Monday, December 15, 2008

So What Now?

Shows are mostly over for this year....So What Now?

Sit back and enjoy the snow, ice and sleet? Not hardly! These are the times to get on the 'net and find those parts that you need for that restoration that you've been putting off all summer. There are a literal ton of web sites out there that sells or locates parts for antique tractor entusiasts.

Some of you are restoring old tractors and have an abundant list of resources for obtaining used or NOS parts. Others of you however, are restoring tractors or old pieces of equipment that are not so popular and have difficulty locating parts for them.

Many of these web sites cater specifically to antique tractor restorers and collectors needing parts. Lots of them are parts dealers and many are salvage yards. You can find sources for some of these organizations on the Fastrac Web Site in the parts resources pages that are broken down by state and/or country.

Winter is a good time to work on your restorations when generally you will have more free time to do it. Summer and fall seems to keep one busy attending shows or events rather than working on the restoration. I know this is not true for many of you but it is usually the way it works out for me! I tend to put off what could wait till later rather than miss a chance to get to an event somewhere during the summer months (this is better known as procrastination).

At any rate, if you're like me, you'll find more time to search the 'net for parts and get things fixed up in the winter so you can play more in the summer. To each his own!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All Brand Collectors

Almost all tractor collectors will eventually zero in on a particular brand to collect or restore. Notice that I said "almost"? That's because there are still those out there who will collect anything that comes with wheels or looks good to them. A few of years back, I lost a good 'ol buddy of mine who had more than a dozen old tractors and they were all over the place as far as brand of manufacture.

Charlie was 89 when he passed but from the time he quit farming and right up until the time he died, he kept on collecting and restoring them tractors. He had a 1929 Rumely 25-40, an old IH Titan, an SC Case, two John Deere A's and a G model, too. There was a complete restore of a Farmall F-20 and several others in the fold as well.

Here is a picture of Charlie's 1929 Rumely. You can read the entire story and see more pictures of this old tractor on the Fastrac Website here. Check it out, it's one of the cleanest and finest restorations that I have ever seen that gets fired up regularly.

I'll never get tired of getting myself around this old stuff and people like him that actually lived in the days when they used this stuff. Oh well. who knows - maybe someday!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fall is Coming......Be Ready!

Fall show time is just around the corner. If you are in to old tractors, farm equipment, parts swap meets, flea markets, old hit 'n miss engines or just plain collecting, then this is the time of year for you. I know.......its not the only time of the year that you can find tractor shows, etc., but it is the favorite time for them for most of us.

Why? It is usually cooler at night and milder in the daytime and this makes for the best time to demonstrate your equipment without everything sticking to you because of the sweat! Sitting around at night talking tractors around a campfire somehow seems better than without one....and fall is the time of the year to really enjoy that. I see this almost every year in Matthews, Indiana at its Covered Bridge Festival which is centered around antique tractors and engines.

The site for this tractor show sits in a small valley along a river bank and literally at the foot of one of Indiana's oldest covered bridges (See photo above). In a lot of the past shows at this site, you can get up early in the morning and see a mist coming up over this small little setting. Some of it is coming from the cool air around the site with it's close proximity to the river, but most of it is coming from the hit 'n miss engines being started up in the cool fall morning air. Wow, what a site to see! If ever you get a chance to visit this show, you won't be disapointed.

Obviously this is not the only show on the road in the fall. There must be hundreds if not thousands of them around the country and the World. Most will have their own uniqueness. I would suggest that you try to find one and attend the festivities if you have never done that before. And.......if you have, then why not try to find a different one to attend than one that you have attended before. They are all different in lots of ways but are very much the same in what to expect.......If that makes any sense!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Collecting By The Seat Of Your Pants!

Collecting old antique farm equipment and related stuff can really be fun but whoever thought of just collecting the seats from some of this old stuff? Many collectors do however and it can be very interesting just to know the history behind these old cast iron implement seats.

One of the most interesting things that I found out about cast iron implement seats is that prior to the Civil War in the United States, farm implements were all walk behind, horse-drawn pieces of equipment. After the war was over, the munitions factories that were in place at that time were converted over into making seats for these horse-drawn implements. Some said that this was one of the most improved things that had ever happened in agriculture up to that time.

