Farmhand Loader Line Included Varied Models and Attachments

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The Farmhand F-25 loader with grapple hook. (Image courtesy Bob Shilling.)
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Farmhand loaders were also designed for use on trucks as shown here. (Image courtesy Paul Radabaugh.)
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Chris Menssen, rural St. James, Minn., shows how a Farmhand hay loader works at the Butterfield (Minn.) Threshing Bee. (Image courtesy Gary Menssen.)
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Paul with one of his model Jayhawk hay stackers.

Farmhand Inc. of Hopkins, Minn., made several Farmhand models: the F-10, F-11 and F-25, 235 and 236, and others. Paul Radabaugh makes models of the F-10. The F-11 is a smaller version similar to today’s front end loaders. The F-25 was a later version.

The Farmhand company manufactured 10 attachments: a hay basket, a grapple fork that fits on a manure or forage fork, a manure fork, a forage fork, a detachable scoop, plates attached to a manure fork to make a bucket or a gravel loader, a bulldozer blade, a push-off attachment for a hay basket, an all-purpose scoop bucket and a V-snowplow.

Farmhand Inc. also made forage wagons, dump rakes, a two-wheel trailer, a Farmhand self-unloading power box and Farmhand 90 wagon, as well as specialty loaders shrunk to fit the smaller Ford 8N tractors.

The company’s roots go back at least to the 1950s. No mention is made of the company after 1990.

Hay Loader Competition

Farmhand wasn’t the only company interested in tractor-mounted hay loaders: Deere & Co. got involved in the business in 1962-63. Model-builder Paul Radabaugh stumbled on to that fact while studying photos sent to him by a Nevada man. The decades-old photos showed Farmhands mounted on cars and trucks. One photo showed a big green loader on a Farmall M. On the back it said John Deere 52.

Paul wanted to know if Deere & Co. built the piece, or if Farmhand built it for Deere. A Deere archivist researched the question. The first thing he found was a photo of a small John Deere 52 hay stacker. Paul said that wasn’t the one he was looking for, that the one he’d seen in the photo was bigger. “Oh, you mean that big green ugly thing?” the archivist asked. “That depends on what you mean by ugly,” Paul answered with a laugh.

Further research showed the John Deere 52 hay stacker (which was in fact built by Deere) was discontinued after 1963 due to lack of interest. “One John Deere history book has only three sentences about it in the entire book,” Paul says. But that was all it took to inspire Paul, who now builds models of the unit.

Other companies built similar loaders. Wyatt Mfg. Co., Salina, Kan., built the Jayhawk stacker loader (later the Jayhawk hydraulic loader), which could be used as a sweep rake or a stacker.

In making his model of the Jayhawk, Paul used ratchet gears from beneath the ribbon on an old adding machine. Since most modern adding machines don’t use ribbons, those parts are becoming difficult to find.

The front axle of the Jayhawk, affectionately called the Jayhawker by many, had gears and cogs on it. Farmers drove down fields, picked up windrow hay and put it on a haystack. “Everything was done with two ropes that run all the way back to the driver,” Paul says. “This was basically before they had hydraulics.” FC

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