The Johnny Popper Sang Out In Marion, Ohio


| May/June 1994



'Old '79' was the 79th John Deere tractor

3203 Norton Road Radnor, Ohio 43066

The old familiar one note 'farm song' of the Johnny Poppers rang out across the Marion County Fair-ground over Father's Day weekend in 1993 as the Ohio Two-Cylinder Clubs held a meet in conjunction with the Marion County Steam and Gas Engine Show.

As some readers may know, Earl Scott, president of the Marion County Steam and Gas Engine Society, has had some serious health problems but is recovering his health nicely now. He and Don Willson, acting president, worked together to set up a beautiful and orderly display of antique John Deere tractors (made up of around 300 units) complete right down to yellow flowers in planters marking the entry to the tent.

Set up inside the tent was 'Old 79,' the John Deere tractor owned by Frank and Irene Hansen of Rolling stone, Minnesota. Old 79 was the 79th John Deere tractor manufactured (1916-1919) but the only known 'original' John Deere four cylinder tractor to survive intact. Mr. Hansen presented, in carefully authenticated documentation, the history of this tractor and was on hand to tell how he accidentally found this relic while on a fishing trip. Once sold for the junk price of $5.00 it has been currently appraised at more than $1,000,000.

Another highly unusual exhibit was the experimental prototype '101,' currently valued at over $30,000. Production of the '101' was scuttled when the United States became involved in World War II. It is a two-cylinder tractor intended to cultivate one row crops and to pull a single 14 inch plow. While it never made it into production, many of its mechanical innovations were used in later models.

Two unique John Deere 8020s were on hand. Consecutively numbered, serial number 1000 is owned by Mike and Rick Hoffman of Richwood, Ohio, and number 1001 is owned by Dale Walton, who also owns Wyandot Tractor and Implement of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. The 1001 was the first 8010 to come to Ohio and was displayed at Richwood at the Farm O'Rama which grew into Ohio's present day Farm Science Review. It came with an eight bottom mounted plow which, when lifted hydraulically, rose to the height of a telephone pole. Problems developed with this model and all the 8010s were recalled and reissued as the 8020s after modifications had been made.