After this innovation occured, implements could be made so that the farmer could then have his feet free to operate levers at the same time he was driving the team of horses. This fact alone allowed equipment manufactures to add features incorporating these new levers. Extra tasks could be performed with all the new functionality in the machines.

The seat patterns, in the beginning, were made from wood and then cast into iron. There were many designs among the seats, some being very plain in appearance and others very ornate including lettering, etc. Almost all had some sort of holes in them whether it be simple round holes or gaps between any lettering that might have been present. This was done to allow water to drain through the seat thereby preserving the life of the seat against rusting while sitting idle.

There are well over 2000 different styles and types of cast iron seats known to have been made and collectors have preserved a tremendous amount of these seats from being destroyed. Some collect them and simply leave them as found and others will clean them up, paint them and display them. But, any way you look at it, this is a favorite attraction at some of the antique tractor shows that I have attended and will probably not disappear anytime soon.

It's kind of a neat thing.....preserving some of the history of farming and the pieces of equipment that have come and gone during the process.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are Old Pedal Tractors "Real" Antique Tractors?

Well..........what do you think? If they're old (antiques) and they're tractors, why wouldn't they be? I think they are and I won't exclude them from the Fastrac Website. My brother-in-law has a tremendous collection of these old pedal tractors similar to the one shown in this photo. He has collected them for years. He still owns and operates a small farm in central Indiana where he uses mostly Allis Chalmers tractors and equipment, but since he has gotten older and has less energy than he used to, he got interested in the "Little Guys" so to speak.

It might surprise you how much some of these little old tractors are worth. Besides, if you are a person who is interested in the Antique Tractor hobby and didn't have the money to spare for the bigger tractors or you don't have the space to work on the larger ones, this might just be your connection to the hobby.

I'll bet more than a few of you have see these little old "play" tractors somewhere in your past as you were growing up. In fact, you can still see them pop up in garage and rummage sales occasionally. I have seen several of them being used as decorations in some of the Cracker Barrel Restaurants around the county. The last time I "Googled Up" the key words "Antique Pedal Tractor", the results were 64,100 pages with those words in the content. A lot of those results were for some of these units for sale on E-Bay.

Almost every Tractor Show or event that I see advertised will elude to a kiddie's pedal tractor pull event at the show. It's more than's sometimes crazy! Lots of these old pedal tractors are being restored to original condition today and I think they have a real place in our hobby. My thinkin' is.......why not? If it's old and has a tractor attached to its name, it should get some ink!

To each his own is my motto. Whatever happens that gets our hobby more attention, the more it will serve us all. Think about it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hey....just getting a little concerned here!

Most of us are dealing with old antique tractors as a hobby and are hoping to just get a little fun out of the deal. But, knowing that the price of fuel is so high and looking like its going to continue to go up, can you imagine what's in store for the farmers of today? Pretty scary if you ask me.

That is not to say that the farmers are going to be the only ones that are going to have trouble surviving....we all will share additional costs across the board , too! But, if I can't go to work tomorrow in the plastics industry that I work in, I doubt whether that is going to effect too many people down the road. But with the farmers getting crops ruined or fields becoming inoperable because of flooding and bearing the rising fuel costs, etc, these problems will all translate to higher food costs at the market because of a tighter supply of everything coming off the farms......... Not to mention the increased costs of getting what products that do get harvested sent to the markets.

Our hobby isn't going to suffer too much because most of us are going to continue going to the shows and demonstratiing our old iron, etc. But, if things gets too tight on the fuel situation, we'll just stay closer to home and not fire up the 'ol girl so often. Right? Farmer's can't do that....they have to fire up the equipment or nothing else happens.

How in the world did we get into this mess? Have we been too complacent or content with the way things are? Could we have done something different? Who knows. I'm not trying to say anything in particular but it does bother me how the modern day farmer is going to survive.

I have heard comments lately about folks thinking of putting out a small garden. I have heard this from people who have never farmed or grown anything ever before in their lives. Hearing comments like that lets me know that people are truly getting concerned over the rising costs as well. I hope they succeed!

