| January/February 1982

  • Dennis and Joan Parker in the workshop
    Dennis and Joan Parker in the workshop.
  • Parker toy tractor collection
    A sampling of the Parker toy tractor collection. Photo courtesy Brookings, SD, Daily Register.
  • A view of the production process
    A view of the production process.
  • Prototype of the John Deere model
    Prototype of the John Deere model before final refinements.

  • Dennis and Joan Parker in the workshop
  • Parker toy tractor collection
  • A view of the production process
  • Prototype of the John Deere model

For ten years, Dennis Parker taught industrial arts in various high schools. In 1979 he decided to return to his home area of Volga, South Dakota. He was searching for a way to make a living that would enable him and his wife to set their own hours and be their own bosses.

Initially, the Parkers had planned to buy and renovate houses for resale. However, a sagging real estate market quickly dashed that hope. Instead, Parker decided to turn his childhood hobby of toy tractor collecting into a new career.

Parker has at least 1,000 model vehicles all displayed on the walls of his house. There are tractors from New Zealand, England, Sweden, Germany, Japan and Hong Kong. He fused this interest with his technical skill acquired in the industrial arts, and became a miniature tractor manufacturer.

The first model to come from the Parker workshop was a 1937 John Deere. As orders came in and expansion seemed in order, he added two other models to his line: a 1951 Minneapolis Moline and a 1938 Allis-Chalmers. He currently has a Case on the drawing board which he hopes to have ready before the end of the year. His models are very popular probably because he is known to be a very fine craftsman.

The dream of independence seems to have worked out for the Parkers. They have built a foundry in their barn, and orders are now backlogged. For more information write to Dennis Parker at Rt. 2, Box 72, Volga, South Dakota 57071.


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