First restoration project a winner

| March 2002

Fourteen-year-old Parke Miller went in search of a 4-H project and came home with an 1870s Union two-row corn planter badly in need of repair. Now, he has a museum-quality planter, and he's on the lookout for a vintage plow to restore as well.

Parke, now 15, and his parents, Brad and Monica Miller, of Williamsburg, Iowa, purchased the Union planter in August 2000 at an auction near Norway, Iowa.

'There were three of us bidding,' Parke says, 'and after the bidding was all done, it cost us $210.'

They took the planter home, photographed it from every angleĀ  'so we could put it back together easier' - and started to research its history.

'We found out it was made by James Selby and Co. out of Peoria, Ill., and dated to the mid- to late-1800s.'

Parke researched over the Internet and checked a reference book on antique tractors. 'The search on the Internet was not a lot of help,' he recalled. 'There were more offers of people wanting to buy it than those who knew anything about it.'