Wheels of Farm Progress


Wheels of farm progress

Content Tools

Threshing time never lasted long enough when he was a boy on a farm in Ohio, says Marvin McKinley. With memories of youth still fresh in his mind, he is dedicated to showing and telling new readers what those days were like.

Farming history comes alive as he relates it in his book, 'Wheels of Farm Progress,' published by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. With words and pictures, he brings forth a moving story.

One photograph, from the days when horses provided the prime power for farms, shows McKinley's grandfather, and his great grandmother who was born in 1845.

The first chapter deals with McCormick's reaper, first mechanical aid to the farmer to gain widespread acceptance. McKinley notes:

'Although the steam engine left an indelible mark in the wake of rural progress-most notably for its contributions to grain threshing-it was the internal combustion engine that provided the broad application of power needed to advance farming methods. As the gasoline tractor gradually displaced the horse, farm machinery was redesigned for greater speed and capacity to complement the new form of traction. Agriculture and power machinery had become inseparable.'

That states the theme, and the text and illustrations carry the narrative onward. For a beginner at collecting, this provides a broad insight to the developments through the years. For the veteran-the person who lived through the early or middle part of this century-the book is full of nostalgia in both photographs of farm scenes, and in copies of oldtime ads.

But there is more to the book than farming. Take the story of the founding of the Lincoln Highway and how it grew. McKinley traces it back to the idea of Carl Fisher, of Indiana, who started promoting a highway spanning, the continent in 1912. (In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where we live, the Lincoln Highway with its red, white and blue markers later became Route 30 and then 462, but in our city we still have addresses on Lincoln Highway East and Lincoln Highway West.)

McKinley ends up with the device some folks called 'The Devil Wagon'-today's automobile.

Whether you like steam or gas, or both, or are absorbed by farming in general, this book should appeal to you. It can be obtained by sending $12.75 to Stemgas Publishing Company, Box 328R, Lancaster, PA 17603.