International Collector

International tractors

This line-up of International tractors is the collection of Ernest Wermerskirchen, 405 Lincoln Avenue N., New Prague, Minnesota 56071. Mr. Wermerskirchen sent us a taped account of his early experiences and his growing interest in Internationals, which yo

Lawrence E. Bliss

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405 Lincoln Avenue New Prague, Minnesota 56071

This is the story of my collection of International tractors. You wonder why I chose Internationals. Well, the story began when I was back on Dad's farm. We had around 400 acres of land, maybe a bit more. At that time we had an F-30. It was a big tractor, with a 2-row corn picker on it. It was during the war and we did lots of custom corn picking. Someone from Iowa came up to see the tractor. The reason was that tractors were hard to get, and it was the same for corn pickers. He offered my dad a good sum of money for the tractor. My dad couldn't turn it down, so he sold it. He gave us one week's time to get sour corn picked so he could pick it up. Well, the tractor was old, naturally, and the corn picker was old, but money was another thing. So, my dad, he gambled on it-he sold it. We went to Jordan to an implement dealer whose name was John Stang. My dad asked him if there was any chance of getting a new tractor. Well, we gotta hand it to him. He said, 'There's about 60 people on the waiting list, but I'll tell you - since you bought a lot of machinery from me all the time - the next tractor I get in, it's going to be yours. But you're going to have to get it out during the night, so no-one will see it.' And my dad said, 'Well, how soon do you think this tractor will be coming?' He said, 'It's been on order now for four months. It might be here in another week, but it might not be here for another 6 months.'

Well, it just so happens that about a week later, I went to a dance one night about 4 or 5 miles from Jordan. When I went into Jordan, I saw a train going through town. And on that train, on a flatbed, there was an M International. So I followed that train up a little bit and I noticed that the train went into a side track. With the train going into a side track, I knew that that tractor was going to be unloaded in Jordan. So I called my dad up and he told me 'You stay right there and I'll call the implement dealer, John Stang, up.' We went down and unloaded it that night and I drove her home. Well, the next morning at 5:00, I started plowing with it. With all that land and plowing, I feel like I was practically born and raised on that tractor!

After that, I felt like I'd like to get myself another M. I have 35 acres and I raise Chesapeake dogs. It's in a wooded area, and I need a tractor to plow snow. So I started looking around for an 'M'. I came to the junk yard one day, and here he had an 'M'. So I said 'What are you going to do with that tractor?' Well, the man told me he was going to junk it out. 'Why, what's wrong with it?' I asked. 'Oh, the motor's shot-it's got a bad knock in it.' So I offered him some money and he took me up on it, so I bought the tractor. I got the tractor and the loader.

Then there's another guy that helped me. His name is Roger Sass. He's a very good man-very intelligent and mechanical-minded. He came over one night, we tore the engine apart, and we fixed it. So I got an 'M'. It's just what I wanted. I know that tractor from one end to the other.

Then I figured that I should watch for an 'H'. I knew another party who had two H's. So I went over to him and talked to him one day and said 'Say, any chance of buying one of your H's?' 'Not really', he said. 'The H's I've got here-they're both good tractors. 'Course, maybe I would sell one. All that tractor ever did was cultivate the corn.' And he gave me a price and I bought it.

Well after I got that home-I have a nice big pole shed to put these tractors in - I figured now I've got the H, why don't I make the full collection?

Well, the M and the H weren't all that bad to get, but the C is just a little bit harder to get. I watched the newspaper and ran onto a C, which was about 60 miles from home. I drove over there and I purchased that tractor.

Well, then I just kept shopping around. The next tractor was going to be an A or a B or a Cub. Well, finally I ran up to an A. And then I heard that the B's are hard to get. I watched the newspapers and didn't find it. One day I talked to a man in the grocery store in my home town. He said 'I heard you were looking for a B'. I said, 'Yeah, do you know where I can pick one up?' He said 'Oh, I got one at home in my shed, I'll sell you.' So I went up there and I bought that one.

Then I had a lull. Now comes the hard part-and the expensive part. And that's this little Farmall Cub. I ran a 'wanted' ad in the paper, I went to all the swap meets, went to gas engine shows, looking for a Cub. The ones that I did find were already restored and people just didn't want to sell them, which I don't blame them for.

I was driving along the road one day and here was a Cub parked along the road, about 25 miles away from home. And there was a big 'For Sale' sign on it. So I got the telephone number to call the guy, talked with him over the phone, and I ended up buying that tractor. So now I've got the full collection of the 40s of the Internationals.

Now these tractors are all restored, they're all overhauled, in A-1 condition. And I take them to parades, I show them, a lot of people stop in. They've all seen an H or they've seen an M, but they never saw an A. Seems like the A is the one that's the rarest. I'm real happy with them. One thing I've learned by purchasing these tractors: maybe it's just my idea, but I still say the best way to buy them is when they're not overhauled. It seems like when you go to purchase a tractor, so often the tractor's been overhauled. What do they all mean by 'overhauled'? For everyone I bought that was 'overhauled', I had to go through it again myself! If you want to buy a tractor and want the satisfaction, buy them when they're not running the best, so that you have to overhaul them yourself. You know what you're really putting into them and you know what you've got. That's still the best way to go. And if you're buying a tractor from a party who's overhauled a tractor, naturally, he's going to charge you more for it. And you're paying for something that maybe you're not getting.

So this is my story about my collection of International tractors. I have been collecting gas engines for over 25 years. I've got various types of different brands of engines. I enjoy all collections, but I do enjoy the tractors just a little more. My daughter, Joanne, took the pictures and helped me line them up. Anybody out there who wants any information on International tractors-H, M, C, or whatever-feel free to write me or let me know. I'll be glad to help you out.