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Let’s Talk Rusty Iron Results

Some things do get better with time: home heating

Thursday, March 24, 2011

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 […]

Old newspaper gives glimpse of farm life in 1800s

Thursday, February 24, 2011

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 […]

Tractor pioneer remembered for his legacy

Thursday, February 10, 2011

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 […]

Columnist recounts visit to Ohio in mid-1800s

Thursday, January 13, 2011

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 […]

Minnie, the red and gold reindeer, saved Christmas

Thursday, December 16, 2010

(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 […]

Definition of a blue moon might surprise some

Thursday, December 2, 2010

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 […]

Honoring a friend is worth trek to Dyersville, Iowa

Thursday, November 18, 2010

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 […]

Remarkably, electric clocks predated home wiring

Thursday, November 4, 2010

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 history of the Nixon & Co. of Alliance, Ohio

Thursday, October 7, 2010

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 […]

Riding shotgun should have been starting shotgun

Monday, September 6, 2010

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 […]

The Russell & Company put Massillon on the map

Thursday, September 2, 2010

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 […]

Fledgling tractor and draft horse show a success

Thursday, August 19, 2010

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. […]

A lesson in the sand casting process

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This week I’m going to attempt to kill two birds with one bush – er, that’s not right – but you get the idea. I’ll identify an item that was in Hazard A Guess, and that has gone un-named for several weeks, as well as fill a Let’s Talk Rusty Iron column. Item Number 896, […]

The tales of skunks and the relief when they leave

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Rusty Iron business is a little slow this week, so I’ll play Scott Shalaway and tell you a nature tale that I call (with apologies to Steven Spielberg), A Close Encounter of the Striped Kind. Nuisance For a couple of weeks, something has been digging up Nancy’s flower bulbs at the front of the […]

War time spent in communications

Friday, July 16, 2010

I’ll continue the story of my Korean experience, and try to work in some references to Rusty Iron, although rust was just as thoroughly despised by the Army brass as dirt. I left for the Far East about the end of October, 1953, and had my very first airplane ride from Pittsburgh to Chicago, where […]

Korean War anniversary triggers memories

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ten years ago Farm and Dairy published a couple of my columns about my experiences in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. I’d like to rerun them (slightly revised) in honor of the veterans of that struggle, as well as the veterans of all our wars and especially, the men and women serving in […]

Garfield, Ohio home to MacDonald

Friday, July 16, 2010

How many readers have heard of the MacDonald car that was built in nearby Garfield, Ohio? For that matter, how many have heard of Garfield (not Garfield Heights), Ohio? Garfield is a tiny community of about twenty homes and a busy feed mill along Ohio State Route 534, right along the Norfolk Southern railroad a […]

Invention of cars link cities

Friday, July 16, 2010

During the 1800s and early 1900s, many American farmers were extremely conservative and disliked innovation and the unconventional. This was especially true when the first automobiles appeared on country roads about 1900. The first cars were bought by more or less affluent individuals who mainly lived in towns and cities and who headed for the […]

Nothing stays the same

Friday, July 16, 2010

Erma Dickey Wonstetler was appointed assistant Postmaster of the tiny U.S. Post Office in Signal, Ohio, in 1906, at the same time as her father, Jefferson John Dickey was appointed Postmaster. She served as his assistant until he retired in 1940, and then succeeded him. Typical day. The Post Office served about 200 customers and […]

Horse drawn plows: Just a matter of preference

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Someone recently asked me why some horse drawn plows throw the furrow to the left, while others (most in fact) throw them to the right. The answer is that it’s strictly a matter of preference, custom, and prejudice. The right-hand plow is well-rooted in history. Illustrations of seventeenth century English plows show that they all […]


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