I grew up in Massena, IA, a small town in southwest Iowa. I lived in town, but my Grandfather owned and lived on the family farm a few miles outside of town. When I was young, I would spend weekends there. Later, as I got older, I spent summers there, and finally I moved to the farm for a couple of years while in High School.
My Grandfather owned several tractors...small tractors by today's standards, but near state-of-the-art when they were new. The line-up consisted of four tractors:
Each of these tractors held special significance in my life.
The TO 20 was the tractor I learned to drive on. I spent many summers raking hay and winters pushing snow with the old "Fergie".
The Allises were the first tractors I got to do mechanical work on. I learned a lot about basic mechanics pulling the cylinder head on the WC when it started overheating, and about gearboxes and transmissions when the WD's noisy output pinion bearing finally failed. The successes in repairing both of these tractors encouraged me to become a professional Mechanic.
I spent a lot of time on the Oliver mowing hay, and plowing. In the Fall, it would power the big blower used to push silage up to the top of the silos for storage. I can still hear the sound of it, and remember how the silence hurt when we shut it down at the end of each day! I even drove it to the last day of summer Driver's Ed classes, much to the amusement of my peers!
When my Grandfather passed away, the tractors were all sold at the estate sale. My father bought the Ferguson and most of the attachments for it. He still uses it to push snow, move dirt, and mow weeds on his acreage near Defiance IA. I don't know where the other tractors went. I suppose the Oliver was purchased as a working tractor, as it was in good shape with only a few seasons on a complete overhaul. The Allises probably went to someone needing parts for restorations or to a scrap dealer...there isn't much call for them as work tractors anymore.
I miss those old tractors. I suppose I miss the time spent on the farm, and with my Grandfather, too. But this isn't a page about that! It's a page about the old tractors, and people that have the same feelings for them that I do.
Probably the most notable, at least in this area of the country, is Roger Welsch. His own web site tells his story better than I can, but suffice it to say he has made old tractors a major focus of his life. He has written several books about his experiences with old tractors, specifically Allis-Chalmers WCs.
Some other old tractor web sites to check out:
The Unofficial Allis-Chalmers Page
The Unofficial Ferguson Tractor Society of America Web Site
The Antique Tractor Internet Service Home Page