Farming in the past. - The Combine Forum
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Farming in the past.

With things slow the last few years I have brought some old iron through the shop. Not just my old Steiger or my IH combines but old iron like a 500 Case diesel I just recently got going or a 900 Case I got back to its original family. Or a Allis Chalmers crawler that went to a vo-ag class and a WD-45 I have got in my stash waiting for a rebuild and my young kids new found love for watching steam tractors on YouTube I keep thinking about the evolution of farming back then.
Not really about how we got to where we are today but how massive steam tractors transitioned into much smaller gas powered tractors while many things were expiermented with in between.

Just thinking with some guys on this site being around when a 4020 was new it would be neat to hear some stories about old iron, first tractor you drove or just how things were done back than.

Winter is getting old this year!

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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 08:02 AM
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My dad turned 89 this year and has seen so many advances in farming it hard to imagine if our,I’m pushing 50 will ever see the same. He started his farming working for a neighboring dairy at twelve,in that summer he left school and started there full time milking by hand and they still used horses to do all the field work. He used to tell lots of his memories of how the first tractor was a major talking point for the town and then when a newer model had a starter motor to get it running the older guys he can remember said that if the driver was too lazy to crank the handle to get it running he shouldn’t be driving it. Rubber tires weren’t common until the end of the war the seat was cast iron and there were three forward gears powered by a 28 hp engine. Funny how he still says all this happened in the good old days,our expectations today are different but are we any happier. My first tractor I drove was an international B275 still had the tractor when I moved to Canada 15 years ago. Still running good after a rebuild.was bought new in 1957 by my father. He paid less than 600 pounds sterling for it and sold it in 2004 for 1100 pounds. Wonder if I’ll get that kind of return on any of my kit when I retire lol.

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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 08:21 AM
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I remember Dad bringing home our first tractor, a used 1938 Minneapolis KEA-KTA which he purchased at auction. He drove it home some 55 miles at 5 MPH, its fastest speed. Some of my fondest memories are riding on that tractor with Dad and it was a big day when he let me harrow with it. It was even a bigger day when he came home with two diamond harrows to add to the 5 we were using up to that time... Dad passed that tractor down to me and I lovingly rebuilt it. Sadly, I parted with it at my sale last year as my sons don't farm and have no place to store a tractor.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 09:17 AM
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Want to see farming from the past? Just come to my place! lol I remember my brother in law telling me about a conversation the same as this he had with some older guys a few years ago. Everyone had their idea of what was the best improvement over the years, the typical ones like GPS, cabs, diesel, etc. But one old timer topped them all with this one ; sealed bearings! No one else was old enough to remember them not being sealed! He said every round or 2, you would stop and pack some fresh grease into the wheel bearings and carry on. The simple things we take for granted now!

It's easy enough to be pleasant, when life goes by like a song. But the man worth while, is the man with a smile, when everything goes dead wrong!
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 09:40 AM
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First tractor I drove was a model D case loading manure. Field work was done with a MM GBD. The case had a loader with a trip bucket and no live hydraulics, I thought it was crazy when they started putting foot operated clutches in a tractor.

