Letters: Remembering the Massey Harris Harvest Brigade

Two readers share memories of their own links to the Massey Harris Harvest Brigade.

| December 2002

Sam Moore's story about the World War II-era Massey Harris Harvest Brigade (September 2002) brought responses from readers with personal connections to the event — one who worked with its chief organizer, the other whose father purchased used one of the first self-propelled combines.

Remembering Joe Tucker

What a pleasure it was to read about Joe Tucker and his Harvest Brigade (Farm Collector, September 2002). It told of a fine effort on the part of a major machinery company and a dynamic man to solve a harvest problem, and the reason this was of special interest to me is that I had the pleasure of working with Joe some years later at New Holland.

After he retired from Massey-Ferguson, he was hired by George Delp, president of New Holland, as an advisor to help in evaluating new market opportunities in product development and acquisitions. At that time, I was product manager, which involved, in part, researching new products.

Prior to his employment with Massey-Ferguson, Joe had been with the Oliver Co. in west Texas. While there, he became familiar with the cotton harvesting practices. At New Holland, he learned of a new device, which appeared to offer a new opportunity, and recommended the company buy it. They did, and the project was assigned to me. As a result, I spent considerable time in west Texas, and Joe often accompanied me on those trips. This gave us lots of time to talk about the industry. Joe had wide experiences and was well known.

After a couple of years, we felt our concept was not viable, and the project was abandoned. At that time, I was about 37 or 38 years old and Joe was in his early 70s. I still remember him, ramrod straight, trotting down those cotton rows.

After Joe retired from New Holland and moved to Florida, I still corresponded with him. By this time, I was branch manager in Memphis.