Maybe it'll get worse before it gets better. Maybe not. The only thing I know for sure, I'm not nearly so worried about our little old hobby as I am our little old country!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Good Old Tractor Hunting Mystery Solved

Last week I received an e-mail from a seemingly fairly desperate fellow named Pat through the Fastrac Web Site asking for help in locating his grandpa's Farmall F-20 tractor. He asked me if I could help him find his father's F-20 that his grandfather bought new in 1939 (he thought).

In the e-mail, he goes on to say that the tractor was sold by his dad to Jimmy Belach of Walker, Iowa in the mid 80's and then at a later date, the tractor was sold to a Vince Gaffney of Fairfax, Iowa around 1993 or so. Pat said that he had no phone number or any other information on Mr. Gaffney but that he was extremely interested in locating the tractor which had become very important to him as of late.

I responded to him that I would make a post to try and get the word out to Fastrac's viewers and that we might just get lucky enough to get a response from someone.

Before I could get the post made that I promised Pat, he e-mailed me back to say that his family had farmed in Garrison, Iowa where his grandpa had purchased the F-20 and that his dad & grandpa had farmed the land there until they had a disagreement about expanding the farm operation. At that time (around 1965) the farm property was sold because of the disagreement and the tractor was given to a friend of the Belach family (Mr. Belack, the friend, died in 1990).

While all of that was happening, Pat found himself working in both Colorado and Kentucky but had that old tractor on his mind by entertaining the idea of locating the tractor and restoring it to its original condition. Pat said that he started looking for the old tractor about two years ago and was finally able to track down the Belach family. After he contacted me for help in locating the tractor and, as I said previously, before I could respond to him......he e-mailed me over the weekend to say that Mr Belach's widow called him last week. This was after about 18 months since he had contacted her and she told him that she had found the tractor and got the Gaffney fellow's location and number for him.

He said that when he went to see the tractor that it had the original rubber with a "closed" steering box and a "from the factory" hydraulic kit along with a live PTO. I personally didn't really get to help Pat find this tractor but was really pleased that he decided to share the news with me. I e-mailed Pat again to ask him if he was going to go get the tractor then and he responded by saying "Yep.... That's the plan!"

It just goes to show that if you want something bad enough and you put some action to it, sometimes you'll get what you want. I enjoyed the story! Thanks Pat, Good luck with the restore!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Old Iron Lawn Ornaments

One thing I have found across the years from placing myself in and around old tractors and equipment, is that it makes you completely aware of things around you as you travel. For instance, if you are on your way to play golf at a rural golf course, are you looking at the sides of the roads for turf that will be similar to what you will face on the course once you arrive? Of course not. Your subconscious mind is forcing you to see if there are any old cast iron implement seats tossed in the side ditch, or rusting tractor carcasses in the fence rows.

I find myself constantly scouring the lateral sights along the road while I'm driving and very specifically for these types of "finds." (not the golf course stuff.... the old tractor stuff). I must admit though, that I rarely stop at most of the discoveries. Most of them I have seen before. Some of them will make you stop though. I found one of these spots today that I thought that I would share with you. It just happens to be and old International F20 Tractor that is being used as a beauty spot decoration at a local landscape nursery.

If old antique tractors or implements are not being restored or being taken to scrap iron dealers, you can bet that a lot of this old stuff is being used as landscape decorations. You've probably all seen the old horse drawn sickle bar mower or two row corn planter with all new paint adorning the front yard of more than one country farm house. I know I have!

One thing is for sure, I am more in favor of the lawn ornament usage than I am of the scrap iron pile because once the piece is gone to the scrap iron pile, it's gone forever! I thought this was a pretty cool use of and old tractor in a setting where it will always be on the job.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Great Old Cat!

I posted earlier about the relationships that are built when you get involved within the hobby of antique tractor collecting or restoring. One of my favorite buddies that I had acquired a fairly close relationship with a few years back, (Maris Hall) got me very interested in an old caterpillar 15 tractor that he has. I had never driven a Caterpillar tractor of any kind before meeting him but because of the friendship that grew out of that meeting, I finally got the chance.

Maris brought his 1929 Cat 15 to the Matthews (Indiana) Covered Bridge Festival about 6 years ago and I was able to snap some photographs of that old tractor. You can view them and some of the history behind his acquiring of the old tractor and what he had to do to get it up and running on the regular Fastrac web site. This story is quite interesting to read if you like old cats.

