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Early U.S. tourists write of Hudson River steam travel

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I’ve been reading about how people traveled long distances during the early decades of the 19th century before the development of the railroads.

Motorcycles do have their place in history

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Back in the early part of the 20th century gasoline and oil tractors were few and far between. The big heavy monsters that existed at the time were more likely to be found in the vast prairies of the northern plains states, where they were used for breaking the virgin sod, than in the corn […]

The Harris family made a big impact on Salem

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Several generations of Salem High School students bought school supplies at the Harris Printing Co. store across North Lincoln and up a few doors from the school, and probably a good many Salem residents are aware of the Harris Printing Company which got its start in town way back in 1866, and which is still […]

Versatile has come a long way — in price and size

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sometime around 1941, the Moore & Townsend partnership (my father and my uncle) bought a used Farmall F-30 tractor to replace an old McCormick-Deering 10-20. That F-30, with a 3-bottom John Deere plow, was a big tractor in our part of western Beaver County, Pa. Well, I was at the Canfield Fair recently and Witmer’s […]

The ‘Lazy Farmer’ relished his greens

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Song of the Lazy Farmer was featured in The Michigan Farmer.

Fordson tractors were loved beyond U.S. borders

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The first of Henry Ford’s long anticipated farm tractors rolled off the Dearborn assembly line more than 90 years ago on Oct. 8, 1917. The first year’s production was sent to England to help with the war effort. By April 4, 1919, Fordson tractors were being built in a new plant in Cork, Ireland, as […]

Davis automobiles had a short, but interesting, life

Thursday, August 1, 2013

O.K., admit it; you’ve never heard of a Davis automobile. Well, neither had I until a visit to the National Truck Museum in Auburn, Ind., a couple years ago. After World War II, during which no new automobiles were built for civilian buyers, there was a huge hunger for new cars and many manufacturers gave […]

How were trees transported to sawmills years ago?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The western expansion and industrial revolution that occurred in the U.S. during the 19th century required billions of board feet of lumber. Trees were thick in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, around the Great Lakes, in New England, and in the pine woods of the South, but how to get the heavy logs from […]

The capstan made hard work quite a bit easier

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Way back in antiquity, man himself had to provide any muscle power needed to perform useful work. This, of course, drastically limited the amount of the work that could be performed. Then, probably 50 or 60 centuries ago, faced with moving a heavy object, an enterprising individual figured out how to tie a rope from […]

Magazine column shows how dating has changed

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Not long ago I bought a bound volume of Successful Farming magazines from 1939 (the year I started first grade). Each issue contains a monthly letters column titled What do you think?, where readers sounded off about many subjects. I reckon the following exchange in the columns could be called “Love on the farm.” Starting […]

Let’s Talk Rusty Iron: Tractor rides are gaining popularity in the USA

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I think I’ve written before about the tractor rides that the British tractor enthusiasts have been keen on for a good number of years and, at least once, have wondered why such events weren’t more common on this side of “the pond,” as the Atlantic Ocean is sometimes referred to by we “colonials.” Tractor rides […]

Let’s Talk Rusty Iron: Sure sign of spring: Engine and tractor shows

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Well, Mother Nature is playing an April Fool’s Day trick on us — it’s snowing as I write this. However, it must be spring; I’ve already been to my first tractor show. Last weekend I traveled to Fort Wayne, Ind., and spent about six hours taking in the Maumee Valley Antique Steam & Gas Association […]

Automobile history can sometimes repeat itself

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I’ve often heard it said that “what goes around comes around” and “there’s nothing new under the sun.” Here’s an example of that, and, while probably not proving those rules, it certainly illustrates that such things do occur. About two months ago, I wrote about the Reeves Octoauto, a strange-looking eight-wheeled car that existed briefly […]

Livestock and machinery filled 1840s fairgrounds

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How about that Dodge Ram ad at the Super Bowl? It’s not often that the advantages and benefits of farming are placed before such a huge national audience, most of who probably think their food is manufactured by bib overall-clad dwarves in the back room of the supermarket. Did my heart good! The game was […]

His first locomotive hauled coal. Rest is history

Thursday, January 31, 2013

In 1814, George Stephenson built his first locomotive for hauling coal from the mine where he worked.

Texas shivaree brings many twists and turns

Thursday, January 17, 2013

(Thankfully) my wife and I never had the pleasure of a shivaree as newlyweds

The story of the John Deere organization

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I have a copy of General Catalog No. 200, issued in 1940 by the John Deere Plow Co. of Columbus, Ohio. The book’s index lists all the products offered by Deere at the time, starting with the Advance Endgate Seeder and ending with the Windrow Pick-Up Press. After the index is a photograph of a […]

Forward-thinking Reeves develops the Octoauto

Friday, December 28, 2012

Milton O. Reeves, of the Reeves family who once made steam traction engines and threshers, was associated with the Reeves Pulley Company in Columbus, Ind., at the end of the 19th century. There, he invented a variable speed drive that used two pulleys with sliding split sheaves, just like the ones used for the variable […]

Encore presentation shares fond farm memories

Thursday, December 20, 2012

(Author’s note: This is an “encore” presentation of this column, which was first published in 2002.) Christmas on the western Pennsylvania farm where I grew up was a big time for my sister B.G. and me. We’d pore over the Sears Christmas catalog as soon as it arrived and show Mom everything we wanted. She’d […]

Top five significant developments in ag machinery

Thursday, December 6, 2012

As promised last time, here are my five final choices for the top 10 most significant new developments in agricultural machinery during the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. I cut it off at 1950 because there have been many, many revolutionary improvements since then in farm machines and practices. In addition to […]

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