Iron Age Ads

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“The Port Huron 19-65 – Positively the best tractor of its size in the market today at any price.”

As advertising claims go, this one for the Port Huron (from a 1914 advertisement) did its best to eliminate even a shadow of doubt from a prospective customer’s mind. Other information in the ad, though, contained sound consumer advice. Today’s ads for big-ticket purchases rarely offer such wisdom, which centers on a theme of “penny-wise, pound-foolish” logic.

The ad text also relied heavily on a recommendation from the editor of the Farmer’s Review. Today’s savvy reader would suspect some kind of financial payoff to the editor. Decades ago, however, impartiality was not only assumed but celebrated as a matter of personal honor.

“After you have considered the conditions under which the words were written, and the judgment of the man who wrote them, read them again – and think,” the ad reads. “Let the words sink in.” Let the words sink in … Imagine a day when customers had time to give careful consideration to purchases, when every moment of every day wasn’t set against the clamor of competing commercial messages. In that context, it’d be a lot easier to believe a claim boasting of the best tractor in the market!

Advertisements from many farm publications printed at the turn of the 20th century were more than mere methods to hawk tractors and farm equipment. To share those ads from days gone by, Farm Collector periodically reproduces some of the most-spectacular ads used to promote farm equipment and products.

To submit a vintage advertisement for possible publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by email:

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