often discussing church events, family, etc. – mostly relaxed, congenial conversation – something we had not done enough of. We also discussed prices and what the best deals were. Physically, she seemed to make the tours better than me (with my worn-out knees) and never mentioned feeling tired or bad.

Two occasions turned out to be particularly special. I needed to go by the Harley shop and John Deere dealership. So, on the way we went to the flea market, and while I took care of business, Mother checked out the numerous items at each place. She discussed mower prices at the John Deere dealership and considered a watch at Tilley’s Harley Davidson shop.

On our final trip to the flea market, I got some furniture, and she got some pansies, and a rod and reel.

These excursions were some of the best times we ever had together. We shared time as friends and companions, as well as parent and child. My memories of these simple events are most cherished. I only wish that I had found more time to spend with her.

– Fred Lowrey Jr., 422 Gus Hill Road, Clemmons, NC 27012

Making the ‘grade’

Here is an old road grader we found, but as you can see, it is missing the tongue. We cannot find the manufacturer’s name anywhere on it, but there are small pieces of paint, so we know it was factory built. Does anyone know anything about this piece of equipment?

– Mr. And Mrs. Kent Howard, 195 Mtn. City Highway 3, Elko, NV 89801; (775) 738-6801; e-mail:

Mystery road scraper

I have an antique road scraper that I need information about. Does anyone know what year it was made or anything else about it?

– Brian N. Smith, 1675 Hughes Drive, Cumming, CA 30040

Grain wagon quandry

I’m trying to restore a wooden flare box grain wagon. I can make out the words ‘Chief Bemidji,’ but would like more information, such as the year it was built, and if it was painted or stained. Any help would be appreciated.

-Jerry Klein, Box 265, Fessenden, ND 58438

Digging for antiques

I’m in a dither. I stumbled onto a unique form of income. I get permission to clean the old farm and ranch dumps. The old dumps from back in the ’20s and ’30s are good, but for antiques the dumps closed in the 1800s are like ‘Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!’ together.

I need the wooden handles for the old walking plow, harrow, drill, etc. I’ve been offered good money for this stuff, but folks want them complete. I recycle the copper, aluminum and brass I find, but it’s the antiques I find that are such a joy. It bothers me some when I find antiques younger than me. Could anyone find where I could get the wooden handles for the items I find?

– Clifford E. Richardson, Rural Route 1, Box 1, Max, NE 69037; (308) 423-5885

Editor’s note: The Farm Collector classified advertisements may have just what you need!

More uses for gunnysacks

I really enjoyed Delbert Trew’s ‘Tribute to the Feed Sack’ (Farm Collector, February 2003). I sure wish that I had that bundle of gunnysacks that he tossed out. Of the many uses of the gunnysack that he mentioned, he never mentioned how good a wet gunnysack was in fighting a prairie fire. Here in South Dakota’s shortgrass country, most ranchers used to keep several gunny sacks in a cream can of water during the summer and fall. A wet gunnysack is very good for swatting grass fires. Nowadays, since we can’t find gunnysacks anymore, we have to use worn-out denims or whatever we can find.

We raised a lot of chickens when I was a kid. Whether baby chicks, fryers, or laying hens, each had their own feed formula. This feed came in 100-pound cotton sacks of assorted prints and colors. My mother, being a seamstress, would turn these sacks into dresses, shirts, aprons, etc.

Whenever we went to the feed store, my mother would go in and pick out the sacks that she liked best. These sacks would be stacked five or six high. More times than not, the sack that she chose would not be on the top. Sometimes it might be on the bottom, or anywhere in between. The feed store employees never seemed to mind – at least not in our presence. I’m sure that many other farm wives did the same thing.

– Lawrence Burke, Elm Springs, SD 57736

Witte made pretty

I happened on one of your magazines (Farm Collector, October 2002) that had the article about the Witte saw. I happen to have one of those saws and thought you might want to see mine.

We keep the saw in a barn at his place outside of town where we rebuilt it. The saw had not been running since the 1950s. When we went to pick it up, it was in a field and had no engine. A local merchant who deals in antiques found us an old Briggs & Stratton engine that we incorporated to the saw.

– Danny Hunt, P.O. Box 603, Belle Plaine, KS 67013; e-mail:

‘Mighty’ nice

A few years ago I was talking to a man about tractors, and he said he was building a Wheel-Horse crawler. Two years ago his wife had a yard sale, and my wife had to go to it. The man was not at home at the time, so I asked his wife about the crawler. ‘It’s in the garage,’ she said. ‘Co look at it, he hasn’t worked on it in a long time.’

The loader was off and setting in the corner. The engine was under his workbench, and there was a 10-hp Wheel-Horse engine sitting beside the frame. I told his wife if he ever wanted to sell it to let me know. About a week later, he called me and said, ‘Come over here, we got to talk.’

The price was a little salty, but he had had machine work done on some of the splines and sprockets, which doesn’t come cheap! I got it home, cleaned and painted it, and put it together with the original engine, and it runs good. I have loaded dirt in my little trailer with it, and it does a good job. Last year there was an auction with a Mead crawler without any tracks. I thought it would be good for parts if I ever needed any. When I looked at it, the model for auction was different. It was a Mead Speed Cat. It is a drive-shaft drive and has three-speed transmission. The Mighty Mouse is chain drive and two speed. The price was right, so I bought it. I am working on it now, and I need tracks and rear sprockets for it.

– Bruce Atkinson, 220 W. Pray St., Monrovia, IN 46157; (317) 996-3224; e-mail:

Nuts over square bolts

In response to the letter about square bolts and nuts, Fastenal Co. can get them plain or plated. Some stores have a minimum purchase order of $10.

You can also get them online at I buy from the store in Mentor, Ohio, (440) 255-2240.

I’m into dairy items, but I buy bolts for my brother because he’s into walk-behind garden tractors. The guys joke about the square nuts and bolts, but they always get them for me, and they don’t worry about a minimum purchase order.

-James W. Binns, P.O. Box 522, Wickliffe, OH 44092


In the April 2003 issue of Farm Collector, ‘German Craftsmanship,’ Irv Termunde’s contact information was incorrect. His telephone number is (815) 465-2420.

  • Published on May 1, 2003
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