With a future of being just one of two in existence, this Hart Parr tractor is Sell's pride and joy. The machine is set to be restored for the September 1991 show. Photo by Sandy Woods.
Submitted by Donald Sell, Rt 2, Box 15 Perryton, Texas 79070.
The roots of the Texas Panhandle's Golden Spread Antique Machinery Show go back over 17 years, when organization founder Donald Sell of Perryton, Texas, hauled his first old tractor to his farm with dreams of restoration. Now Sell is the owner of 55 restored antique tractors, scores of antique cars and trucks, and other antique items that are housed in his 14,000 square foot Country Time Antiques Museum. Restoration of the past has been a labor of love and step-by-step learning process as his craft and collection enthusiasm has filtered through a three-state area.
Restoration enthusiasts from Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma are the core members of the Golden Spread Association which now boasts Texas' second largest antique machinery show.
'We began 13 years ago and have grown from almost nothing up to more than 30 new exhibitors just this year,' Sell said. 'We have over 60 active members from all over. We meet three times a year and the September show has become our primary activity. We share expertise, information, parts and work together and we have found that you meet the real cream of the crop folks when you get into the antique machinery hobby.'
The Golden Spread Antique Machinery Association hosts its annual event 10 miles east and five miles south of Perryton, Texas in the top of the Texas Panhandle. The 1990 show featured threshing demonstrations, a huge small gasoline engine display, stationary engines, a steam powered antique saw mill, all highlighted by a two-hour parade bursting to the seams with antique equipment in all sizes, styles and uses.
The show is the only one in the nation that has a special section devoted to horse-drawn equipment in operating condition.
Featured at the 1990 show on parade and in working order were a plow, chuck wagon, horse-drawn reaper built in the early teens, a header and header barge.
The header came from a ranch in southeastern Lipscomb County and is a Deering. Sell and his crew completely rebuilt the header barge to model its original condition and the header was rebuilt from the ground up.
'Some of the metal was left and only enough wood for patterns,' Sell said. 'We are very proud of our horse-drawn exhibit because it is the only one we know of in the country.
'We had close to a hundred items in the parade and much, much more on display,' Sell said. 'Our show is pretty new, but we feel the variety and condition of the restored machinery is some of the nation's best. We had letters and long distance calls from all over complimenting the Association on the show.'
'The harvesting equipment display is one that you will not find matched anywhere in any show,' said Bob Taylor, Association member from Logan, Oklahoma. 'The equipment is extremely rare and most of it is in good working order.'
Guests were in awe as a crew of seven men operated a 1916 self-propelled combine through the parade as the last entry. The massive machine sported a 24 foot header.
Another show highlight was the afternoon demonstration of a Kitten sawmill. The huge machine, which is now housed on a trailer, is owned by Jerry Kitten of Slaton, Texas. It stays at the Sell Country Time Antique Museum year-round on display.
'Mr. Kitten's great uncle was in the steam engine and saw mill business in Minnesota,' Sell said. 'The mill we displayed was used between 1910 and 1920 and it has been restored from two old mills.'
The mill was operated on Sunday afternoon by a three man crew, and it was powered by a 1916 Rumely steam engine owned by the Association. Guests watched in amazement as cottonwood logs ranging in circumference from 24 to 26 inches were milled into boards of varying widths and thickness by antiquated methods.
Collectors were especially appreciative of the 1911 Wallace tractor that passed by in the parade in near-perfect condition. The tractor carries an enclosed crankcase and its three wheels have independent brakes.
On display, but not yet complete was Sell's 1911 Hart Parr 40 tractor.
'That tractor is going to be my pride and joy when I finish restoring it,' Sell said. 'I started on it about a year ago and I have traveled all over the country taking notes. I found it in North Dakota and most of the parts are being reconstructed by two machinists: Clyde Hall of Fillmore, Saskatchewan, Canada, and Jerry Abplanalp of Wichita, Kansas. Hall specializes in grey iron castings for antique engines and Abplanalp is an antique engine collector and restorer. It is one of three we know of in existence and will be just one of two in working condition when it is completed. We have bought two machines and they have been re-built and re-made from the ground up.'
Hart Parr tractors were the most popular brand during the early 20th century. The 40 runs on kerosene fuel and has a two-cylinder motor.
'I've always had a soft spot for the Hart Parr,' Sell said. 'That's what I grew up on and what my dad always had.'
Other rarities at the show included a Flour City 1915, 14-24 tractor-one of three still in existence and the only one in running condition.
Sell's 'Happy Farmer' tractor, a La-Cross Tractor Company product, caught much attention.
'That tractor was designed to farm row crops with its three wheels,' Sell said. 'The tractor made the farmer happy twice I think-once when he bought it and once when he got rid of it!'
The three-day show opens on Friday when school children from surrounding counties are hosted by the Association. Saturday and Sunday events are open to the public and feature a full day of special events and viewing. Many guests bring campers and spend the weekend.
Just 15 miles north of the Country Time Antique Museum, Donald's brother, Dan, owns and operates his own Sell Homestead Museum. Dan's pride and joy is his 1913 Little Bull 5-12 tractor, one of just two in existence. He began his museum in 1973 and has over 60 tractors, 25 cars and trucks on display in his 11,000 square foot museum.
'We continue to grow every year and members are looking forward to the 1991 show already,' Donald Sell said.
Both Sell museums are open year round by appointment. Donald Sell may be contacted at 806-435-5872 and Dan Sell at 806-658-4786.