BETWEEN THE BOOKENDS


| April 2002


The Farm Museum at P.T. Rathbone's R - Lucky Star Ranch in Marsing, Idaho, displays more than 3,400 farm implement wrenches from all over the world. They're hung in alphabetical order by company name all around the walls, with buggy, silo, cream separator and windmill wrenches displayed separately. Rathbone bills his museum as 'the largest organized farm implement wrench collection in the world.'

In writing his encyclopedic book, The History of Old Time Farm Implement Companies and the Wrenches They Issued, including Buggy, Silo, Cream Separator, Windmill and Gas Engine Companies, Rathbone applied the same careful organization and precision.

The book and separate supplement took three years to research and compile.

Rathbone began his book research by writing letters to 250 city clerks in U.S. cities where implement companies once operated.

'Some of the clerks would give my letter to the town historians and bits of information would dribble in,' Rathbone recalled. 'I finally cracked the historical society and library 'code' on the Internet, which was a great help. Some would make you come in person or hire a researcher. I had researchers hired in seven states.'

Rathbone and his wife, Mary, also sought information from Deere & Company in Moline, Ill., and from the Special Collections Library at the University of California at Davis, which houses the Higgins Collection of Agricultural Literature.






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