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Antique tractors bring back lots of memories

12/03/2010 @ 10:42am

A lot of farm kids grow up with fierce brand loyalty regarding tractors and implements. That wasn’t the case around our farm in the ‘50s and ‘60s. We lived 5 miles from Knoxville, a county seat town in southcentral Iowa.

We had six implement dealers representing International Harvester, John Deere, J. I. Case, Ford, Massey-Ferguson and Allis-Chalmers. Pella, eight miles in the other direction, had dealers for some of those same brands, plus separate dealers for Oliver and Minneapolis Moline. As a teenager, I knew my way around the showrooms and shops of each of the Knoxville dealers.

I sometimes think dad’s goal was to have a tractor or implement of every make, and he came close.  When I graduated from high school in 1966, dad had a Ford 860 (one of the few tractors he bought new), an MM 4 Star (It had an ampli-torque transmission making it our first tractor with a high and low range), a Massey-Harris 44, an Allis Chalmers WC and a John Deere B. He had acquired the B primarily for me to cultivate with, so it departed soon after I left for college. Twenty-five years later, overcome with nostalgia and long after dad had died, I bought it back.

As we switched among the tasks of mowing, raking and baling hay, and cultivating corn, we simply moved from one tractor to another. Dad would mow with the A-C and bale with the M-H or MM. I would rake and pull hay wagons with the Ford (which I still have) and cultivate with the B.

The upshot of all that is that when I go to an antique tractor show, I feel a connection to a lot of brands, but no special loyalty to any of them. Here are some of the antique tractors I saw at the Ohio Farm Science Review. I’ll post another assortment in the next few weeks.

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