Historic Farm Days this week in Penfield

PENFIELD — Historical Construction Equipment Association and Oliver farm equipment company will be featured attractions at this year's Historic Farm Days, sponsored by the I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club.

The annual event is scheduled Thursday through Sunday at the organization's property in Penfield.

Every year the 4,000-member Historical Construction Equipment Association of Bowling Green, Ohio, holds a three-day working event somewhere in the U.S. The event attracts from 5,000 to 7,000 people from around the world.

The association's members bring from 120 to 250 pieces of equipment to the event.

With the proximity to Peoria, there could be a large turnout of Caterpillar machinery, according to the I&I website.

"This is a big show because they're taking 10 acres of ground. They'll be working full time," said Darius Harms of the I&I club.

"They'll level the ground off, taking the topsoil, ... leveling it and putting the topsoil back. It will be a constant working show."

John Fredrickson, I&I president, said the Penfield show is one of the few that the Historical Construction Equipment Association has held in the Midwest. Most of its shows are held in the East.

"They'll be digging dirt, moving (it) just like a bunch of little kids playing in a sand pile," Fredrickson said.

In that vein, Harms said, there will be a sand pile with toy construction equipment in which children can play "like the big boys."

The construction equipment association's operates a museum and archives, started in 1992 in Ohio for the preservation of the history of the construction, dredging and surface mining industries. It restores and exhibits significant machines "for the education and enjoyment of the general public."

The museum includes equipment dating as far back as the early 1900s.

Oliver equipment featured

Oliver will be the featured farm equipment company at this year's show.

The company has links to the Hart-Parr Co., formed as the Hart-Parr Engine Works in Madison, Wis. The company relocated to Charles City, Iowa, and produced its first gas traction engine over the winter of 1901-02.

Hart-Parr was credited for being the first successful mass production gas traction engine company and is credited with introducing the work "tractor" to the English language.

The company merged with the Oliver Chilled Plow Works in 1929 to form the Oliver Farm Equipment Co.

The Oliver company was started by James Oliver of Mishawaka, Ind., and in 1957 he received his first patent for his chilled plow. The company soon became known as "the plowmaker of the world."

The company built its first tractor in the 1920s.

The Oliver Farm Equipment Co. was also a merger of the Nichols & Shepherd and American Seeding Co. Corporate offices were established in Chicago. The result was a company that could produce tractors, tillage tools, planting tools and harvesting machines.

The company became the Oliver Corp. in 1944.

White Motor Corp. purchased both Oliver and Minneapolis-Moline in 1960. It combined its Oliver and M-M subsidiaries to become the White Farm Equipment Co.

The last green tractor with the Oliver name rolled off the assembly line in 1976.

Fredrickson said farm families often have a strong loyalty to farm equipment lines. That is the case with Oliver equipment.

"Oliver at one time was a pretty strong equipment (company)," Fredrickson said.

"There are areas of the country where Massey-Harris and Oliver were more predominant. A lot of this was tied to the dealers in the area."

Fredrickson said many communities had "two to four" implement dealers. "Now you're lucky if you have that many implement dealers in a whole county."

There will be special raffles at the show for two Oliver tractors — a 60 and a 2255.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

areader wrote on July 07, 2011 at 5:07 am

This is an awesome program--if you want to have some fun, learn about farming equipment from the past and see some interesting displays, plan to stop by this coming weekend!