When you see a small rural town’s parade, you always see Yesterdays tractors at the head. The tractors bring back nostalgia for a time when life was simpler and small farmers provided much of the food for America. Today there are organizations and magazines across America devoted to the collection and restoration of Yesterdays tractors. Auctions with both tractors and parts attract people that you would never suspect had an interest in farming. High profile businessmen that learned the ethic of hard work growing up on the farm, now devote their free time to recreating a small reminder of their youth through the collection of Yesterdays tractors.
The first tractors used in the United States had steam powered engines. They arrived on the scene in 1868 and were more for transporting goods than farming. Probably the premier tractor of that time was the Garret 4CD. In 1887 Charter Gasoline Engine Company of Sterling, Illinois created a gasoline traction engine that quickly led to the term tractor for the vehicle that contained it.
J.I Case experimented with the gasoline traction engine but Hart-Parr erected the first United States factory devoted to gas traction engine vehicles. Monopolizing on the colloquial term “tractor” the Hart-Parr Company was the first to name their product a tractor in 1901.
Henry Ford threw his hat into the tractor ring in 1907, but called his vehicle the “automobile plow”. With better production, techniques and more popularity the tractor found it’s way as an important vehicle for use on the farm by the year 1910.
By the 1920’s, the purchase of a tractor made more sense than using horses. When a farmer used a horse for the job, they had to pay for the horse and the feed or devote a few acres for growing it. The cost of the tractor was reasonable enough and the tractor didn’t require daily food.
The early tractors didn’t have the tires that we instantly recognize as tractor tires. Many had lugged metal wheels that damaged public roads. The tires made of solid metal, slipped in wet fields and solid lugged wheels damaged the roots of crops. In 1932, Goodyear sold the first low-pressure pneumatic tractor tires and created the most striking change in farm equipment.
The progressive improvements on tractors represent the changes in the American lifestyle. Like their owners, Yesterdays tractors were rugged and unsophisticated compared to tractors today. Many farmers visit the shows for Yesterdays tractors and recall those they used in the fields of their youth or finally disposed as junk, only to find them selling at a premium. Yesterdays farm tractor collectors all over the country that dream of owning early pieces of Americana, willingly pay high prices for finds in good condition. Collecting these tractors has become more than a hobby, it’s become an investment.
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Originally posted 2011-01-20 09:10:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter