By Gardner Waldeier. Published in the Winter N-News issue Jan-Feb-March 2016, Volume 31 Number 1 Thrift. Making due with what is available is paramount these days. In taking over the 1799 farmhouse where I grew up, I’m finding no lack of ways to fill the short winter days in Maine. I built a lean-to style pole barn off the end of the house recently and did the whole project for around ten dollars. I needed a good dry place to keep my tractor and set to making that thought a reality.
In days past, when Fords were entirely mechanical. A rough-running tractor was felt in the seat of the pants. It invited a climb-down to check the usual suspects: carb adjustments, timing, dirty plugs. We diagnosed and repaired mostly by ear. Today life is much more complicated for owners of modern tractors.
Without the fame (and fortune) generated by Henry Ford’s model T, he never would have been able to focus his energy (and resources) on an update of the old Fordson farm tractor. That led ultimately to development of the 9N in 1939… and the rest is history. Enjoy this video!
Simply the best (only?) compendium of commonly used implements for the N-series (and into the mid 1950s). This is literally a collection of Operators & Owners manuals that would have come with that particular implement. An invaluable asset for the Ford tractor collector OR the person who is still working a plot of land. $37.
Film director Sumner McKane weaves together a fascinating story of the history of logging in Maine. Using vintage footage and images, McKane offers a short history lesson of the northernmost New England logger and river man in In The Blood: Uncovering the Life, Skills & Character of the Turn of the Century Maine Lumbermen and River Drivers. $19.95.
In June of 2009 I traveled to Iowa to interview Harold Brock, chief designer of the 9N tractor project. It was a little overwhelming to sit down and talk with a man who worked intimately with Henry Ford, Edsel Ford, Henry Ford II, had met Thomas Edison, Harry Ferguson and many other legends of modern invention and industry. The idea of having a tunnel back in time to talk to someone who was there, was an intriguing project to tackle. $26.95.
As a reference guide this book is brief and to the point, listing the most salient information formatted chronologically. In this respect it functions as a very convenient field guide. The no–nonsense black and white archive photos, taken mostly from promotional literature, present the oldest, most familiar images of each tractor in its moment of inception. Just $16.
The machine age (arguably 1875-1950) in the United States and Europe yielded some of the most elegant industrial design. As proof of its popularity, there are catalogs today that specialize in reproductions of these designs. Rizzoli recently published the hardcover Vintage Industrial: Living with Machine Age Design, by by Mischa De Potestad & Patrice Pascal, which does a wonderful job of looking at turn of the century industrial design and putting it in context. $45.00 new.
As I was reading I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford 1917-1940, by Richard Snow, to prepare a review, my wife asked, “How many books about Henry Ford have you read?” “Well,” I answered, “more than most people, I guess.” Of all I have read, this 300 page hard cover has to be one of my favorites. $17.00.
There is something about the aesthetic of machine age objects that enchants many of us – a humanistic element or perhaps a beautiful simplicity. It would be easy to forget that the culture of the late 19th and early 20th century promoted the concept of machines replacing man and animal in doing work. When seen from our perspective now, industrial design of that period (say, 1900-1960) looks amazingly elegant. With its smoothness, its “form-follows-function” simplicity and its straight forward conception, nearly anything could have a sense of awe and inspired grace – including the Heathkit condenser tester from the January issue. Add the patina of age, and you have a formula that culminates with a directness of design, and in … Continue reading