Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Birthplace of Harry Ferguson

Hey Ya'll......

We received an e-mail a few weeks back from Trevor Mitchell who lives in Northern Ireland, the birthplace of Harry Ferguson. Trevor sent us a few pictures of the birthplace site which you can see here in this post. I thought that this was very interesting, especially if you are interested in the history of old tractors and in particular the Ferguson tractor.

As you may or may not know, Harry Ferguson was very instrumental in the development of the early tractor and some of the innovations that made these early tractors more efficient and useful.

Trevor lives in Bangor, in Co Down along the shores of Belfast Lough about 30 miles away from Harry's birthplace. You can see a cool looking flower popping Ferguson in the memorial garden directly across the road from Harry's birthplace in the townland of Growell outside Hillsborough in County Down. (South West of Belfast just south of the M1 motorway). Here's a picture of it!

The garden was opened on 21st Aug 2008 and that day his granddaughter Sally Flemming, who had traveled from London, unveiled the life size bronze statue of Harry seen in the picture below.

Note he is carrying in his hand the Ferguson spanner. When the statue and gate were brought together it was discovered the top bar of the gate was the same height as his eyes, so to avoid this, they had him stand on a stone so you could see his face over the top gate bar.

Each year they have a big celebration at the field beside the house when tractors from all around attend. Here are some of the old Fergusons (among others) that were line up at a recent event in the field.

Harry was known not only for tractors and their development, but for a racing car as well. And, he was also the very first person in Ireland to build and pilot his own plane.  The house where Harry was born can be see in the photo here below.

We want to give thanks to Trevor for sharing this all with us and to Ulster-Scot.com for allowing us to use the pictures that Trevor sent to us and provided provided by them.

Enjoy the photos!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Great Time For Antique Tractoring!

Up here in the Indiana north with the leaves turning to their beautiful reds, yellow and orange colors, it gets your personal motor running fast if you're an antique tractor fanatic like me! The cooler air, not as much humidity and the crackling of leaves as you drive your pride and joy over them. Geez, what more could you want? You may or may not get to see these color changes in the south (depending on where you live) but it still gets cooler in the south, doesn't it?

I don't live in the south and don't get much of a chance to be down there in the fall, but I regularly hear from folks who do.  They welcome the changes in seasons just the same.

Fall is one of my favorite times to go tractoring. Shows and events are saved for this special time of the year for a lot of clubs and organizations and it just seems right! The air gets a little heavier and the smoke from the tractors and old hit & miss engines just hangs in the air at these events. A great time to enjoy the sights, activities and food that you find there.

Even without the fall festivals, fall is an absolute great time to take an extended drive into the country if you're so blessed to be still able to do that. It's harvest time on most farms and seeing this in real time is good therapy for the soul! Just looking out over the fields, ripe with their bounty, makes you reflect upon the good ol' USA and the freedom to even do this. Even so, you sometimes get a glimpse of an older tractor or piece of equipment still being used in today's world!

Fall leads to winter though, so if you find yourself anywhere near the snow belt, enjoy these milder, cooler days while you still can. Preferably on or around an old tractor somewhere.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Farmall Dynasty

Last fall, I received and e-mail from Lee Klancher, a friend whom I had met through my regular Antique Tractor Website called "Fastrac." He invited me to review one of his most recently released books entitled "The Farmall Dynasty." Lee mailed me a signed copy of the book (for which I am deeply thankful) so that I could review it. Since I am an avid Antique Tractor enthusiast, I began reading the book. I immediately recognized that, if you were a collector, restorer of International Harvester or Farmall tractors and/or equipment, that this book could be an invaluable addition to your library.

I completed the read shortly after receiving the book but had never actually reported on the experience of what I had found in those pages. My thoughts today are that I had never lived up to my side of the promise I had made to Lee. I had never written a review! My entry today in the blog is a belated attempt to fulfill that promise to him.

