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Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?

Why Did The Chicken Cross the World?

Subtitled, ‘The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization, Andrew Lawler’s has encapsulated the history of humanity through our involvement with chickens! Starting with the earliest known ancestor of the domestic chicken, the red jungle fowl, Lawler shows how the human appetite for chicken continues to grow. $11.95.

The Tractor Factor

The Tractor Factor

Again, author Robert Pripps comes through with another tractor book that you need for your shelf. Here he does an amazing job of explaining rare models of both common and uncommon manufacturers within a historic context. $27.

Thrift: Getting By & Making the Most of What You Have

Gardner Waldeier's Ford 641 under the shed

By Gardner Waldeier. N-News Winter 2016. Vol. 31 No. 1

Thrift. noun. The careful use of money, especially by avoiding waste.
Making due with what is available is paramount these days. I needed a good dry place to keep my tractor and set to making that thought a reality at the 1799 farmhouse where I grew up. So I built a lean-to style pole barn off the end of the house recently and did the whole project for around ten dollars. Continue reading

Model T Innovation Lies Behind the 9N

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!

Common Implements Used With Ford Tractors from 1939

Common Implements book cover

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.

In The Blood DVD

In The Blood DVD cover

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.

Harold Brock DVD

Harold Brock DVD cover

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.

A Guide To Ford, Fordson & New Holland Tractors

A Guide to Ford Fordson book cover

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.

Vintage Industrial: Living with Machine Age Design

Vintage Industrial: Living with Machine Age Design book cover

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.

Machine Age Patina and the Orbit of Attraction

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

A Couple of Ns and a Trailer

Bill Wells and son Peter

By Peter Wells. N-News Spring 2015. Vol. 30 No. 2

My dad, Bill Wells, had a desk job in the Boston financial district. Then in 1936, mom and dad bought an old dairy farm in Massachusetts. But dad was not interested in dairy barn hook ups – he wanted to raise poultry! And we needed a tractor. Dad found a used 9N and a new farm trailer. It was on the N that I had my first driving lesson at age eleven! When he retired, he moved to a family farm in New Hampshire and another 8N took over the mowing work. Here’s our story. Continue reading

EZ Front Weights

By Chris Britton. N-News Spring 2015. Vol. 30 No. 2

Mowing season comes early in my part of Florida. But when I get my mower raised, the front end gets light and the front wheels come off the loading ramps! I needed some weight up front but I checked the tractor budget: there wasn’t much money for weights. My answer: cement weights. Luckily I had around the shop an old animal feed tub! . I thought, “Wow, that would make a nice round weight!” Continue reading

Tractors Are Good For the Soul!

Lauran Paine

By Lauran Paine. N-News Winter 2015. Vol. 30 No. 1

Our tractor wasn’t just about work on the farm. It was about hayrides and picnics, too. I can’t think of those things and not smile. Now I use it for parades and teaching the grandkids about old tractors. But I recently restored my harrow – a Dearborn-Towner Model 11-29 – and now when I drive my tractor, the sights, sounds, vibration and even the rattle of the harrow take me right back to 1961. “Magical,” I say. “Old tractors are good for the soul!” Continue reading

Workers: A 9N Movin’ Feed & Snow

Daniel Howe's 1940 9N takes a breather.

By Daniel Howe. N-News Winter 2015. Vol. 30 No. 1

In the summer of 2005, we picked up a 1940 Ford 9N to help out around our 15 acre farm. I knew we needed the tractor to carry round bales to feed our horses, but I also needed it to plow snow. Front mounted snow blades seem to be as scarce as hens teeth and they also use the 3 point arms to get their lift. I set out to design my own reliable plow. Continue reading