Gathering of the Hubers

| November 2002

The Huber Machinery Museum, at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Marion, Ohio, bills itself as the 'Home of the Huber.' Anyone visiting there in June would have understood that claim perfectly: 92 vintage Huber tractors converged on the site for the Marion County Steam and Gas Engine Association's Silver Anniversary Show.

Fifty exhibitors brought the tractors, along with a number of implements, to display, and a single Huber steam traction engine showed up too. Among the tractors were original, unrestored machines, as well as old and new restorations. Exhibitors came from across the United States, and the museum, normally open on a limited basis, kept its doors open for the duration of the event.

Gary Bader, president of the association, said the oldest and biggest Huber production gas tractor on display this year was George Schaaf's 35-70 from Franklin, Ill. The 'youngest' Huber production gas tractors on display were three Huber HKs, including the very last Huber 'production' tractor to roll off the assembly line in 1943.

Don and Marty Huber (no relation to the founder of Huber Manufacturing Co.) of Moline, Ill., displayed Marty's HK. It is one of the red ones made during World War II for Pan American Airways. Don says the three HK. at Marion this year were among the last dozen built.

George says his 35-70 was originally purchased from Huber Manufacturing on July 12, 1916, by John Bergham of Plains, Kan. The tractor stayed in Kansas for many years but eventually was bought by the late Oscar Cooke of Oscar's Dreamland Yesterday Museum in Billings, Mont. Cooke amassed a major collection of antique farm equipment that was displayed at his Dreamland and that eventually went up for auction in 1998.

George says he bought the 35-70 from Cooke before the 1998 auction, but didn't get it restored until the day before this year's Marion show opened. The tractor, which George says was extremely worn out, has only been run for about 10 minutes since its restoration was finished and was not started at the show. It is one of two 35-70s known to still exist (the other is near Goessell, Kan., and there's a similar 30-60 at Rollag, Minn.), George says. About 200 of this model were originally built; the 35-70 was the largest gas tractor Huber ever made. Its water tank holds 95 gallons.