Farm Journal and Farmer's Wife

Farm Journal, "Rural America's Favorite Magazine", gives glimpse into the past

| November 2000

  • Detail from the front cover of the Farm Journal and Farmer's Wife October issue, 1940.
    Detail from the front cover of the Farm Journal and Farmer's Wife October issue, 1940.
  • Cartoons in the Farm Journal often appealed to farmers and their wives alike.
    Cartoons in the Farm Journal often appealed to farmers and their wives alike.
  • Detail from the ad for the Timken Roller-Bearing company.
    Detail from the ad for the Timken Roller-Bearing company.

  • Detail from the front cover of the Farm Journal and Farmer's Wife October issue, 1940.
  • Cartoons in the Farm Journal often appealed to farmers and their wives alike.
  • Detail from the ad for the Timken Roller-Bearing company.

Many years ago, many farmers were reading the October 1940 issue of the Farm Journal and Farmer's Wife. Calling itself "Rural America's Favorite Magazine" and boasting a circulation of more than 2,500,000, the Farm Journal carried a cover price of five cents, while a two-year subscription cost fifty cents. On the cover was a mouth watering color photo of a dozen or so Stayman Winesap and Golden Delicious apples. Inside were many fascinating ads and articles. A look at them gives us a glimpse into our country's past. 

A full-page International Harvester ad touts their Farmall A, B, H and M tractors, showing a picture of an A and a one-bottom plow mounted over the caption: "Harold Jones of Charlton, Iowa, is doing a fine job of plowing his tough sod. His tractor is the plucky new FARMALL-A, which is filling all power needs on thousands of small farms today."

With the headline "Here's the One for '41," is the picture of a Plymouth four-door sedan. "Stunning new 1941 Plymouth, America's Low-priced luxury car" boasts "Magnificent new Artistry of Design – New Powermatic Shifting – New Four-way Step-Up Performance – New Fashion-Tone Interior – 19 Great Advancements!" The new 1941 Hudson with "Symphonic styling" makes its debut in a full-page ad that brags: "Hudson engineering leadership provides safety found in no other automobile. Patented Double-Safe brakes and Patented Auto-Poise Front Wheel Control, for example, are two of the many features that make a Hudson the safest car built today." Quoted prices start at $695 for a new Hudson Six Coupe, while the car illustrated, a Hudson Six Deluxe Sedan, is $845. (White wall tires and deluxe running boards are extra.)

Firestone toutes their closed-center ground grip, triple-braced traction bar tractor tires, while Goodyear claims that their Sure-Grip tire with its open center, evenly spaced lugs won't trap mud and will give an even pull, with no jerking. Goodrich advertises a "golden harvest sale," offering the 9 x 36 Silvertown Hi-Cleat tractor tire for $40.10 each. A 6 x16 heavy-duty truck tire is $13.85 and a 4 x 15 single-rib front tractor tire is $9.50. A Goodrich Safety Silvertown car tire in 6 x 16 size is $11.11, provided you turn in your old tire.



Timken Roller Bearing Company has a picture of a farmer discing with an Oliver 70, beside a photo of a pretty girl with a big smile, and the slogan: 'Miles of Smiles.' Havoline Motor Oil asserts that both growing corn and tractor motors needed expert care, and pictures a Texaco distributor showing his wares to a farmer cultivating corn with a Minneapolis-Moline R.

Prince Albert and Velvet advertise their pipe tobaccos, while Remington, H&R, Winchester, and Stevens offer their guns and ammunition. You can buy a Springfield No. 94 single barrel shotgun in 12, 16, or 20 gauge for $8.70.