First Things

By Staff
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Cameron County Livestock Antique Farm Equipment Show, February 9-12, 1995. Photo by Marvin Baker.
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8 cycle Aermotor engines for restoration. One is complete, other is partial. Owner Harry Seidensticker (Comfort, TX). Photo by Marvin Baker.
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White Lily, 2 HP air cooled, 1907, restored by Sig Johnson, Mission, TX for Harry Seidensticker, Comfort, TX. Photo by Marvin Baker.

712 La Vista, McAllen, Texas 78501

The successful completion of the first annual antique farm equipment show at the Cameron County Livestock Show, San Benito, Texas, February 9-12, 1995 boosted this area’s growth from 3 to 4 shows. This show will be staged annually the second weekend of February. It has melded with ‘Fred’s Down on the Farm,’ (McAllen, Texas) second Saturday of December; ‘Two Banger Museum,’ (Mission, Texas) last February weekend ; and ‘Rio Grande Valley Livestock,’ (Mercedes, Texas) third week of March, to strengthen the annual schedule of shows sponsored by he Rio Grande Valley Old Farm Equipment Club in a season running from December to March.

Despite the misgivings of some, the Cameron County Show got off to a good start! Good fellowship, interested spectators, immaculate grounds, and ideal 85 degree weather all combined to make for an excellent effort. Harry Newmann (Los Fresnos, Texas) was the epitome of leadership. His friendliness and helpfulness radiated and rubbed off on everyone. This made for a good laid-back atmosphere.

Antique tractors presented the welcoming sight to those approaching the old machine exhibits. Neto Garza’s (Weslaco, Texas) bevy of immaculate restorations was bolstered by a variety of other tractors, not the least of which was the 1958 530 John Deere tractor so capably restored by August Krehmeyer (San Juan, Texas). Harvey Nelson (Hygiene, Colorado) brought in an un-restored 1948 John Deere M which had formerly belonged to the Crown Cotton Mills of Georgia and was purchased at Kissimee, Florida. Somebody noted the seat was missing. Harvey explained it had been lost on the trip from Florida to Texas, but would’ve been replaced anyway. He is adding this machine to a collection of 25 other tractors, including a 1917 Waterloo Boy tractor.

Eyes bulged when Alfred Townsend (McAllen, Texas) pulled in with his exhibits-a one ton Chevrolet pickup camper pulling two engine laden four wheel trailers coupled to a 1939 Case hay baler. These vehicles stretched out to make a one-man caravan.

Someone asked, ‘When do you parade?’ ‘Whenever Dean Mitchell (LaFeria, Texas) can get his John Deere tractor started.’ Needless to say, parading was on a regular basis.

Through the courtesy of Richard Dorris (Brownsville, Texas) an Army squad tent was furnished to shelter registration, lounging, etc. Lots of hot air, inside and out, but, hey!! Some of the information may be useful. As the owner of a 1928 IHC six-speed truck, three years ago asked Oscar Rutherford (4900 N. McColl, Box 456, McAllen, Texas 78504) who spends his summers in the northern states, to do some IHC ‘picking’ for me. Last year he brought in a near mint condition radiator and shell for $50.00. This year he reports that he had located a trove of antique parts, several large steel buildings crammed from top to bottom. He acquired four 1928 Chevrolet engine blocks still in their original crates from Ernest Olsen (Gretna, Nebraska, telephone 402-332-3848). According to Oscar, Ernest has an accumulation of new old stock tractor implements, truck and auto parts. He has rims for the 1925-1929 IHC trucks. Lots of Minneapolis-Moline and Oliver parts. Ernest is best reached by phone around 10 p.m. CST.

While discussing contacts we note: W.G. Haviland, 1207 E. Polk St., Brownsville, Texas 78520 (Dec.-Mar.); General delivery, Geneva, Indiana 46740 is a walking encyclopedia of who’s got what in his area (Indiana). His motto: ‘If I can’t locate an item for you, it’s not available.’ Sincere and friendly, he was most informative during our 30-minute chat at the show.

‘Are there any old tractors still out there?’ According to Erwin Kretzschmar (Florville, Texas), the answer is ‘yes.’ For example he located a classic ‘Bull’ tractor, received permission to remove the trees growing around and through it and finally used a tractor to extricate the ‘Bull’ from its long time resting place. But the owner wouldn’t sell, despite a four digit offer. As a last resort, Erwin offered to furnish a free-of-charge restoration for the owner, but was rejected. Erwin told Louis Miller (Georgetown, Texas) about the tractor, showed him some pictures, but didn’t give the location. According to Erwin, Louis found the tractor but had no luck with the owner, either!!

‘What about Mexico?’ Si! Si! About 20 years ago I and another teacher located a 1908 Pierce-Arrow touring sedan molding away near a hacienda situated on a mountain near Durango. Its owner had constructed a special road up the mountain for his car, but with the advent of the 1911 Mexican Revolution and subsequent deterioration, the road has been impassable for decades. We considered using a helicopter, but the web of Mexican laws, cost, etc. caused our abandonment of the project. Very few really old tractors are found in our south Texas area, because it has been customary to export our used agricultural equipment into Mexico, and in general they usually really use it down to the nubbins. However, in addition to US, lots of equipment has been brought in from England and Germany. Last year, Pete Block (Mission, Texas) brought out a 3 HP John Deere engine which he located in Monterey. Dick Clardy (215 N. Broadway, McAllen, Texas, 78501, 210-686-4107) deals with Mexican artifacts and on occasion does import a classic one cylinder engine. If I was interested in anything from Mexico, Dick would be my first contact. He has pickers scattered throughout Mexico.

Jake and Mary Zilverberg’s (Mission, Texas) ? scale IHC Tom Thumb and ? scale 14 HP Waterloo Boy engines were welcome additions to the models presented by Sig Johnson (Mission, Texas) and Mac Mauk (Mission, Texas). Roger Kelly (Harlingen, Texas) had a nice display of toy tractors. Don Guttenfelder (Mission, Texas) and Sig Johnson ground some corn. Alfred Townsend, assisted by Wayne McBride (Kippen, Ontario) demonstrated 11 engines and baled lots of hay. Erwin Kretzschmar had three classic engines on his ‘Tic Toc Ranch’ trailer, one of which was a 1911 Aermotor, similar to the 1912 one cylinder, ? HP air cooled, horizontal 8 cycle Aermotor engine restored by Sig Johnson for Harry Seidensticker (Comfort, Texas). Harry’s 1907 2 HP air cooled vertical White Lily engine was a main attraction. We still have no news of another. ‘No, I’ve never seen an engine like that,’ seems to be a stock answer from those who have the opportunity to see this rare gem.

This show is history. A good time was had by all. We’ll be back next year. Need someone to make a 4′ x 8′ ‘Old Farm Equipment’ sign to be posted at the fair grounds entrance-if this is in your capability, let us know-we’ll furnish a sheet of ?’ plywood.

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