Pieces of History

West Virginian’s extensive collection of old farming equipment reveals pieces of history

| September 1998

  • A horse-drawn road grader sits in a field next to Ralph Davis' house in Macfarlan, W. Va. It is one of several pieces of antique farm equipment in his collection, which is likely one of the largest private holdings in the state.
    A horse-drawn road grader sits in a field next to Ralph Davis' house in Macfarlan, W. Va. It is one of several pieces of antique farm equipment in his collection, which is likely one of the largest private holdings in the state.
    Photo by Paul Darst
  • An antique tool used to clean the inside of pipes.
    An antique tool used to clean the inside of pipes.
    Photo by Paul Darst
  • Ralph keeps this steam-powered washing machine connected to an air compressor for quick demostrations when visitors drop in.
    Ralph keeps this steam-powered washing machine connected to an air compressor for quick demostrations when visitors drop in.
    Photo by Paul Darst
  • Ralph's collection also includes household goods.
    Ralph's collection also includes household goods.
    Photo by Paul Darst

  • A horse-drawn road grader sits in a field next to Ralph Davis' house in Macfarlan, W. Va. It is one of several pieces of antique farm equipment in his collection, which is likely one of the largest private holdings in the state.
  • An antique tool used to clean the inside of pipes.
  • Ralph keeps this steam-powered washing machine connected to an air compressor for quick demostrations when visitors drop in.
  • Ralph's collection also includes household goods.

To the untrained eye, the collection in Ralph Davis' barn might look like junk he has collected over the years. 

Everything from old kitchen utensils and toys to washing machines and motorcycles can be found in his Ritchie County barn.

But a closer look at the extensive collection reveals that more than odds and ends have been stored. Ralph's collection contains pieces of history.

Ralph has what could be one of the largest private antique collections in West Virginia.



"A friend of mine wants me to take all of this and make a regular museum in Harrisville," Ralph said.

"He doesn't know what he's asking for... It would take quite a few pickup trucks to carry all of this off."