Wheels of Farm Progress

By Staff
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Threshing time never lasted long enough when he was a boy on a
farm in Ohio, says Marvin McKinley. With memories of youth still
fresh in his mind, he is dedicated to showing and telling new
readers what those days were like.

Farming history comes alive as he relates it in his book,
‘Wheels of Farm Progress,’ published by the
American Society of Agricultural Engineers. With words and
pictures, he brings forth a moving story.

One photograph, from the days when horses provided the prime
power for farms, shows McKinley’s grandfather, and his great
grandmother who was born in 1845.

The first chapter deals with McCormick’s reaper, first
mechanical aid to the farmer to gain widespread acceptance.
McKinley notes:

‘Although the steam engine left an indelible mark in the
wake of rural progress-most notably for its contributions to grain
threshing-it was the internal combustion engine that provided the
broad application of power needed to advance farming methods. As
the gasoline tractor gradually displaced the horse, farm machinery
was redesigned for greater speed and capacity to complement the new
form of traction. Agriculture and power machinery had become
inseparable.’

That states the theme, and the text and illustrations carry the
narrative onward. For a beginner at collecting, this provides a
broad insight to the developments through the years. For the
veteran-the person who lived through the early or middle part of
this century-the book is full of nostalgia in both photographs of
farm scenes, and in copies of oldtime ads.

But there is more to the book than farming. Take the story of
the founding of the Lincoln Highway and how it grew. McKinley
traces it back to the idea of Carl Fisher, of Indiana, who started
promoting a highway spanning, the continent in 1912. (In Lancaster,
Pennsylvania, where we live, the Lincoln Highway with its red,
white and blue markers later became Route 30 and then 462, but in
our city we still have addresses on Lincoln Highway East and
Lincoln Highway West.)

McKinley ends up with the device some folks called ‘The
Devil Wagon’-today’s automobile.

Whether you like steam or gas, or both, or are absorbed by
farming in general, this book should appeal to you. It can be
obtained by sending $12.75 to Stemgas Publishing Company, Box 328R,
Lancaster, PA 17603.

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