SOME people collect match books, others collect stamps. But collecting farm equipment from a bygone era is a hobby with Archie Stevens, Wabasha county, Minnesota.
Stevens has a number of steam threshing engines, separators, early gasoline tractors, and other equipment.
Stevens started with a large Case threshing engine which he's operated since he was 15 years old. After having this engine in his yard for several years, he became interested in collecting. Now he has one of the finest private collections of early tractors in the Middle West.
One of the nice things about Stevens' collection is that everything works. All of the steam boilers are checked annually by state inspectors. And on the first week-end in October, Stevens gets everything running and invites the public to his farm to see his collection in operation.
'I get up early on that first Saturday in October, and get the fires started in the boilers,' says Stevens. 'By about 10 o'clock, the pressure's up and everything's running. The crowd generally adds up to three or four thousand.'
A visitor stopping in nearby Millville to ask for directions to Stevens farm is likely to be told that it's the place with junk scattered around. But anyone who stops to take a look will find that the 'junk' is actually collectors items, and well preserved and painted at that.