I have a reprint of The Country Gentleman’s Catalogue for 1894. Published in England, it was meant not for the English yeoman farmer who actually did the work, but for the “gentlemen” who owned those farms and estates.
Nancy and I just got back from Lancaster County, Pa., where I attended the 18th annual Horse Progress Days. This was the 16th consecutive year for me at the show, and the 2011 offering was as different as night and day from those early exhibitions back in the 1990s. Horse decline The use of horses […]
Although they’d been reluctant to dive into the budding gasoline tractor business, there was increasing pressure from Deere’s branch houses and dealers, who wanted a tractor to sell.
The last week in May, I spent three days in northern Indiana. When I left, the fields around here were still too wet to get into and, although one usually sees dust clouds in every direction across northeastern Ohio and Indiana at this time of year, tractors and chisel plows and disks were all parked. […]
There were two different Ney companies in Canton in the late 1800s and early 1900s, both making hay tools such as barn hay forks, carriers and track.
Seventy years ago, the first of many millions of Jeeps saw the light of day. The origin of the sturdy little vehicles, which were universally used by all the allied armed forces during World War II and Korea, leads back to nearby Butler, Pa. The Austin automobile had been developed by Englishman Herbert Austin, who […]
Anyone tried to buy a new work truck lately? If you have, you’ve probably come to the realization that truck manufacturers don’t consider trucks to be work vehicles any more. They add so many amenities that the average pickup truck today is much more luxurious than a top of the line Cadillac was fifty years […]
Many years ago, Nancy and I attended a tractor show at Malabar Farm, probably put on by the Richland County Steam Threshers. Established by conservationist and author Louis Bromfield in 1939, and his home until he died in 1956, Malabar Farm is now an Ohio State Park. Finally! Anyway, in those days I had only […]
As a long, cold winter finally winds down, I was thinking about how comfortable most of us are in our homes with modem heating plants, thermo pane windows, and fully insulated walls and ceilings. Even though fuel costs have gone up, and will probably continue to climb, all we really have to do when we’re […]
The state of agriculture in this country was still quite primitive in 1840, but many farmers were beginning to realize the farming practices of their fathers and grandfathers were long past their use-by-date. These progressive agriculturists were hungry to learn new ways of doing things and, to feed this hunger, there was a huge growth […]
On Jan. 2, 2011, at the ripe old age of 96, Harold Brock from Waterloo, Iowa, died peacefully at his home. So what, you ask? Design Well, because Harold Brock was in on the design phase of two of the most popular farm tractors in U.S. history — and for two completely different manufacturers. Harold […]
Today we don’t think of Ohio as being “The West,” although it was 170 years ago. I have bound volumes of an Albany, N.Y. farm paper, called The Cultivator, from 1840 and 1841, that contain a series of Letters from the West. These were sent to the paper by a traveler from Onondaga County, New […]
(Author’s Note: The following story is the only work of fiction I’ve ever written and was originally published in the Farm and Dairy on Dec. 24, 1992. I based my characters on real people: Lig, the elf who took care of the reindeer, was named for Dr. John Liggett, DVM. Sal, the Farmall advocate, after […]
Blue moon/you saw me standing alone/without a dream in my heart/without a love of my own. — Lyrics from a 1934 song by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart There was a full moon Nov. 21. No big deal, you say, there’s a full moon in most every month. However, this one is what the Maine […]
Many years ago, not long after I got into the “Rusty Iron” hobby, I began to attend the annual show put on by the Northwest Pennsylvania Steam Engine & Old Equipment Association at their grounds in Portersville, Pa. I knew no one there, but there was one skinny guy who was always bustling around and […]
If you told most Americans living today that at one time people had to actually wind their clocks and watches by hand, they’d probably raise an eyebrow in disbelief. Electric clocks and battery powered quartz watches are just about all that can be found today, as has been the case for decades. The comforting tick-tock […]
The other day my friend, Ed Brenner, asked if I knew anything about a Nixon Co. from Alliance, Ohio. I confessed that I didn’t and Ed told me that he’d recently viewed a large collection of cast iron implement seats, among which was one with “Nixon & Co.” and “Alliance, Ohio,” cast into it. Not […]
Start a tractor by firing a shotgun shell? You’ve got to be kidding! However, the post-World War II Field Marshall tractor used just such a method of starting. Marshall, Sons & Co., Ltd., ran the Brittania Iron Works at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, in northeastern England. The firm was founded in 1848 and soon began building threshing […]
For many years I’ve planned to spend some time at the Massillon Museum and the Massillon Public Library to try to do a story on The Russell & Company. Well, I’ve procrastinated long enough that I don’t have to do that now, as Tom Downing has recently published A History of The Russell & Company […]
In this day and age, many of the old established steam and tractor shows are struggling with declining attendance and, in some cases, the reluctance of members to pitch in and help with the many, many tasks that are necessary to put on a successful event. Of course, expenses keep rising too, especially insurance costs. […]