For some reason it still seems like an easier life back then.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 09:52 AM
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My first memories of fertilizer was in 50 lb bags. I didn't do much of that, too young, but I remember unloading some, by hand of course, from a truck into a shed at home. At seeding time it was reloaded onto the back of the three ton truck to fill the discers. Seed was in the front of the truck, fert bags near the back with no endgate. Loaded into the discers by hand. I'm sure some of the neighbours had some form of drill fills, but bags of fertilizer were available, so we weren't the only ones doing it.
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 10:08 AM
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I don't know how many bags of fertilizer I carried. Used to pick up 2 ton at a time with the 3/4 ton. IIRC they were 80 lb bags.
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 10:37 AM
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Dad never bought new but had some interesting iron over the yrs. His first tractor he purchased was an R John Deere. We still have it and dad pulls it out every yr to pick some rocks to keep it oiled up. His dad had a couple W6 internationals. The R was a huge step. It was the first tractor I drove as well pulling a 12 foot deep till. Run forever on a tank of fuel and that thing could lug like no other. A neighbor used to say you could roll a cigarette and light it before pulling the clutch before it would stall the motor on a hard load. Then he bought a 97 Super massey. No cab back in the day. Dad hand built a cab for that thing with a alcool cooler that had a water resevoir and a rotating drum to keep the dust out and create evaporation to keep you you cool. That was heaven back in the day to him. We had a 27 Massey combine that my grandpa purchased yrs earlier and dad bought a 90 special Massey. I wasn't allowed to run the 27 much as it had electric header lift and would run the risk of killing the battery. Had a wooden 150 bushel hopper box pulled behind the tractor with hydraulics. I still remember my dads cousins coming to help with harvest as a kid riding in the hopper box and them with a mickey of five star in hand. Had a 5 or 6" auger at the time and they thought they were in heaven as some in the area unloaded and loaded by hand yet. Had a 1 ton Ford to haul to town with no hoist of course. The elevator had the lift you drove on for the front wheels and the cables would lift the front of the truck to unload lol. Dad bought a brand new set of 8' 63 Massey pres drills with a field of sweetclover. That drill was used for yrs and many a bag of 16-20 and 11-51 got hand bombed on the truck and into the drill. What I remember most was back in the day was you didn't work Sunday. Very rarely we did and weren't religious but Sunday was just a day off. You spent it with family weeding the garden and cutting the grass or picking berries etc. That part of life in society is gone which shouldn't be. Neighbors got together to help build everything. Nobody hired a carpenter. They all had a skill and shared it no questions asked. We built a shop and word of mouth got out and everyday there was someone there to help build and mix cement or erect walls etc. Same thing with houses most of the time. You always pitched in to help whoever needed it. Nobody had money to spare really back in the day and everybody lived happier than they do now lol. Now it is all hired out and mortgaged to the hilt it seems.
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 11:49 AM
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It's interesting how far back my "connection" goes. I'm 52, my Dad is 80, but his Dad was pretty old when he married and had my Dad. Yep, Grandpa was born in 1899, I always think that's pretty cool. Grandpa was one of the first in his area to buy a tractor, an Oliver of some sort. He didn't have that very long and got a JD A and B, not sure which order, then in 1953 bought a brand new JD 50, and in 54 a JD 40. He traded in the A and B. The first tractor I ever drover, er, steered anyway was a Massey 165, but followed pretty closely by that 50. I spent 100's of hours on that thing discing, drag harrowing, cleaning the barns, raking hay, whatever. Sadly we got rid of that quite a while back because the rear end housing was cracked very bad due to a hay mower that attached to it (in a rather oddball way). It could have been fixed by someone with the time, tools, facility, and talents, but we traded it off. Anyway, we still have Grandpa's 40, which is pretty cool to have. It doesn't do much anymore, but it's still nice to have. Never been restored, it's in it's work clothes as they say. The first combine I pulled was a 12A, then a 25, then we were big time with a self propelled 40 EB! Ahh.....days of eating dust and sunburn doing the oats.....makes ya smile!

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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 11:55 AM
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Darn cold down here also.

Dad tells of his brother buying a tractor mount corn picker. His dad (my Grandpa) made some comments in the weeks before starting harvest how it would be to sloppy and leave to many ears in the field. Well, harvest time arrived and my uncle took his corn picker to the field to start. Grandpa took the team and followed to pick up the dropped ears. After a couple of rounds and only a couple of ears in the wagon, Grandpa went back to the barn and never said another bad word about the corn picker.

I remember the truck hoists in the elevator. All my friends and cohorts got to ride them. But no, Dad had to have one of the first trucks around with a hydraulic hoist. It was a 1964 Chevy two ton, with low pressure single stage hoists. Dad bought it new for Mom to drive. And I never did get to ride the truck hoist.

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