International Harvester Shows Its True Colors

| October 2003

Folks might've thought they were entering monsoon season in central Pennsylvania as they flocked to the small town of Bloomsburg June 26-28 for the 14th Annual Red Power Roundup, sponsored by Chapter 17 of the International Harvester Collectors Club. With record amounts of spring rain and even some flooding, Red Power Roundup organizers were concerned that the event would be washed out. Yet, only days before exhibitors were scheduled to arrive, the sun emerged and the cold, wet spring abruptly gave way to a sensation at summer.

The roundup attracted more than 900 full-sized tractors, 350 Cub Cadets and a good turnout of trucks, stationary engines, dairy equipment and even some appliances, all made by International Harvester Co. Red is synonymous with International Harvester for most collectors - and a sea of red certainly blanketed the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds that week-end. However, the stellar event proved that IH colors were almost as varied as the products the company produced.

Among the rare and unusual tractors at Bloomsburg were several high-clearance variants of commonly-made farm machines. According to a Red Power Magazine article by Guy Fay, author and noted IH expert, several kinds of IH high-clearance variants exist. Most were designed for sugar cane fields, although others were used on truck farms and nursery growing operations. Thus, the terms 'hi-crop' and 'cane' are generally interchange-able with 'high clearance' when applied to IH tractors.

One rare-tractor owner, Bill Byrd of Harrisburg, Pa., brought his 1937 F-20 Cane tractor, which was beautifully restored in 1999 by Kermit Howdyshell. The unusual F-20 Cane tractors were originally built for use in Australia, but Bills machine was used to cultivate corn and other tall-growing row crops in the U.S. Another collector, Charlie Grim, of Athens, Ohio, brought his 1947 Farmall HV (in letter series tractors, the 'V' in the model name always denotes that the tractor was a high-clearance model) and Scott Bordner of Enola, Pa., had his Farmall Super MV on hand as well. Scotts Super MV cultivated truck-farm crops near Sacramento, Calif., for most of its working life.

Buddy and Hope Banks joined the seldom-seen brigade, and brought their 1959 Farmall MV from Bogalusa, La., while Steve McCoy of Honey Brook, Pa., displayed his 1968 Farmall 756 high clearance. Steve's 756 was originally used on a tomato farm in New York, where it rode high above the tender tomato plants it cultivated and sprayed. There were a number of additional tall tractors on display, including several HV models and a newer Model 140 high clearance.

Several pieces of construction equipment, painted the familiar IH-yellow, stood out among the large number of red tractors on the fairgrounds, including a beautifully restored IH T-340 crawler with Drott '4-in-l' bucket and rear-mounted ripper. A flash of orange in the sea of red was a 1939 Gallion Jr. Patrol grader. International Harvester provided power and drive trains for a number of equipment manufacturers, and this grader, restored and owned by Ron Hershman of Franklin, Pa., is an excellent example. The 1939 Junior Patrol uses the International 1-14 engine and chassis, minus the front axle. The extended grader frame was bolted to the front of the I-14's frame rails, and the rear axle was fitted with narrow, dual wheels and tires. This grader was also fitted with a hydraulic pump to power the blade.