The book is loaded with photographs of IH and Farmall tractors and equipment covering the history of the International Harvester company from it's beginning to the present day. While reading though the pages, it became readily apparent to me that there had to have been an extraordinary amount of research conducted  putting this book together. "The Farmall Dynasty" is loaded with Farmall information.

In the book, Lee details the sequences in which different IH tractor models were produced, including dates and production numbers. He also reveals to the reader most of the "whys" behind the introduction of most of these models. I found that there were many things that I did not know and I am a fairly well read antique tractor fanatic!

The book is an absolute "must have" if you are a Farmall nut! You can find out more about the book by visiting Lee's website here.   Lee..........thanks for your books (the one that you gave to me and the ones that all Farmall fans should own!)


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lookin' For Old Iron

If you're an avid fan of antique tractoring, you have probably at one time or another in your old tractor admiring days, scouted the fence rows or other places for potential restoration projects. I know I have many, many times. My brother and I had even adopted a hunting scheme for doing this. You can read about that story, complete with a description of that scheme, on my regular old tractor website here.

It just so happens that some of this old equipment is getting more scarce by the day. Here's a picture of an old hand crank Case on full lugged steel that is just begging for someone's attention.

No one knows for sure whether this old beast has enough of it left to salvage, but it sure would be an awesome sight if it could get someone to restore it back to its original condition.

There are still enough of these old carcasses around to be found! In fact, just about 10 miles south and west from where I live is an old tractor boneyard that covers over 60 acres of this old stuff. I'm not going to reveal the exact name and location of this place in this article because the last known owner of the place is kind of protective of it, but if anyone is near Northern Indiana, let me know and I'll clue you in privately!

It just breaks my heart that a tremendous amout of this old stuff is getting cut up for scrap iron on all too frequent of an occasion. Bottom line is, if you ever get a chance to find an old piece of iron like that in this picture and you have the desire and resources to acquire something like it.......Just Do It! It'll make you extremely happy and you'll have saved a piece of history

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Tractor Show Bonanzas

Antique tractor fans are everywhere! There are literally hundreds of antique tractor shows and events all across the country and in Canada at all times of the year. But especially in the summer time. For the most part, summer is the best time in the Northern part of North America because it can get pretty chilly in the fall and in some parts of the north country, nearly impossible for outside events in the winter.

A good friend of mine sent me some photos of an event (Georgian Bay Steam Show ) that was held in Cookstown, Ontario, Canada on July 30 through August 2, 2010. The show featured Allis Chalmers tractors and equipment. The show grounds covers 20 acres and there were daily demonstrations of a sawmill, shingle mill, horse drawn wagon rides and a parade of equipment. You can see in the attached photo, some of the machines that were lined up at this particular event.

These kinds of activities are almost always present at any of a number of shows of this type. People attending these shows are simply having great fun and sharing stories, collecting new information and just generally diving in to the realm of antique tractoring. Some of the neatest people I have met over the years have come from acquaintences I have made at these shows.

If you have never been around one of these shows, you should try to find one in your area this summer and take the plunge! It's a great way to learn more about the history of farming and agriculture from days gone by.   Don't know where to find a show near you?  Go to my regular Antique Tractor website called FASTRAC and click on "Events" from the main menu and you should be able to find one!
It's great summertime fun to say the least.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rare Tractor, Indeed!

There are a lot of old tractors that are considered rare for various reasons. Some of the reasons are quite apparent and others are not! A lot goes into that determination such as low production numbers, early year of manufacture, how tractors might have been set up during production, experimental models, etc.

I found one of these rare tractors at the 2010 Red Power Roundup event a few weeks ago that is actually quite rare but you wouldn't immediately know it. It's a 1954 Farmall Super M-TA Hi-Clearance tractor with a single front wheel and set up to use propane fuel. (See photo below).

Any one of the above features in and of themselves would not necessarily make a tractor rare.  So then, what makes this particular tractor rare besides the obvious fact that it is a Hi-Clearance tractor with a single front wheel running on propane? 