Maris asked me that day during the festival if I would like to "take the old girl" for a spin and I, not being one to turn down too many chances at doing that kind of stuff, naturally obliged him. That "spin" " turned out to be most of the rest of that afternoon. The caterpillar was a very different experience for me in that I had never driven any old tractor (and that has been quite a few) that had no steering wheel. It was very cool the way you could make that old machine turn on a dime so to speak!

Strike up conversations with folks when you go to these types of events..... you never know what kinds of friendships can be made and what can happen within the resulting relationships.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Any Old Iron Will Do - Or Will It?

For some collectors, "any old iron will do" is a statement that would be the only statement to make. To these people, If you find anything related to the bygone days of farming, its made out of iron and you can haul it home, its worth collecting. I don't know of a ton of people that would just haul any old piece of farming equipment or apparatus home automatically. I can tell you though, that I would bet that almost anyone who is an old iron collector would at least take a serious look at the piece.

This is part of the fun of collecting! Finding a piece of old iron whether it be a broken down F20 Farmall in a wood-lined fence row with trees growing up through its frame rails or an old cast iron water pump that got its supply from an old windmill aeromotor, the discovery is what it's all about. Do you think for a moment that a true collector of old iron wouldn't at least take a look?

It never ceases to amaze me what shows up at the swap meets and tractor shows. I have never been to one yet that I didn't see something that I could not identify, and upon asking the owner what it was, to be not confronted with a smile or smirk as the identification was made for me.

Most of what you see at these events of course, centers around the old tractors and that is totally another story. Most collectors do eventually zero in on a paticular tractor brand to collect if tractors are the only things being collected........ note I said most! However, I know several (and you probably do too) that don't even care what the brand is, they just know its old, its a tractor and it needs a home so therefore they collect them.

So what am I saying? Only that if everyone collected the same stuff, the same brand, the same age and lined them all up in a row, this hobby wouldn't even exist! The diversity is what makes it all tick and is the exact reason that I love it so much. As long as I can still get to the shows and swap meets, that probably won't change very soon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Have Fun Working Your Old Tractor!

One of the times that I had the most fun fooling around with old tractors was when my brother Gary and I began restoring an old 1941 hand crank, styled John Deere A. We had driven the old A from my house to his which ended up being about 6 miles (the way we went about it). We both live on the outskirts of the city and had to take some lesser driven streets as well as some county roads to get from my house to his on the tractor.

Once arriving at Gary's house though, that's when the fun began. He had an old stand mounted buzz saw that was belt driven and a pile of logs that needed to be sawed into shorter lengths. You know what happened next..... but only after about an hour getting the belt lined up properly to the belt pulley on that old "A".

That was the first time I ever experienced cutting wood on a buzz saw and just happens to be, as I said before, the most fun time I ever spend "Tractoring". It was also one of the more potentially dangerous times playing with old tractors. I had heard many stories of severe belt burns, wood kicking out from the saw table, pinched or cut fingers, etc. But that particular time, we lucked out...... or maybe it was just that we were more aware of the dangers and watched more closely than we might have done if we had many times under our belts.

Working an old tractor is truly one of the pleasures of collecting and restoring them. If simply looking at them was all there was to the hobby, I'm not too sure I would have remained as active as I have been up to this point. Anyway, having fun is what it is all about, so have fun working your old tractor and equipment!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What Sparks The Interest In Old Antique Tractors?

One of the fastest growing hobbies in the nation in the last few years is collecting and/or restoring old tractors. Why is that? In the spring, summer, fall and even winter you can find all kinds of events associated with this hobby.

What sparks the interest in old antique tractors? I don't really know. I only know that I get e-mails all the time from the Fastrac web site about new entrants to the hobby. Got one last week from Robert Johnson. Look at this picture of Robert on his old DC Case. Does he look old enough to know what that old Case was capable of doing when it was new? I doubt it, but there he is sitting on the seat and what is that on his face? Is that a smile? Click on the image to get a larger picture of that smile!

