It has literally been years since we have seen a new Ford tractor book be published. The far majority of them have been out of print. Motorbooks International (owned by Quarto) has held the rights to the books that Robert Pripps and Andrew Morland did together in the 1990s. The N-News has written many a letter over the years asking for some of the Pripps Ford tractor books to be reprinted, or to let the rights fall back to the authors so something could be done. Well, something finally has happened.
Bob Pripps alerted me in late 2020 that something was in the works. Quarto has combined three of the earlier Pripps/Moreland books, The Big Book of Ford Tractors, The Illustrated Ford and Fordson Buyer’s Guide and, The Complete Book of Ford Tractors into one bigger book.
Here is what the publicity info says, “In this comprehensive addition to Motorbooks’ Complete Book Series, tractor historian Robert Pripps provides a detailed and complete account of Ford tractors, from the earliest Fordsons to the Ford-Fergusons, the Ford N Series, and the Ford “World” tractors manufactured into the 1970s. Amply illustrated, Classic ford tractors also offers extensive information on the numerous options and accessories, implements and variations that came out of Dearborn, Sherman Bros., and the great Funk Bros. hot rod conversions that could make each of these popular machines utterly unique. In between, the book traces year-to-year model changes within each series.” Hardcover, 9.25×10.875” and contain 192 pages. At $45 plus shipping it is a little pricey, but if you had purchased the three books (20+ years ago) you would have spent about the same.
Tractor Wars: John Deere, Henry Ford, International Harvester and the Birth of Modern Agriculture documents the short period from roughly 1908-1928 when Henry Ford, Cyrus McCormick and William Butterworth (of the still relatively small Deere & Company) would transform how farming was done. This was a paradigm shift in agriculture and farming practice. It is a fascinating story told with great historical perspective. Continue reading
Beyond the Model T: The Other Ventures of Henry Ford by Ford R. Bryan. The author was a member of the Ford family, worked at Ford Motors for over 33 years and then after retirement, volunteered at The Henry Ford Museum doing research and digging deep. He wrote a number of books based on his finding in the immense Henry Ford Museum archives.
Before Amazon sold us everything under the sun, there was Sears Roebuck. Started in 1892 as a mail order only company, stores opened up in 1925, but the majority of Sears business remained mail order for a good part of the 20th century. As a kid I remember getting the Sears catalogs in the mail and would spend hours pouring through them. Looking at these vintage catalogs is a window back in time.
Eric Sloane was famous for his pen and ink drawing of rural American life. Born in 1905 in New York, Sloane trained as a fine artist and for a while made a living as a sign painter as he worked his way across the country. But he eventually returned to the New York region settling in New Milford, CT. Sloane was intrigued with early American living, especially in New England and had an affinity for all things related to tools, mechanical devices and country know-how. But his interests went deeper.
Abraham Lincoln was a man of tremendous capacity and drive. He was the 16th president of the United States and the first to be assassinated. He managed his political times (both in the Senate and as President) by balancing the needs of his friends and his opponents. In short, he was a consummate politician who led the nation through extremely volatile times. Emotionally, he was prone to depression and bouts of darkness.
The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was part of the New Deal Agency, created in 1937 to help fight rural poverty during the Great Depression. Between 1935-1944, FSA photographers took over 175,000 black and white photographs all over rural America. Many of the most iconic images of what this country looked like as it worked its way out of the Great Depression came through this government agency.
Back in stock! How to Restore Ford Tractors: The Ultimate Guide to Rebuilding and Restoring N-Series and Later Tractors 1939-1962 does an excellent job of hashing out the details of restoring a vintage Ford tractor. Published in 2008 with over 200 pages, this soft cover edition includes wonderful pictures of unusual models and options scattered throughout the pages (as are many photos of hands-on, down and dirty restoration work being done). Though the book emphasizes the N-series machines, overhead valve Hundred Series machines are covered as well.
Ford Fire Trucks by Kent Parrish is a wide ranging collection with tremendous captioned info with each photo. And there are a lot of photos, over 400, most in color but some in black and white. Ranging from 1917 Model T’s that were custom built into fire engines all the way to 2009, the book is broken up into ten chapters, roughly one for each decade.
The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century & the Birth of the Modern Mind isn’t a philosophy book. This is a book proving that the 17th century was in fact a turning point in humanity relinquishing much of the ancient world for the beginnings of a “modern” point of view. A.C. Grayling is a professor of Philosophy and Master of the New College of Humanities in London who believes that philosophy needs to be integrated into everyday life.
Ford Heavy-Duty Trucks 1948-1998 by Paul G. McLaughln is a sister book to the Ford Medium Duty Trucks (reviewed in the Autumn issue). Similar in size and scope, this book focuses on the 2½ and 3 ton F-7 and F-8.
Agriculture has been a touchstone of security and growth for humanity since we gave up our hunting and gathering ways. This book is a chronology of writings on agriculture, which detail the history of how we as Americans have embraced, rebuffed and re-embraced the ideas (and ideals) of agriculture and the agrarian lifestyle. $14.95.
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.