Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Follow through history, from the mid-1800s and Acme Co. beginning to build hay harvesters to 2020 and the social age.

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by Bill Vossler

A friendly warning here: This issue of Farm Collector could give you a case of whiplash. We’re taking you on a mad dash from the mid-1800s (when Acme Co. began building hay harvesters) to the mid-1900s (when an Illinois farmer built a corn sheller that would keep up with him) to, oh, 2020 — when an online social media platform offers a new way to buy and sell old stuff.

Along the way, we’ll pause to consider threshing crews of the old days, one of the oldest surviving agricultural publications in the U.S., and the impact of a fierce competition on innovation in agricultural equipment.

In this issue, Robert Pripps guides us through the competitive friction between Deere & Co. and International Harvester, and the innovation it delivered. Innovation, of course, meant progress on the farm — the kind of progress that eventually put Harold Kemmerer’s beefed-up corn sheller out of business, replacing it with a combine.

Way before that is the long-lost era of the threshing crew. In View from the Back Roads, writer Anthony Lovelace travels back in time to consider threshing crews and harvests of the past, and reflect on how one of the oldest activities of mankind — harvest — has changed and evolved.

And then there’s the matter of adding to your collection — or reducing it. If you’re Facebook-friendly, you may be interested in a new marketplace for certain collectibles.

And finally, a request. Do you belong to a specialized group in this hobby? Tell us about it! The Farm Collector show directory includes a section for national and regional groups — like collectors of watch fobs, cast iron seats and all kinds of tractor lines — but we know there are more out there.

For the novice collector interested in, say, barbed wire or seed corn sacks or planter plates, these listings have enormous value. And for groups that welcome new members, this is an easy way to grow your numbers. Planning is underway now for our 2021 directory, and we’d love to give your group some free publicity. Contact us at We’ll look forward to hearing from you!

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment