Collectors of New Holland stationary gas engines will be interested to learn that a book has been published about the company that made these sturdy, hard-working staples in farm equipment.
How many of these engines might be around today, we don't know. But they are most certainly collectors' items and are shown with pride by many of the buffs who own them.
The book is titled The Innovators. It is written by Homer K. Luttringer, who was Vice President for Worldwide Marketing and Communications when he retired in 1980. Luttringer lives in Lancaster, Pa., from which he commuted to the office in nearby New Holland.
George C. Delp, of Lancaster, is one of the group of men who bought the struggling New Holland Machine Company and built it to reach the top of the worldwide farm equipment industry. Delp, who became president of the giant corporation, continues his interest through the book.
The company was founded in 1895 as the New Holland Machine Works by Abram Zimmerman. The men who bought it in 1940 had formerly been employees of the former Dellinger Manufacturing Company. Delp, the late Raymond D. Buckwalter and the late Iral A. Daffin were in on the start, with advice from the Rev. J. Henry Fisher.
The world's first automatic pick-up hay baler, invented by Edwin B. Nolt, a Lancaster Countian, held the key to the first major surge in business. The company started making this baler just as the gray clouds of World War II covered the nation.
Sperry Corporation bought New Holland in 1947 but management was kept in the hands of Delp and his associates. Daffin resigned to develop his own businesses. Later J. Paul Lyet became president and eventually was elected to head the Sperry Corporation, a post he held until his retirement in 1982.
Sperry sold New Holland to Ford in 1986 and it became part of Ford New Holland, then the third largest farm equipment company in the world. Since then, Ford New Holland was acquired by Italy's Fiat Group.
New Holland equipment owners may not know all the inner workings of the corporation, but they certainly know and rely on the equipment.
Among the oldest surviving products of the firm's early days are the gas engines, which Luttringer comments were 'available in several horsepower sizes and always in demand from Mennonite and Amish farmers who depended on horses and mules for power.'
The author further comments:
'Fifty years later some of these engines were still working on Lancaster County farms, but most of those which could be found in earlier years were purchased quickly and sold as collector items for as much as several thousand dollars each-a far cry from the original price of$25 to $50.'
Not shown in the book, but a genuinely nostalgic illustration nevertheless, is a drawing made to advertise products of the old Hertzler & Zook Company, of Belleville, Pa., which became part of New Holland in 1942.
It is reproduced here from a New Holland publication, and gives some idea or the tar seeing view of manufacturers of that distant day.
New Holland's leading products and their prices, as of March 1990, are listed in the book, along with color illustrations. Here they are:
Small square balers, $9,200 to $37,600; large square balers, $45,800 to $57,600; round balers, $11,200 to $18,900; mowers, $1,860 to $5,800; mower-conditioners, $9,170 to $31,500; rakes, $2,900 to $14,400; windrowers, $36,400; headers for windrowers, $7,900 to $11,800; automatic bale wagons, $14,300 to $84,500; forage harvesters, $9,400 to $146,000; forage boxes, $6,300 to $7,000; combines, $80,500 to $117,000; combine heads, $3,100 to $23,500; grinder-mixers, $7,600 to $17,600; manure spreaders, $3,300 to $11,500; skid-steer loaders, $8,350 to $25,670.
Last we heard, orders were coming in strongly for the book. If you wish to order a copy, send $40.28 to Philip Buzard, Agent, 1565 Mission Road, Lancaster, Pa. 17601.
(If you want to swap stories or learn more about New Holland engines, contact A. D. Mast, who was long with the firm, and can be seen frequently at the Rough & Tumble Museum, Kinzers, Pa., or by appointment; address 46 Dan-bury Road, Lancaster, Pa. 17601.)