Louisville Works Cub Cadet Cast Iron Statues

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Cast iron cadets, just six inches tall.
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Gene Preston's collection of cadets consists mostly of pieces from 1974. Cadets from the 1960 batch are hard to find, he says.


The January 2000 Letters to the Editor shared with its readers some comments about the little collectible International Harvester Cub Cadets cast iron statues. I would like to add to this interesting topic some information I have compiled over the past three years.

These six-inch tall cast iron cadet figures first showed up in late 1960. The uniformed soldier displayed an “IH” on its belt, and the word “CADET” angled across the chest belt. The front of the base reads “IH LOUISVILLE IH”. On the back of the base was the date “NOV. 1960”. This first version of the Cub Cadet was usually painted yellow or gray. However, like with many things, folks often repainted them any color they liked. This Cub Cadet became known as the 1960 version. It was poured at the huge International Harvester Louisville Tractor Works, Louisville, KY, to mark the introduction of the Cub Cadet line of lawn and garden tractors. Although the stage was set in November 1960, the first cadet tractors were called 1961 models.

These popular statues were presented to employees as special awards, and to visitors to the Louisville Works, which, at 132 acres, was the world’s largest wheel tractor plant. This is where IH built not only the rugged Cub Cadet tractors, but also the famous Farmall Cub, Super-A and Farmall-C farm tractors. The Louisville Works were shut down in 1984.

The success of the Cub Cadet tractors reached a milestone during 1974 with production of half a million units. To celebrate this accomplishment, a second version of the cast iron statue was poured. Its front was similar to the 1960 version; however, the back of the base read “9-14-74”. These cadets were painted gold or gray, but like the others, they were often repainted. These little figures have become highly sought by collectors. The 1960 version is more difficult to find today. Prices can range as high as $300, based on condition. My collection has one 1960, and five 1974 versions. Gene Preston, Rochester, NY e-mail: epreston@eznet.net.

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