Letters – First Tractor Trade Looms Large in Memory


| March 2009



Sometime around 1940, my dad, Ralph Schaub, bought a tractor. I was just a young child. He farmed 117 acres 5 miles west of Aurora, Ill. Apparently his team of Suffolk Punch horses had gotten too old to do the work required. We went to the Farmall dealer in Aurora, the Aurora Implement Co. Dad bought a used F-20 on steel, painted bright red with FARMALL emblazoned on each side of the distillate tank. It was intended to be started on gasoline. When the engine got warm, the distillate valve was opened and the gasoline valve closed. The process was reversed when shutting the engine down. However, Dad ran it on gasoline all the time.

As I remember, the tractor had no muffler, the exhaust came out of the cast iron manifold just above the frame. I remember that it had a magneto to supply the spark needed. It came with a cultivator for plowing corn and a spring tooth harrow. When we left the farm in 1944 and sold the machinery at auction, the auctioneer would not allow the normal bidding process. New tractors were not available because of World War II, so it sold by silent auction.

During the purchase process, the dealer, Mr. Crissy, asked me if I had anything to trade in. I had a green rubber toy tractor. He offered to trade me for a brand new Farmall Model A cast iron toy tractor. We must have had to return to the dealership another day. I remember taking the green tractor (it looked like an Oliver) and made the trade. He wrote me up a bill of sale, had me sign it and then signed it himself. I carried that with me for a long time and proudly unfolded it to show family and friends, so much so that it became ragged.

Unfortunately, in the 70 long years that followed, the “A” got lost, but the memory of a kind, generous man and a little boy was never forgotten.

Wayne Schaub
Anacortes, Wash.