The tools shown on page 4 of the October issue, I believe, are fencing tools. However, the 'circle' one is only a portion of a complete tool that makes net fencing. The other one is to tighten a wire line. Hope the pictures help. They are taken from 'The Fencin' Tool Bible' by Bill Marquis. I enjoy your magazine!
Bob Spencer, 501 Harvard Ave., Stanton, IA 51573
Editor's note: 'The Fencin' Tool Bible,' published in 1976, with illustrations by June Marquis, is available by mail for $10, plus $3 S&H, from Bill Marquis, 6621 FM 2622, Ponder, TX 76259.
In response to Ivan Pfalser's inquiry in the October 'Farm Collector,' the Fresno Scraper is named after the city of Fresno, Calif. This improved scraper was invented by Abijah McCall around 1885. The improved scraper was needed to provide for increased efficiency in excavating irrigation ditches that were being constructed near the present city of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley. The patent for the scraper was obtained by Abijah McCall and Frank Dusy on June 16, 1885, and listed as Patent No. 320,055. The scraper became so successful in ditch excavation in the San Joaquin Valley that it became common in excavation throughout the United States. The standard Fresno Scraper was 5 feet wide and was used behind a four-horse team.
David Dulitz, Springville, CA
On page 12 and 13 in your September 2001 issue, you have an article on the Rollag's (Minn.) College of Steam Traction Engineering. I would like to point out something on page 1 3. The professor is instructing the students about the water column. I see no one on the engine. The reversing lever is in gear. If the engine is steamed up, and should the throttle have a leak, the engine could start. If the clutch is engaged, the engine would roll backwards. My father always taught me to place the reverse lever in neutral when you leave the engine. As a locomotive engineer on the Fremont and Elkhorn Railroad, I always make sure the reverse is in neutral when I leave the engineer seat. Thank you. You have a great magazine and we really enjoy it.
Joe Prochaska, Abie, NB
Editor's note: When the photograph in question was taken, the engine was not steamed up. It was being used for training purposes only. But safety reminders always are appreciated.
I am looking for information on the old scales that were once used to weigh cotton. The device is shaped a little like a hook and has weights. Any information on this, and how it was used, would be greatly appreciated.
Judy Gibson, e-mail: email@example.com
I have an old wooden clover huller. The only thing I can find on the outside of it is that it was made by BIRD-SELL out of South Bend, Ind. The patent seal is still readable; it looks like it was made in the 1890s. It was in a man's shed that was falling down, and they brought in a crawler and were going to push this down into the woods. We saved it from being destroyed. We would like to restore it; it has an all-wooden body with old wooden wagon wheels on it, and a tube on the top that looks like it is galvanized. There are wooden boards on the whole top. That is about all I can tell you. We are very grateful for any help.
Charles and Tina Swope, 197 Swope Rd., Needmore, PA 17238, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I enjoy this magazine! Especially the Sprouts! Page. I wish you would devote more than one page to this division of the publication. These children are great. This is our youth and the future of the U.S.A. Many show real talent, but I enjoy all of the entries.
A.T. Elder, St. Louis, MO
Just finished reading the article by Sam Moore about the row-crop tractor and the ridicule the International Harvester Co. took when it started trying to sell the idea to farmers. The local implement company at Westbrook, Minn., had one Farmall Regular on the floor for some time, trying to sell people on the idea. They offered the tractors for $825, and to interest people, they offered an 8-ft. tandem disk valued at $140 free to the first buyer in Cottonwood County. My dad took them up on the deal. They did not offer a cultivator because you would buy one anyway, so Dad traded a lot where the bank now stands for the cultivator. That was in 1924 or '25. So I was operator of the first Regular in the county. Well, even our local funeral director came to ride with me, just to see if it really worked to cultivate without horses. Thank you so very much Mr. Moore and people at 'Farm Collector.' I am 95 years old and still like old machinery.
Lowry Anderson, Box 239, Westbrook, MN 56183
After reading the article on the 'Revolutionary Row Cropper - the 'Farmall debuts,' I thought your readers might be interested in this clipping about my grandfather, Richard Vittetoe. It appears to be a late-1920s editorial from a local newspaper:
'An idea that should be passed on: The air is full of new ways of performing the ordinary farm duties in these days of rapid change. Much of the progress that is being made in the improvement of farm machinery is due to the inventive genius of the farmers themselves. True the farmers are not manufacturing agricultural machinery, but they are continually suggesting new and better ways of making use of even the latest improved machinery in the field.
'A short time ago, we learned of an instance of this sort in Keokuk County, Iowa. Richard Vittetoe, near Harper, added a new feature to one of the latest models of a two-row tractor com cultivator that will probably come into general use. As every corn grower knows, the first cultivation of the corn crop in the spring is a somewhat tedious job. One must go slowly to prevent covering up the young corn. Mr. Vittetoe conceived the idea of removing the shovels on his cultivator next to the row and of eliminating the shields. After removing these, he mounted three rotary hoe pronged disks between the gangs of the cultivator and thus made it possible to go through his cornfield with a tractor cultivator at the rate of four miles an hour at the first cultivation.
'The rotary hoe prongs not only cultivated the corn in the rows, but also they gave ample cultivation to the side of the row without covering up any of the corn plants. His son Francis says that he has cultivated 50 acres of corn with that outfit in a 15-hour day. We consider this change in the corn cultivator a great improvement - one that is worthy of mentioning. Others may want to try this scheme next year.'
Wilfred Vittetoe, Washington, IA