| May/June 1971

Dayton Daily News & Radio's 'Joe's Journal'

There are tractor men -- and there are tractor men. But to me there's one tractor man who's out-survived the sturdy line of old-time Aultman-Taylors, Titans, Waterloo Boys, Hubers and and Rumelys which he repaired to thresh the nation's grain half a century ago -- and he's still rising at 5 o'clock every morning to keep the modern tractors and gas engines of America popping 'n purring.

'The old tractors had better materials and workmanship in them,' says Ira Edger whose experience in threshing and tractor repair spans fifty years in the evolution of the internal-combustion prime-mover. 'Slower speed and low-compression engines have enabled many of the old-time tractors to far out-last the modern, high-speed ones of today.'

The first time I met Ira Edger was at the Ira Cox farm, west of Greenville, Ohio, where he and his brother, Willie, had just finished threshing a jag 'o wheat, back in '46, and I crawled up onto the pulsating deck of the big 30-60 Aultman-Taylor Gas Tractor to make a recording. My long microphone cable reached all the way to my old two-turntable disc recorder, propped on a table sufficient distance to prevent damaging the record grooves by vibrations from the huge four-cylinder engine.

Ira Edger handled the throttle and clutch of the big Aultman-Taylor which looked more like a steam engine than a tractor -- even sounded almost like a steam engine, while the Edger Brothers conversed in steam-engine terminology which was still the language of that day.

It was the first record of an engine I had ever made and a new experience it was, trying to ask intelligent questions about a big engine I knew nothing about, and getting intelligent answers from men who did.