Between the Bookends

Wrap Up Some Old Iron Treats this Holiday Season

| December 2005

'Tis (almost) the season to be jolly. Whether you're looking to expand your library, or considering gift ideas for the vintage iron enthusiast on your list, check out these options:

A stocking stuffer it's not: Weighing in somewhere over 6 pounds, Farmall: Eight Decades of Innovation by Randy Leffingwell would pull the mantle right off the wall. But if you're looking to settle in for a long winter's night with a beautifully photographed, carefully researched tractor book, this one should be at the top of your list.

The story of "the big red tractor" began well before the color red became linked to the Farmall name. Leffingwell starts his tale with the 1902 McCormick-Deering merger and is off and running through years of an uneasy marriage of two organizations, technological advances and early marketing wizardry. Indeed, the influence of internal sales and marketing forces on Farmall's fortunes will likely surprise you.

Historical context is nicely woven into the tale (Did you know the U.S. Department of Agriculture was created by Abraham Lincoln?), and Leffingwell does a superb job of lending meaning to facts and figures by providing contemporary equivalents.

From the days when Farmall went head to head with Henry Ford, to the era when it was swallowed by a competitor, to 2004, when Case New Holland agricultural operations reintroduced the Farmall name, Leffingwell weaves a complex story of agricultural manufacturing in a golden age. A solid addition to your library.

Farmall: Eight Decades of Innovation, by Randy Leffingwell, published by MBI; ISBN 978-0-7603-2136-2; hard cover, 352 pages with black-and-white and color photographs. $50. Available through Farm Collector Books, see pages 48-49 for ordering information.