More on White International Cub Tractors

The white International Harvester Cub tractors, or Albino Cubs, made a splash when introduced in 1950

| March 2000

Last month, in response to a question from a reader, I did a column about white Farmall tractors. As I was browsing through my cache of old Farm Implement News magazines, I came across the following tidbit from the issue of April 10, 1950: 

Under the heading, "It's Iconoclasm ... Nothing Else," FIN's famous editor, E.J. Baker Jr., referred to the matter with some humor in his "As We See It" column:

"Most of our avid readers have been around enough to know that a certain shade of brilliant red, sometimes styled Technicolor red, is the unregistered yet sacred color associated with a well-known line of tractors and farm equipment. Executives of the unnamed red-emblazoned company ... almost get apoplexy when Nature in her whimsy persists in coloring the spring-time countryside a deep shade of green which is characteristic of a constantly encroaching competitive line of equipment. You see what red means to some persons. 

"Well, here's the horror of horrors. A dealer for the Technicolor-red line down in the Deep South is besmirching sacred things. He has painted one of his red Cubs white, and is traipsing about the country with it, showing farmers what that ghostly tractor can do. And it's selling Cubs! That's the worst of it. Next thing some Jayhawker or Buckeye will be painting an 'M' gray with a red belly, and the fat will really be in the fire."

I had to look up the word "iconoclasm." The dictionary says an iconoclast is "One who attacks cherished beliefs as shams."

It seems odd that a farm machinery journal as prestigious as Farm Implement News wouldn't have been treated to a press release from International Harvester announcing the white demonstrator program in advance. However, Mr. Baker seems to have been in the dark about the company-wide sales promotion.