Massey Display Brings the Past to Life

Tractor, wagon and mower recreate Massey’s Canada Delivery Days of the 1880s.

| February 2018

  • The complete display. Daniel took his project over the scales at a local grain elevator. “It came in at 2,400 pounds for the wagon and mower,” he says.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • This 1934 Massey-Harris No. 33 mower could not have been a less likely candidate for restoration, but through painstaking labor, Daniel managed to revive it.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • Custom-fabricated flare side brackets for the wagon.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • Daniel sprayed the wagon box with three coats of enamel-base paint.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • Detail of the decal on the original wagon tongue.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • Early stages of the wagon box construction.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The flare-box wagon begins to take shape.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • Daniel used a large hoist to lower the mower into the wagon. He used two lift straps on each axle and another on the tongue.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • Lumber from six oaks cut for the project. Daniel used tractor weights to straighten boards that warped during drying.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The restored mower.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The restored and freshly painted wagon gear.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • A New Idea wagon gear, before it was repurposed as a Bain wagon.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The wagon box, complete with paint and decals.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The loaded wagon. “How they got those implements out of the wagons more than a century ago, I can’t imagine,” he says. “That stuff is heavy.”
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus

What inspires a complex restoration project? For Daniel Peterson of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, it was a story he read about the delivery of new farm equipment in the late 1800s. The result is a handsomely restored Massey-Harris No. 33 mower and an exacting reproduction of the flare-box wagons once built by Bain Wagon Co., Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, for Massey Mfg. Co., then based in Newcastle, Ontario (the Massey-Harris merger did not occur until 1891).

An event known as Canada Delivery Day is at the heart of the project. When Daniel read about the event, the story captured his imagination. As he learned more, he began to sense the enormous impact of Delivery Day on the life of a community – and he began to dream about bringing that to life.

Delivering equipment to rural areas

In the 1880s, Massey Mfg. Co. – like most manufacturers of the era – did not have dealerships as we know them today. Instead, the fledgling company relied on travelling agents to represent the company. “In the late 1800s, Canada was a big, open country,” Daniel says. “There were not a lot of towns. So the agent would go to farms and sell equipment.”



It was a different world. When a farmer was finally persuaded to make a purchase, the order was not filled immediately. Because of the great distances between towns, orders were grouped until there were enough to warrant the expense of delivery.

When an agent accumulated enough orders in one area, a delivery date was scheduled. The resulting event – Canada Delivery Day – was a full-blown spectacle in a remote rural outpost.

jeffreym123
1/30/2018 11:21:00 PM

Hey Massey is and always will be the BEST... And my LAST NAME IS MASSEY.... My NickName in High School was What else but FERGIE