Yes, we are here!

In times like these our hobbies become lifesavers. At GAS ENGINE MAGAZINE and FARM COLLECTOR, we have been tracking down the most interesting and rare vintage farm machines and collections for more than 80 years combined! That includes researching and sourcing the best books on collectibles available anywhere. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-866-624-9388 or by email. Stay safe!

Boiling Oil

| July 2001

  • FC_V3_I12_Jul_2001_05-1.jpg
    Bob Day, right, fastens the clips on the kettles
  • FC_V3_I12_Jul_2001_05-3.jpg
    The Day family reenacts the past
  • FC_V3_I12_Jul_2001_05-2.jpg
    A view of the worm weed distillery

  • FC_V3_I12_Jul_2001_05-1.jpg
  • FC_V3_I12_Jul_2001_05-3.jpg
  • FC_V3_I12_Jul_2001_05-2.jpg

You've probably never heard of Fry's vermifuge. It hasn't been around for a good many years, but, once, it was a worm treatment. Its main ingredient was worm weed oil, produced from the seeds that grow on worm weed plants. There aren't any bulk growers of worm weed plants in the U.S. these days because modern chemicals have replaced the oil in medicines.

In fact, there never was much worm weed grown in the U.S., as far anyone can tell, but, for some unknown reason, a worm weed industry came into being in Westminster, Md. (in 1860), triggering the growth of a cash crop on small family farms in Carroll and Frederick counties.

'Worm seed oil is similar to olive oil,' said Bob Day, who lives on the Day family farm in southern Frederick County. 'It's a basic worm medicine used for animals. It was also used to protect calves' ears from being licked by other calves. Its official name is chenopodium. You plant the seeds in hot beds in early March in sheltered places. You sprinkle straw on them and then transplant them in May or early June. The plant blooms in late August. It's about 3 to 4 feet tall and looks like a big tumbleweed.'

Bob's farm has been in the Day family for more than 200 years, with a history that dates back to land grants issued by Lord Baltimore in the late 18th century. A hundred years later the family started growing worm weed along with their tobacco crops.

'Back then the hot beds were dug in the woods,' Bob said. 'They used horses and harrows to roll the beds. It was a cash crop that went with tobacco. Tobacco is harvested in August. Worm seed is harvested the last week in September through November. It was a way of life.'

In 1970, the Day family rebuilt their worm weed still from used equipment to accommodate the crop, so Bob Day speaks from experience when he describes the harvesting and distilling processes.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.

Facebook Pinterest YouTube


click me