Vintage Photographs Give Glimpse to Early Rural Life

Collection of vintage photographs include images of Ingeco engines, Famous engines and rural life


| May 1999



Figure 1: The Norquists hit the road: early promotional efforts at a country fair.

Figure 1: The Norquists hit the road: early promotional efforts at a country fair.

This month's Vintage Iron is a collection of original vintage photographs and postcards. They turn up at auctions, swap meets, flea markets, antique shows, engine shows, antique malls and in family photo albums, trunks and attics. They are an important link to the past, and tell a lot about the way farming was done years ago. 

The first photo (Figure 1) comes from an engine collector at Clay Center, Kan. It shows the O. Norquist hardware store display at the Clay County Fair. The Norquists were agents for International Harvester, Banner buggies and Ingeco engines. If you study the photograph closely, you can see a one-cylinder Famous traction engine, a Ford Model T touring car, a tank cooled 6 hp Famous portable with a flywheel driven auto sparker magneto, a 2 1/2 hp Ingeco portable belted to a fanning mill, a 2 hp Famous vertical portable belted to a 6-inch IHC burr grinder, a 1 hp hopper cooled Famous, and a 2 1/2 hp Famous belted to a line shaft running two cream separators and a pump jack. The photo was taken by Wernette Photography, Clay Center. The date is unknown, but it was probably in the mid- to late teens.

The second photo (Figure 2) was found in an antique shop near Sabetha, Kan. It shows a group of farmers in front of a corn crib, shelling corn with a 4 hp Waterloo Boy portable gasoline engine. The photo was taken by the Lotus Studio, Fairview and Morrill, Kan.

The third photo (Figure 3) is of another farm scene, also shelling corn. The engine shown is a 10 hp Stover tank cooled on factory trucks. The photo was taken in 1906, and the man in the foreground is identified as John Allen. The location and photographer are unknown.

The next photo (Figure 4) is of a shop-built ice sled. It has a wooden frame and sled runners from an old box wagon. The drive wheels are made from iron implement wheels, with long steel cleats added to them to catch the ice. The engine is a tank cooled one-cylinder, and was part of an early car or truck that has been adapted to this machine. The name on the back of the card is Wm. J. Hickman, 401 Haines St., Kane, Penn. The card, which was purchased at the Portland, Ind., show's antique market, is undated.

The final two photos are actually postcards. The first (Figure 5) is of "Franklin's pumping engine," a large Fairbanks Morse model N standard horizontal tank cooled 22 hp engine with electric ignition and air starting pump. The card is postmarked March 15, 1909, and was mailed to a woman at Paradise, Kan. The location of the engine pumping house is unknown.