TRACTOR HANDBOOK

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Chockfull of information that tractor collectors will want, to expand their knowledge, isAn Historical Perspective of Farm Machinery, published by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

One of the most fascinating sectors of the paperbound book is its review of the way that testing brought the farmer the assurance that when he bought a tractor, its reliability would be known.

The book says that while 'plowing tests' or 'plowing and threshing exhibitions' were numerous from the latter 19th into the 20th century, it was not until 1908 that public 'agricultural motor competition' came about in trials at the Canadian Industrial Exposition at Winnepeg.

History of the famous Nebraska tests is given from the time the Legislature proposed the law in 1919. It compares sections of the SAE/ASAE tractor test code with the Nebraska 'rules' for official tests.

A fascinating chapter lists hazards that can be encountered in use of farm equipment, and relates what has been done to reduce or eliminate them. The author of the chapter, Carlton Zink, tells of growing up in a Nebraska farm in the early days of tractors, and presents a thoughtful, broad review.

Milestones in the history of application of power to farm machines are presented by Richard N. Coleman and Keith W. Burnham. They list the Hart-Parr as No. 1 and include others such as the first frameless tractor, the Wallis Cub, 1912 or 1913, up through widespread use of factory-mounted cabs for tractors, 1970-72.

Photos, drawings, charts and graphs add to the quality of the text. Other chapters discuss the patent system, and power take-off mechanism.