Just Havin' Fun

| September 2004

Palmer Fossum may possess the largest collection of Ford tractors in the world. 'If not, I probably have the most variety,' the 76-year-old Northfield, Minn., man says of his more than 100 tractors - 90 of them Fords.

Those 90 are all different, and cover all the Fords made from 1939 to 1965,' Palmer says with satisfaction.

The collection includes a variety of 9N models first manufactured in 1939, 2N models first introduced in 1942, and 8N models that began production in 1948. 'Let's see, we've got all the early version six-cylinder models, the V8, the ones with the cast aluminum hoods, the war models on steel with no starter or electrical system, orchard tractors, Funk conversion models ...' The list goes on ...

Ford for life

Palmer's love of Ford tractors began in 1939. He was 12, and his father took him to a neighborhood demonstration for the new 9N Fords. If Palmer could learn to plow with that tractor, his father said, the family would save enough money to buy one.

'I was 12 years old, and when you're that age, you catch on to everything,' Palmer says. 'So I figured out the three-point system, and plowed with the demonstration tractor, so over the winter we saved money out of the milk checks and bought a new 1940 9N Ford tractor.'

Palmer used the Ford on the farm until 1950, the same year the family sold its last team of horses and bought a new 1950 8N Ford tractor for $1,200. The salesman said he'd throw in a deluxe seat and put fluid in the tires, but wouldn't be able to deliver the tractor to the Fossum farm. 'So on March 10, 1950, I drove it home,' Palmer recalls. 'Eighteen miles from Faribault [Minn.] to Lonsdale, looking around to see if neighbors would see me. I was pretty proud going down the road.'