A challenge from the editor (“What’s your best idea?,” Farm Collector, June 2016) made me think of my good friend Eddie Sloan, Tipton, Indiana.
Eddie has been an avid collector for many years and has a most amazing collection of tractors, lawn mowers and many other items. It seems to me that when Eddie had pretty much collected all the stuff once made by Minneapolis-Moline, including a UDLX, he started collecting “oddballs.”
Every spring many of us around here are filled with anticipation to see what Eddie has been up to over the winter. The list of past winter projects is too numerous to recount here, but just to give you a taste of his ingenuity, Eddie has a full-size Minneapolis-Moline Model R tractor on the roof of his shop. If you see a tractor in a parade with no driver, then look for Eddie. He’ll be following along in a golf cart, running the controls via radio. If he invites you to take a ride in his little red convertible car, don’t go into shock if he drives off into a lake: The car is amphibious.
Eddie has filled a couple of what were once large chicken houses with collectibles. One of the buildings measures 40 by 400 feet; the other is 80 by 250 feet. Two lean-to buildings were added for more space and they are now filled, too. His collection is big, but what is really impressive is the rarity of the items he’s collected, tractors and lawn mowers in particular. I should add that he has a knack for making stuff run that hasn’t run for many years. He brings it home (or has it shipped home), and in his shop it goes. It may be missing important parts or be stuck, but before you know it, Eddie has it running. Some pieces get a fresh coat of paint; others are left in their original work clothes.
Recently, the wheels in Eddie’s head got to turning, and as a result he now has a mobile display of 12 tractors loaded on a 1986 Ford car-hauler semi, which is a collectible itself. The previous owner, an Illinois man, bought it to haul tractors and restored the semi. A car-hauler trailer has a lot of hydraulics to raise and lower the various platforms to maximize the space. It took 2,200 feet of new hydraulic hose and 560 new hose end fittings to get the trailer back in working order.
Besides being a great way to display this collection, the car-hauler makes it easy to get the display in and out of storage, and to and from shows. Look for it at shows in the Midwest this summer, including the Half Century of Progress Show in Rantoul, Illinois. FC
For more information: Eddie Sloan, Tipton, Ind., (317) 385-2456. Larry Whitesell, 4314 S. 300 W., Tipton, IN 46072; firstname.lastname@example.org.