King of 'Toyland'

| November 2002

By day, Vernon Eymann works as a mechanic on full-sized farm machinery. In his spare time, he's the master of a kingdom of tiny farm tractors and implements.

Toy tractors make up most of the 1,600 items in Vernon's collection, which is housed in a specially built museum behind his Kenmare, N.D., home.

He has been a farm machinery mechanic for 38 years, nine years with an International Harvester dealer, and since then as a mechanic for Earl Schwartz Co., a corporate grain farm near Kenmare, N.D.

In 1984, Vernon began collecting farm toys. 'When International Harvester started going under, I got to collecting farm toys,' he says. 'I knew there'd be no more (manufactured).' He stayed with IH toys for a while, then started buying other brands at toy machinery shows and from implement dealers.

In 1986, he built a 24- by 36-foot museum to house his collection. He calls it the V&R Toy Museum - the initials are his and his wife's, whose name is Rosina.

Vernon's museum has one wall of red tractors, another wall of John Deere green tractors and in other places, Massey Ferguson, Allis-Chalmers, Ford and Cockshutt models. An antique McCormick-Deering toy combine and some Big Bud all-wheel-drive toy tractors, made by a craftsman in Montana who uses sand molds, also are on display.