3203 Norton Road Radnor, Ohio 43066
If it is a tractor and it isn't Allis orange, John Fredritz probably wouldn't want to own it. As a boy, growing up on a farm in Wyandot County in Ohio, John worked with Allis-Chalmers tractors. Now a truck driver with Central Transport, operating out of Detroit, he still helps out on his mother's eight hundred acre grain farm when needed. John still works hard, but his real interest now is in buying and restoring antique Allis-Chalmers tractors. Over the past eight years, he has acquired thirteen tractors. Most of these were for his collection and a few were just for parts.
Collecting is a way of life for the Fredritz family. All of John's brothers collect various kinds of antique tractors and his mother still owns the 8N Ford she and her husband had when they started to farm.
Mary, John's wife, says, 'It was the wrong color.'
John likes the Allis orange color so much that he had an orange Morton pole barn put up to store his collection. Mary flipped through their album and pointed out a picture of the barn.
Jon shares his father's interest and his collection. He participates in tractor pulls using one of their Allis-Chalmers 1937 WC's. They have not modified the tractor in any way, except to add weights to the rear wheels and the front end. Jon loves the sport so much that he is encouraging his fianc?e, Karen Hucke, to take it up herself. He says she is so tiny and weighs so little, she could really gain an edge in the event. Jon also owns two Oliver 70's and a Montgomery Ward Twin Row.
Mary, John, their daughter Kristi, and Jon go to shows on most weekends throughout the summer. Two of their favorites are the shows in Medina and Marion, Ohio.
The Marion show is put on by the Marion County Steam and Gas Engine Society. John and Mary are members of this group. According to Mary, they attend a show, and if the people are friendly and encouraging, they will probably attend that show again, but if they are not made to feel welcome, they won't come back. Mary says, 'The people at Marion are really friendly. We take a display to that show every year.'
In 1983, John bought his first two tractors for $500. Both were 1937 Allis-Chalmers WC's, bought from Kenny Baughman. He and Jon worked to restore one in 1983 and the other a year later. It is one of these that Jon uses in tractor pulls.
In 1987, John purchased a 1939 RC from a Mr. Klingel from New Washington, Ohio. The restoration, completed in 1989, cost about $2,000. 'There were only 5,500 of this model manufactured,' John says.
Asked which tractor he would most like to find and refurbish, John replies, 'An Allis-Chalmers Industrial B. They are rare.'
Mary would like to own a UDLX Minneapolis. The picture in the family's show scrapbook is of an unusual yellow tractor complete with a full cab. 'Yes, it does look like a car,' Mary says. 'You could work it in the fields all week and drive it to church on Sunday. We have only seen two of them. I have relatives out West watching out for one for me. I guess they weren't too practical. With all that sheet metal, they must have been costly to produce. I guess they were not popular at the time, so they're quite rare now.'
The first 'Gathering of the Orange' which the family attended was over Labor Day weekend at the Rock River Thresheree Association Show in southern Wisconsin. It was billed as Wisconsin's 'Big Show.'
It was there that they met Nan Jones, publisher of the Old Allis News. Nan acts as the coagulant for all the Allis-Chalmers collectors who read her publication. Their annual gatherings are billed as, you guessed it, the 'Gathering of the Orange.' Though no formal organization exists, the magazine is the link by which the collectors are informed of the next meeting place and time. The Fredritz family appreciated Nan's friendliness, too.
Nan works tirelessly, making all the necessary arrangements and meeting with prospective show organizers across the country.
Through Nan's efforts on behalf of the Marion County Steam and Gas Engine Society, the 'Gathering of the Orange' will be held at their show, June 13-16, 1991, over Father's Day weekend, on the Marion County Fairgrounds. All Allis-Chalmers and related machinery are to be featured.
If you would like to communicate with John about his collection or get show information, write to John H. Fredritz, 10920 S.H. 103, R. #1, Carey, OH 43316, or phone him at (419) 396-6025.