Thousands of facts about American farm tractors and their makers are put together by C. H. Wendel, of Atkins, Iowa, for his book which will be a best seller among GEM readers and fellow collectors.
The book is the 'Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors,' another Crestline blockbuster for people who search for -information and pictures about their favorite pieces of machinery.
All the prominent names among tractors are there, along with obscure titles of companies or products that never hit the big time. More than 1,500 photos appear in the 325 pages.
Here are a few sample tidbits: Case engineers built an experimental gas model in 1892, but it was ahead of its time because carburetion and ignition had not been perfected and the idea was dropped; the 30-60 was introduced in 1911.
Mayer Brothers, Mankato, Minnesota began building tractors exclusively in 1914, their firm was succeeded by the Little Giant Company.
In 1915, when about 22,000 tractors were built in the United States-nearly doubling 1914 output-many farmers insisted that the tractor could never take the place of the horse.
Many restorers and collectors will find this volume invaluable for telling them about their tractors. Wendel performs an outstanding service through this carefully researched compilation. If a treasurer of tractors does not buy the book for himself, he should certainly receive it for Christmas or his birthday, whichever comes sooner.
Wendel, the writer, is farm-born. A charter member of Midwest Antique Gas Engine & Tractor Association, he is also a member of the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association.
He has carefully studied steam engines, gasoline engines and tractors for 20 years and has a large gas engine collection. The encyclopedia was hatched when he met George Damman, Crestline's Automotive Director, at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa in 1976.
Wendel is modest. He says the book 'can hardly be classed as more than an overview of the industry,' but in our opinion it is a major step forward with detail that will draw applause from all its readers.
That's because it brings together in one place a list of all the hundreds of companies that ever produced tractors commercially in the United States and Canada, with facts and pictures on every one he could search out. He brings the book fully up to date with a section on today's tractors, with photographs and descriptions.
Along with this are sections on components such as lubrication, engines, wheel styles and so on, and on agricultural machinery designed exclusively for attachment to tractors.
Wendel does not plan to stop with this book. He has further projects in mind. We look forward to seeing more Wendel books-equal in caliber to this encyclopedia.