I don't know for sure but I think that it could very well be the serenity you get from being able to do just what Robert seems to be doing....... riding on his old Case in a tree-lined pasture with none of the World's pressures on him at that exact moment.

There is too much of that Worldly pressure and stress on most of us today. Back in the day, farming was hard work (still is today) but there was a lot less hustle bustle than there is today. I think folks are just looking for that pastime where one can just relax and enjoy something that gets them and their minds away from all the stress.

Why not spend that time "messing around" with old tractors? If you ever try it, you just might get hooked! I did and it looks like Robert did, too.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Restore Old Tractors?

There are countless reasons why people collect or restore old tractors. Some merely see this process as an investment opportunity, restored or unrestored. Since old iron is becoming scarcer with every passing year, investors see acquiring old tractors as an opportunity to cash in on this commodity.

Others involve themselves in collecting or restoration of old tractors and equipment simply to have something to do after retirement and to hold them close to their memories. Yet still others will claim that the only reason they are involved is that they simply enjoy tinkering with old stuff.

I think the real underlying reason for all of these people is the relationships that are developed during the process. Relationships such as a father and son who restores an old tractor together with no ensuing arguments when they continually argue about everything else! How about an old man showing a middle aged man a few old farmer tricks when it comes to the mechanics of restoration? What about the guy who finds an old hunk of iron along a fence row, offers to buy it, gets agreement and then is quizzed almost daily by the seller about the progress?

Relationships is why! Relationships are developed through the hobby of collecting or restoring old stuff! I have gotten to know many, many people in and around this hobby that I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet, simply because I had questions and they had answers.

You can't set out for the day with the sole purpose of finding a person to have a relationship with. You might but you probably won't have much success. You would be better off however, to start out your day on another field trip to find the next tractor to restore and run into your next good relationship whether you recognize it or not. I have found that if you get around something that you like to do, you will suddenly get surrounded by those who like you...... Does this make any sense?


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Original or Beautified

It's hard to say what is the proper way to restore an old antique tractor. Some say that you need to keep everything all original down to and including the old original paint and decals........ so long as everything works and is as it was delivered from the factory.

Others will say "Spice it up some!" Repaint it, add chrome, make new mounting step plates on the hitch assembly or just a host of other stuff to make your tractor unique. I kind of belong to this latter approach... just so long as you don't take it too far!

On my regular antique tractor website I have a page showing an old 1934 Farmall F20 that my brother restored a few years back. It kind of belongs in the "Spice it up some" category. He added special hand made step plates inside the drawbar made out of a couple of pieces of old oak boards that he got from work and that formerly supported a piece of heavy equipment for shipment. I think it looks pretty good. Other than the step plates however, the tractor is all original but just renewed with paint, new tires, decals and all. Could this be a compromise restoration between the two approaches?

Any way you cut it, either way is better than no way at all. Too much of this old stuff is getting cut up for scrap............ especially these days when scrap metal is increasing in value. Let's keep both these styles going!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

What Farming Used To Be

50 years ago, most farming operations were more laid back than they are today. That's not to say things were easy by any means, only that there were certain things that were done in certain ways and farmers didn't "bust butt" so that they could get into the next 600 acre field. Life was generally peaceful on the farm in the 40's and 50's.

The antique tractors and implements of yesteryear was adequate for the typical farmer from this time period. Could you start up a new farming operation today with this type of equipment? Only if your beginning farming operation was on a scale with the size of the farms in those years (almost always less than 200 acres).

I have been reading the posts from a blog that I ran across the other day that has a literal ton of good wholesome reading about a family that has started up a new farming operation of the old time scale and way of doing it. If you never personally lived on or near a farm during that time frame you might want to visit this blog called "The Beginning Farmer". The blog has posts about everything from what types of equipment and tractors that was used to how things were planted, what problems arose and how they were addressed, etc.