One thing is that the Super M-TA, (regardless of how they might have been set up from the factory), were only produced in any configuration for one year......1954.  These tractors were built as transition model tractors and had some innovative additions that led to the hundred series...... tractors that were ultimately more prevalent.

The Super M-TA was the first Farmall tractor built with torque Amplification (TA) which was a high - low range transmission equipped to allow shifting "on the fly". Engaging the TA feature reduced the speed of the tractor by about 1/3 giving the driver more pulling power to work with. An operator could more closely match the power output to the load. This was quite an innovation during this time period.

These tractors also had an independent PTO (Power Take-Off). Without going into detail, which was fairly complexed to achieve, power was transferred directly to the rear of the tractor bypassing the clutch. The rear of the tractor of course is the most convenient place to find power to operate other equipment.

There were only 23,523 Super M-TA's or Super MD-TA's (Diesel models) made in all configurations and one set up like this particular tractor are hard to find! Quite a nice restoration don't you think?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pink Getting Popular!

Last fall I made a post on this blog about a courageous lady who was fighting breast cancer and as a result, her husband painted his 1957 John Deere Pink during its restoration to help in the cause for cancer awareness.

Well.........Its catching on! This past Saturday I attended the 2010 Red Power Roundup Antique tractor event in LaPorte, Indiana. I never have seen so many red tractors in one place in my life. My brother and I walked around the many acres of red IH tractors viewing them and admiring their owners pride in displaying them. There were tons of different models and variations of models being displayed throughout the event.

There was a huge amount of IH Cub cadets at the show too, displaying mostly yellow, white and blue paint schemes on them. We could also see an abundance of the later model red cub cadet lawn & garden tractors on display at the show.

And, of course, there were quite a few of the earlier model IH's such as the popular Farmall F-12's. F-14's, 10-20's and Farmall Regulars.....all sporting their typical dark gray paint schemes.

And then, continuing our exploration around the exhibit grounds, we ran into this.............

A pink IH Farmall Super M!

Unusual...........You bet! (The paint, not the cause!)

It brought my thoughts back to the lady and her husband's pink John Deere last fall (posted on this blog back on 9/14/09). Not only was this Super M tractor in very excellent shape, the paint was applied flawlessly! What struck me most was the willingness of an antique tractor owner to deviate from the authentic paint scheme of the original model of his Farmall Super M, but the possible forfeit of the tractor's value from having done so. But folks, it's NOT about the tractor, it's about the fight for a cure of one the most dreadful and feared diseases on our planet!  That's what I admired most.....the sacrifice of this owner for a great cause!

I never did get to meet the owner of this tractor however, after standing around it for quite some time at the show. But I am reasonably sure that the pink paint symbolizing the cause for a cure touched a whole lot more people than just me!

I just wanted to share this with you all.........I thought it was cool!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tractors or Antique Tractors?

Which is it? You know, this question always depends upon who you are and what you have. My dad used to tell me that anything over 25 years old is an antique. I don't know if I ever believed that or I would have to consider that even I am an antique.

On the other hand, some believe that when an item (such as an old tractor) has served its current day usefulness that the item would be considered old enough to be considered an antique. When a tractor fits in to this category, just a literal ton of people like to bring them back to life by restoring them. I love that! I believe however, that an old tractor is more closely considered an antique when it is nearing the 50 year old mark. Whether people restore these old pieces of machinery at 25 years old or nearer 50 years old, the love of doing it is where the rubber meets the road so to speak.

Clifford Ernst is just a perfect example of one of those folks. He has a fairly rare old tractor that he has restored back to life. It's a 1919 Moline Universal Tractor and not only is it very old, it is unusual in it's design (see photo).

Could you imagine finding parts for an old beast like this? Most likely there would be parts that would have to be specially made by hand or under contract to someone who could remanufacture the needed part. I don't know if that was the case for any part on Clifford's tractor or not, but you must agreee, he has done a beautiful job on this restoration.

In my book, this is a perfect example of an antique tractor.......... Old, unusual and beautifully restored to original condition. Well done!