Random thoughts while tracking responses identifying a chimney cleaner in this issue’s What Is It section: Of the roughly 237,423 readers identifying the piece, all appear to reside north of the Mason-Dixon Line – which may explain the interesting notions of the piece’s use ventured by some of our southern readers. Responses came from most northern states (and Canada), with the most coming from Minnesota.
Fond memories while reading Bill Vossler’s article on restoration of a 1908 fire engine in North Dakota: Kraig Tracy, who was involved in preserving the piece, remembers it from his childhood. “It and an old truck were stored in an old building,” Kraig says. “We used to go in there and mess around with that old stuff.”
I was instantly transported to my own childhood, a time when I believed it was my birthright to snoop around any old thing that had been more or less abandoned in the small town where I grew up.
A nearby vacant lot held what I now know was a corn sheller, surrounded by aging piles of cobs. Just over a block away was what I now know to be an old corn planter, complete with seed corn in the hopper. For a townie, who knew nothing of farm implements, that machinery was mysterious and fascinating – and old, a condition that only enhanced its appeal to a nosy little kid.
It was a different era, one in which children were turned loose and expected to spend limitless hours playing outside, largely unsupervised. Every now and then you’d get tangled up with somebody who had strong feelings about the distinction between private property and playground, but things in general were just so simple back then.
And all kinds of good vibrations while reading of the chance friendship resulting from publication of a letter published in Farm Collector last summer. No spoiler here – read all about it in this issue’s letters section – but suffice to say it is an example of the best part of this hobby. Cheers to Eugene and Norman, and to all of you who’ve forged new connections through old iron! FC