Rt. 1,Box 149-B Mathias, West Virginia 26812
My article and pictures of several of our restored tractors is much later than I intended, but so are most things I undertake.
For quite some time, I have wanted to share with you fine machine enthusiasts some of our tractor restoration pictures.
My son Andy, and I began collecting a few tractors and other old farm machines about a half dozen years ago. Since that time we have been fortunate enough to acquire and restore several nice tractors of special interest to us for sentimental reasons. The tractors which we use in our farm operation are growing older, too. Enjoying our restoration projects, we realize how the fine vintages of life become more meaningful and enrich our lives in a worthwhile way. We see how drastically lifestyles have changed and the importance of preserving the present as well as the past. It is so sad indeed, to think of all the precious items, tools, and machines we have failed to preserve for future generations.
The first tractor we, or I, sought as a collectible was a John Deere L. After quite a bit of checking locally and otherwise (to my knowledge there were no L's in our local area), we were able to find one which was almost completely restored. It did not require a lot of further work, though we had to wrestle with a bad oil pump and restore the side mount mower.
I should say early on, that an extra with our machines has been the fine people we have met, and learned to know and appreciate in our quest to preserve old farm machinery. The L came from a fine family near Harrisonburg, Virginia. It was amazing to learn that they had restored an excellent. Case crossmount, which I had seen hundreds of times near my home before the 'tractor bug' hit. It's entirely true that each tractor or machine has a nice story and lots of tales, and thus the history of the machines and mowers live on. Also, we like machines with original equipment, and we use them, at least a little bit, in our farm operations. It is also a good excuse to the rest of the family for adding to our collection.
I do not remember exactly the order in which we acquired our various pieces, but sometime after the L, Andy wanted an MC, which we were lucky to get. They are like the L, being rather (or very) scarce, at least in our area.
With our regular farm work and other equipment repairs and maintenance, it's not real easy to find time to work on the 'toys.'
After some time-about a year or two, and our time rate hasn't improved much-we pretty well finished the MC restoration in 1987. Following that, we were very fortunate to get our lifelong neighbor's Shaw Du-All walk-behind, two wheeled, 5 HP tractor. Hopefully, restoring this tractor helps enhance and preserve all those fine qualities which old country storekeepers and small farmers had. The diligent neighbor farmed quite a few acres with the Shaw, in the way of making hay and cultivating crops.
My father also was such a person, storekeeper, miller, and farmer, and we have restored a number of his tractors, and still have most of them in the family. Two of our most recent 'family' restorations are my wife's father's John Deere M, which he purchased new, and my dad's Oliver Cletrac O-C-3 with which he had replaced an Oliver model HG back in the mid 1950's. We have lots of attachments for those tractors: loaders, cultivators, mowers, etc.
The last tractor to be restored in our collection is our Allis-Chalmers G. It was one of those which I just had to have to make the collection complete. Again, we were lucky to be able to get one close to home, thanks to a neighbor's information and the fine family who owned it. Maybe, the superb looking model G on the cover of the October 1990 GEM caused me to get this article together sooner than otherwise.
We have taken most of our tractors to the closer shows: Weyer's Cave, Bridgewater, Berryville, and Luray, Virginia's Heritage Days. Needless to say, we want to participate in these shows again, and more in the future.
At this time we have finished, or about finished (do you ever really finish?) restoring several other units, most significant of which is a John Deere model BO Lindeman, which belongs to a friend. He took it to Somerset, Virginia this summer and we have just finished reworking the left steering clutch-it runs fine.
And the good news is that we have lots more to work on just as soon as...
We have a nice Cork, Ireland Fordson as was featured on the June 1990 GEM issue. Ours needs restoring and should be a fine looking tractor. Also, we have a 10-20 McCormick-Deering which runs fine, and a nice Case model RI to be restored. Just recently, we got two Schramms, like pictured on the 1990 Show Directory. The one of ours which runs fine has a factory Schramm loader, and both tractor and loader work well.
In addition to our larger tractors, we have a number of garden tractors, walk behinds, and other farm machines waiting patiently to be restored, and serve to remind us of those good ol' days.
We'd love to hear from and meet others interested in our farm heritage. Till then, we'll turn our attention back to D.A.M. (Dove's Antique Machines).