| August 2002

I acquired this small garden tractor from a neighbor. I have taken it to a couple of shows and no one has ever seen or heard of it. I would like to hear from anyone with information about this little tractor.

Max Speer, 2040 F Road, Delta, CO81416

Telephone talk

I am a vintage telephone collector. My oldest phone is a two-box and was patented in 1895. I also have one with a white mouthpiece. Why a white mouthpiece? When a new product is introduced, some people always are suspicious of it. In the case of the telephone, some thought it transmitted germs as well as voices, and if a caller had a cold, he or she was subject to being hung up on. So, an ingenious businessman invented a white, 'sterilized' mouthpiece to allay the fears of those concerned with 'transmitted germs.'

When I was growing up in the 1920s, we had an eight-party phone line. With no radio, everyone 'rubbered' in on all the phone calls to get the latest news.

Our number was 14-F-4, meaning 14 was the line and 4 was the number of short rings to signal us. One long ring signaled the switchboard operator in Taneytown, four miles away.

I still have a 1939 county telephone directory with all of our neighbors' numbers in it.