Book review

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Why would anyone named C. H. Wendel write a 548-page book containing over 350,000 words and 1,551 photographs, about the Nebraska Tractor Tests?

The answer is in the reading. This large book, about 9 x 11 x 1' and weighing 10 pounds and 4 ounces, brings you all the information you could ever expect and more on these milestone tests.

If you merely want to look at model photos for brands that are famous as well as many that are only memories, you can page through slowly and see pictures to your heart's content. Most of the photos came from test headquarters; some were filled in by Walter Kasal.

If you want to learn the results of the tests, it's all there. You can find out a lot about your favorite tractor, or someone else's, or one you might consider acquiring.

The tests were started to check on the actual capabilities of tractors, in a time when dependability of a specific product was not at all a sure thing.

Back in 1908, some testing had been done at the Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition and the tests were expanded in later years. Wilmot F. Crozier is credited as 'Father of the Nebraska Tests'. Prof. L. W. Chase, who was president of ASAE (American Society of Agricultural Engineers), pushed for the idea for many years and with others helped Crozier present the Nebraska Tractor Test Bill which became law.

Crozier wrote in 1919:

'After operating or attempting to operate two excuses for tractors, I finally invested my money in a machine that would really do what the company said it would. Then I began wondering if there wasn't some way to induce all tractor companies to tell the truth.'

Wendel does his best to give honor to all who helped get the law passed and make it operative. His records in the book go to the end of 1984. It is a monumental contribution to tractor history.

The author lauds George Dam-mann, general manager of Crestline Publishing Co., publisher, for his role in bringing the book from zero to final product. Wendel also thanks his family for 'enduring a never-ending discussion of the Nebraska Tractor Tests'.

The first test recorded is No. 1, on a Waterloo Boy Model N, 12-25, in 1920. Shipping weight was 6,183 pounds. The next to last test in the book is No. 1550, on a Steiger Panther IV SM-325 Diesel, in November 1984. It weighed 28,900 pounds. The final test listed is on International 3088 Diesel, 12,500 pounds. Wendel notes that this test, last November, 'closely coincides with the final chapter of International Harvester Company's career in the farm equipment industry'.

Price of the book is $34.95.