I found myself captivated by this family's experiences and was surprised at some of the memories in my own life that were revived. Reading about his farming family and their experiences really has reminded me of what farming used to be like.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

First Tractor Experience

Not my first experience.....the grandson's. Well, sort of! Newer tractor, younger boy, lawn tractor category at that. Not exactly an antique tractor or old tractor story but to me, I had fun yesterday just watching a small boy playing the "Big Time" role.
My grandson was born prematurely with what is known as Noonan's syndrome and was only around 3 pounds when he was born. The Noonan's Syndrome was not diagnosed immediately but when it was, treatment suggestions began. In short, Noonan's Syndrome typically results in individuals with slow growth rates and without growth hormone injections, there is little chance that male patients would grow beyond 5 feet tall.
This was the case for my grandson. He was way underdeveloped for a long period of time until he was diagnosed and began the hormone injections. There are other traits that are typically present in Noonan's Syndrome patients but smallness in size is the predominant feature. If you want to learn more about Noonans, Syndrome, you can visit: The Noonan Syndrome Support Group, Inc.

At any rate, back to the tractor ride. My grandson had been begging me to let him drive the tractor for a couple or three years now but with the safety feaures built in to my John Deere lawn tractor, if you don't sit firm in the seat, the tractor will shut off. Up until this year, my grandson didn't have long enough legs to reach the pedals and still be able to sit firm enough in the seat to keep the tractor running. This year was different. With the hormone injections in the past, the results allowed him to grow tall enough that he could now reach the pedals this year......and he knew it!

So, yesterday he got to get in his first real tractor experience. He is a 14 year old with a body of a ten year old but with the heart of a lion. I have never been so proud of his perserverance. For him, that lawn tractor ride made his day and soon after the picture was taken, he was on his way to the next conquest.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Old Tractor Find

Well, I found something yesterday that is really challenging me.

I was returning back to the shop from picking up some tooling for the day job, and drove by an old rundown mobile home that I had driven by many, many times before. The driveway at this mobile home location had always had several huge rows of cordwood stacked up all the way from the unit out to the end of the driveway. I had never before paid much attention to anything else at that location.

But yesterday, when I drove by this place, I noticed that the rows of wood was nearly gone and I could see a very complete old tractor sitting between where the wood was formerly stacked and a small out building adjacent to the mobile home. What struck me the most was that I had never seen an old tractor quite like that one. It appeared to look a great deal like an old Theilman tractor but I know that it wasn't. It had a peculiar shaped grill on the front and I could not tell from a distance what brand of tractor that I was looking at.

Some would say...... Get a little closer and check it out, Dave! That's where the challenge comes in. There were several signs posted all over and around the out building such as: Beware of dog! No Trespassing! Keep out! My thought was, knowing that I always keep a camera in my truck, to get a picture and try to get a photo of this old machine. I suppose I could have gotten a shot from the road but what could it have possibly helped anyone from that distance?

I thought of getting out of the truck and knocking on the door to ask more about the old tractor and hopefully, get permission to take some photos but the vision of a mad 100 pound Rottweiler didn't do too much for me! Someday soon, I'll get up enough guts to knock on that door and if or when that happens, I'll get some photos of the tractor on a future post and see if any of you can help identify it. If I get lucky, it may be for sale!

I promise to keep you in the loop.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

How old do you need to be?

How old do you think you need to be to be considered an Antique Tractor nut?

I can remember when I was a little kid, I used to watch my dad drive tractors in the barnlots and fields and I couldn't wait 'til I "growed up!" When I was about 7 years old, we lived for a short time in a small central Indiana town by the name of Gaston. This little town had an International Harvester dealership and my brothers and I used to walk up there (it was only two blocks away) and watch them work on the tractors from across the street.

My dad worked as a hired hand on a neighboring farm that used all John Deere tractors, so we heard about them from dad all the time. We could tell the distinctive "Pop-putt-putt-putt-Pop" sound and what it stood for in a childhood heartbeat!

Anyway, one day we went back to the IH dealer up the street because we heard that familiar sound again. It must have been near the county fair time because when we got up to the dealership, they were just beginning to back someone's Johnny Popper up to the back end of an IH Super M.

That's when I officially saw my first tractor pull! Right there on the steet. Been a fan of tractor pulls and tractors in general ever since then. I guess that I was an antique tractor nut way back then except what I witnessed that day wasn't antiques, they were brand new tractors.

What I'm saying is that you don't have to be old to get tractors in your blood. Everywhere you look when you go to the shows, you'll see youngsters driving old tractors or old lawntractors around the grounds.

