Farm Collector

Great Ideas for Old Iron Holiday Gifts

Celebrate Americana with U.S.-made overalls from Klein Bros 

If you yearn for simpler times, you may want to dress the part, and Klein Bros. Hardware, Malinta, Ohio, can help you do just that.

Klein Bros. Hardware was started by Mike and Karl Klein in 1986, when the brothers purchased Malinta Hardware, which had been in business since the early 1900s. The store is located in the middle of northwest Ohio’s rural heartland, housed in a century-old building that captures the essence of an old-time, small town hardware store.

In addition to a full hardware operation, Klein Bros. offers Round House bib overalls made in the U.S. Overalls are available in the store and at in every size and style (zip-fly, button fly, hickory stripe, low back and heavy duty); engineer caps are available in child and adult sizes.

Round House overalls, many sizes and styles,  Klein Bros.

Reconsidering the heritage of the feed mill

In Down by the Feed Mill: The Past and Present of America’s Feed Mills and Grain Elevators, more than 240 fascinating photos bring to light the importance of feed mills to American townspeople, economies and heritage. This wealth of contemporary new photos, together with some vintage images from museum collections, give a visual record of a changing and passing American institution. 

Covering a time frame of more than 150 years, Down by the Feed Mill explains what feed mills and grain elevators do, how they work, the role they played in the American agricultural economy and the relationship of these businesses to their farmer customers.

By focusing on three mills in depth, author David Hanks shows the changing technological and economic conditions that shaped and sometimes destroyed mills. Evocative photos capture mills in the southern half of Michigan’s lower peninsula, chosen to be representative of U.S. mills as a whole in terms of their variety, historic evolution and characteristics.

Down by the Feed Mill: The Past and Present of America’s Feed Mills and Grain Elevators, 2017, David Hanks, hardcover, 208 pages, black-and-white photographs, $34.99, Schiffer Books.

Lost era comes to life through pencil drawings

Bob Smith began drawing pictures of tractors, trucks and farm equipment at age 6. But after he left the family farm in northwest Iowa as a young man, the demands of life – including family and a 32-year career in the military – crowded out that early hobby.

In retirement, he made up for lost time. The result is a charming book of color pencil drawings of tractors, cars, trucks and farm scenes from his youth. Each drawing is a carefully executed valentine to a time now lost, full of affection and respect.

One drawing (Air Attack 1947) captures the resulting mayhem when a local pilot buzzed farmers as they concentrated on cultivating new crops for the first time. The roar of fast-approaching aircraft invariably caused several hills of corn to be plowed over. “Those that remember agree it was a miracle the pilot wasn’t shot down,” the caption notes.

Astonishingly detailed and realistic, Bob’s drawings are an interesting blend of discipline and whimsy. Machinery is represented in almost photographic precision; the people are from the school of American folk art, with simple but wildly expressive faces. Short stories accompanying the drawings expand on each scene. This is a book like no other in your library, and it is guaranteed to make you smile!

Bob Smith’s Tractor Art, 2017, Bob Smith, soft cover with spiral binding, 80 pages, 17×11 inches, color, $50 (includes shipping and handling).To order, write to Bob Smith at 802 S. Pleasant St., Canton, SD 57013.

Save the date with these can’t-miss calendars

Launched in 1990, John Harvey’s The Original Classic Farm Tractors Calendar has showcased more than 520 brands and models of farm tractors and machinery. The 2018 calendar – the 29th edition – continues that tradition. The tractors featured span more than a half-century of agricultural history in the U.S. and Canada. And all are making their debut in the 2018 calendar: None of the specific models have ever appeared in previous editions.

The 2018 crop includes a 1916 Case Model 20-40, 1956 Oliver Super 55 Diesel, 1969 IH 1256 Wheatland All-Wheel Drive, 1962 Ford 501 Workmaster Offset, 1949 Norseman Models N and O, 1965 John Deere 1010 Industrial, 1940 John Deere B, 1930 Massey-Harris GP 15/22, 1920 LaCrosse Line Drive Model M, 1974 Lamborghini R904DT, 1944 Case Model LAI and 1954 Ferguson Pony.

The calendar also features an exclusive pictorial on the 25th annual Orange Spectacular in Hutchinson, Minnesota. A full-length companion DVD, “History in Motion,” contains in-depth interviews with owners of each featured tractor, focusing on the history, background and heritage of their tractors.

Also available: Classic Garden Tractors 2018 Calendar, packed with photos of a 1970 John Deere 120, 1927 Centaur 2G, 1965 Ford T-1000, 1961 David Bradley Suburban, 1974 Montgomery Ward 16, 1961 Keen Kutter, 1965 Colt Rancher, 1965 Squire Applegate 1000, 1974 Thomas-bilt, 1972 Wheel Horse Raider 12, 1963 Massey Ferguson Executive 7E and a 1957 Beaver HW. 

John Harvey’s The Original Classic Farm Tractors Calendar and “History in Motion” DVD, and Classic Garden Tractors 2018 Calendar, full color, 14-by-10 inches, available at or by calling (800) 888-8979.

And why are barns red?

How did barns change with westward expansion? How did immigration impact American barn styles? How did barn architecture vary by region? What elements of style emerged on barns? What is a “poetry barn”? And why are barns red?

Answers to intriguing questions like those – and much more – are found in BARN: Form and Function of an American Icon. Delve into the fascinating history of the most iconic American structures, and you’ll never see barns the same way again.

