| December/January 1989

By the time this issue is in your hands, the 1989 show season will, for all practical purposes, have come to a close. By the way, did you drain all your engines and tractors? How about the petcock under the water pump?

As many of you already know, ye olde Reflector is the proprietor of a bookstore. Among the old books, it's always a surprise to see what might turn up. Lo and behold, we recently ended up with a complete set of the Northwestern Reporter, a set of legal reports covering Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Particularly in the 1880-1920 period we find quite a number of interesting cases regarding farm equipment suits. Most of these involve a buyer refusing to pay for a machine that would not perform as warranted, and the seller refusing to take the machine back. Thus far we have run across cases involving the big Mogul 45 tractor of International Harvester, the 30-60 Case tractor, and numerous threshing machines and grain binders. In fact, grain binder suits were fairly numerous.

One such suit by D.M. Osborne Company against a recalcitrant farmer revealed the fact that this particular farmer had bought a mower, it of course being warranted to do a satisfactory job of cutting ordinary grass. Well, the farmer got the mower in the spring, and came back in the fall, bringing along the mower and a refusal to make any more payments on same. He contended that the machine was no good. On inspection it was found that the sickle and ledger plates were completely worn out! As matters moved along, it was found that the farmer had one of the first mowers in his neighborhood, and as a result, had been mowing with it practically all summer. The complaint boiled down to the fact that it wouldn't cut wiregrass. After the smoke cleared, Osborne got their money and the farmer had the mower.

The cases didn't always go this way. In one instance, the farmer signed a contract for a tractor. In a few days the agent came back, asking for the original contract, and telling the farmer that due to his own error in writing it up, he (the agent) would have to write up a new contract, on the same terms, of course, as the first one. The catch was that the fine print at the bottom was different-while the original contract provided for a warranty on the new tractor, the second one specifically disclaimed any warranty or any recourse whatever! The truth finally came out in the trial, and needless to say, the Supreme Court of Nebraska upheld the farmer's contention that he had been taken. Although reading legal briefs is a tough way to pick up on the history of technology, there is without question an awful lot of history buried within these many books!

We start off with:

24/12/1 Huber Serial NumbersMr. and Mrs. Berdell Huber, 10540 Shifferly Road, Bluffton, Ohio 45817 kindly sent us a serial number listing of Huber tractors. Mrs. Huber spent a great deal of time extracting this information from the original Huber records. If you have any questions in this regard, kindly contact the Hubers.


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