Point is, you can be an antique tractor nut right out of the chute!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Springtime Antique Tractor Shows

Spring time is a wonderful time to take in an antique tractor show around the country. These shows are taking place all over the country at this time of year and are a perfect opportunity to "shake off" the winter dust and boredom for collectors and restorers.

Most of these events will have swap meets running in conjunction with the shows. This usually works out real well for the restorers since they have had all winter (at least in the northern climates) to think about the next move on their projects. If you have ever attended one of these events and looked over the stuff that shows up in the swap meets, you can find anything from a sparkplug to whole units or anywhere between.

I remember attending one of these events a few years back in Jones, Michigan where I had no intention of buying anything while attending the show. As I walked down the isles of parts in the swap meet section, I noticed a pile of old iron farm wagon wheels. Having made several trips down those isles during the course of the day, it was like this pile of old wheels kept "jumping out" at me! I kept thinking to myself, "Carolyn (that's my wife) has been on my case to find something to use as a beauty spot in her rock garden". I thought, "that's it.....this just might fill the bill" so to speak. Needless to say, a vacated twenty dollar bill from my pocket found two of the smaller wheels from that pile in the back of my pickup truck!

You need to know that as it turned out, these two wheels do indeed look pretty nice in her rock garden, buried about a third of the overall height in the ground and her wisteria vines crawling all over the spokes.

There is a tremendous amount of things to look at during any of these shows that you would choose to attend and I have never seen two of them alike. I find something that I have never seen before at almost every one of them that I have attended and in the 15 years that I have been attending these shows, that is a lot of stuff!

You might never have had the opportunity to go to one of these shows......... Cripes! You may not even realize that they exist if you're not an antique tractor or farm equipment hobbyist, but I can tell you for sure that most folks would have to be hard pressed to be bored at one of them.

If the idea of finding one of these shows in your area in any way kind of sparks your interest, go to one of the search engines and type in "Spring Tractor Show" and see what you can find. You may be surprised what shows up in your area. If you are already a collector or restorer you probably already know what’s happening in your area, but if you're not you might want to find one and try it....... You just might like it!

Antique tractor collecting has become one of the fastest growing pastimes in recent years. It might not be your thing but if you do end up checking out one of these shows, don't be surprised if you end up getting hooked!


Thursday, May 8, 2008

A brand new Antique Tractor Blog

If you are into old farm equipment and antique tractor restoration, my new weblog about this hobby should be on your agenda down the road. The intention is to be proactive with a lot of the "happenings" in the Antique Tractor collecting world!

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The launch - First Post

I'm just an average guy who has had an extreme interest outside the regular working world with a couple of hobbies, some of which happens to be old farm equipment and antique tractors. I started an Antique tractor BBS way back in 1994 and tried to get it to have readership when folks had to call up on their dime to make posts and the like. Didn't work too well!

Along came the advancement of many things within the internet world and I converted most of what I was trying to do with the BBS into an Antique tractor website called "Fastrac" and launched it in October of 1996. Since that time the web site has gradually developed into a fairly large non-commercial web site catering to antique tractor hobbyists and collectors and supplying them with informational resources that supports the hobby. Fastrac has become one of the larger web sites of its type of which I am very proud.

Back to me....I grew up as a small boy on the farm where my dad was a "hired hand" working for the other guy. Having been exposed to a lot of the old ways that farmers used to plant, care for and harvest their crops, I naturally was found around the barn lot and in the fields watching big boys "do their thing" with that stuff. Memories of those times is was sparked my interest in some of this old equipment and when I became an adult, I found out that there was a seemingly large increase of interest in some of that old machinery.

By the time I started the antique tractor web site, my younger brother had already been involved for several years with restoring some of the old tractors that he and I both found ourselves around in our earlier years. I didn't have the place or the means to actively participate in restoring tractors and ultimately put all my efforts into the web site. That’s how I fed my desire to keep the past alive.

At any rate, besides writing articles into the web pages of the Fastrac web site, I feel that I have a lot more to say about the crazy old tractor thing! That's why I'm here. I want to write more about this hobby and more importantly, about the people I have met while doing it. That's why I'm here and I encourage you to make comments when you can and I promise you, this will all get very interesting!