Author Susan Carol Hauser reveals the compelling history of barns, examining how immigrants adapted traditional designs from their home countries to the American landscape. The book guides the reader on a tour of various kinds of barns, showing how construction materials, cultural influences, function and style have given rise to their extraordinary variety. Learn about barn preservation, barns in pop culture and mythology, elements of barn style and barn construction.

BARN: Form and Function of an American Icon, 2017, Susan Carol Hauser, hardcover, 160 pages, color photographs, $30, Voyageur Press.

In-depth study of one region’s barns

For anyone who has ever admired a barn on an old country lane, The Historic Barns of Southeastern Pennsylvania tells the story of that barn and many others in southeastern Pennsylvania, or, specifically, “the hearth,” the area east of the Susquehanna River and South of the Blue Mountains. This 11-county region of the Keystone State is home to 20,000 standing barns, in various states of repair, built from the mid-1700s on.

Historian and author Greg Huber covers the primary factors determining the fundamental structures and appearances of the six great barn classifications, including forest resources. Other featured topics are architectural aspects and regionalisms, dates of construction, survival of 18th-century examples, mysterious decorations and barn preservation. The book includes representative color photographs, building plan sketches, charts conveying the prevalence of types and a glossary of barn terms. 

The Historic Barns of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 2017, Greg Huber, hardcover, 240 pages, color and black-and-white photographs and charts, $50, Schiffer Books.

The final word on 4WD tractors

The story of the 4-wheel drive tractors built by Steiger, International Harvester, Case, and Case IH is told in dramatic fashion in this new authoritative guide. Starting with the development of early 4-wheel drive systems at International Harvester, Red 4WD Tractors traces the evolution and design of some of the most powerful and capable tractors of the 20th century. 

Learn the complete story of Steiger tractors, which were designed and built in the barn of John, Douglass and Maurice Steiger near Red Lake Falls, Minnesota. Dig deep into the 4-wheel drives built by International Harvester, from the newly discovered first machine built in 1912 to the final series of Super 70 models of which only a very few were produced.

This volume features heavy research and coverage of International Harvester 4WDs, including newly uncovered details about why the 4300 Series failed, how the Steiger-built IH 66 Series was designed in a secret garage, and why the 2+2 Series was abandoned in 1985. J.I. Case offered an interesting line of 4WD tractors as well, and the colorful history of those powerful machines is traced in detail, including photos of all the orange-and-white 4WD Case tractors. 

Written by Lee Klancher and the same team that created the award-winning books Red Tractors 1958-2013 and Red Combines 1915-2015, this book is a must-have for any tractor and farming history enthusiast. All the 4WD models from International Harvester, Case, Steiger, and Case IH are shown. The book includes the design and development history of the tractors, with first-hand accounts from the engineers and other product-development specialists at IH and Case IH who brought them to life.

Red 4WD Tractors: High-Horsepower All-Wheel-Drive Tractors from International Harvester, Steiger, J.I. Case & Case IH, Lee Klancher, hardcover, 384 pages, color photographs, $75, Octane Press.

Easley memoirs Vol. 2 bound to make you laugh

The headline at the top of Page 7 in Alan Easley’s second book of memoirs (It Sure ’Nuff Happened: I Was There) reads, “Introduction.” It might just as well say, “Warning,” for here’s what follows: “If you don’t like me writing about something you did, maybe you shouldn’t have done it in the first place, because from dogs to kids to neighbors, nothing or nobody, including myself, gets any special treatment, because, ‘It sure ’nuff happened: I was there.’”

That pretty well sets the pace for a brisk romp through a lifetime marked by laughter and orneriness, squeezed in around work. From vivid memories of his grandparents, to the shivaree “hosted” by friends and neighbors, to raising kids and grandkids, to the kind of friendly (if ribald) ribbing that passes between men who’ve known each other all their lives, it’s all in black and white on these pages. How he remembered even half of it is a miracle.

In a 2013 review of Alan’s first book, It Must Be True: Paw-Paw Said So, we noted that the book contained, “No words minced, no punches unpulled and no shortage of plain old country cussin’.” Nothing, I am relieved to tell you, has changed in Alan’s style. He is both one of a kind, and the guy we all know. And his latest book is sure to make you laugh out loud until your sides hurt.

It Sure ’Nuff Happened: I Was There, 2017, Alan Easley, hardcover, 270 pages, NukeWorks Publishing; available for $20 plus $5 shipping/handling from Alan Easley, 8300 East Turner Farm Rd., Columbia, MO 65201; (573) 999-3713.

Red letter days stand out in Farmall calendar

Are there enough superlatives for Octane Press products? As if three over-the-top tomes on red tractors, combines and 4WD tractors weren’t enough, the Octane crew also produces the handsome Farmall Calendar 2018.

Featuring all-new photography of some of “the biggest, baddest machines from some of the world’s most incredible collections,” Octane’s Farmall calendar doesn’t overlook the beauty of rural America as it captures exceptional collectible tractors.

Included in the 2018 calendar: International 5488 FWA, McCormick-Deering Fairway 14, International AOS-6, International 7488 Serial No. 1, McCormick-Deering WD-40 Diesel, International B414, International 4166, International 7388, International 1066 FWA, Farmall 1206 Turbo, 1955 Farmall 300 and International 660 FWA.

Farmall Calendar 2018 by Lee Klancher, full color, 17-by-11-1/2 inches, available through Octane Press; phone (512) 334-9441.

  • Published on Nov 7, 2017
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