Several new books offer truths and trivia about tractors.
New anthologies from three publishing companies will help collectors gain insight into the history of collectible tractors. On long winter nights, you may want to settle into your favorite chair with these books for an interesting read.
100 Years of Vintage Farm Tractors. It's a simple love story that turns into a full-blown affair. It doesn't claim to be historical, and it's not filled with facts and details. It's just a book celebrating the love people have for vintage farm tractors.
100 Years covers the first "Iron Horses," homebuilt tractors and renovated relics. Fans will find images of some of their favorite tractors - from Poppin' Johnnies to Minnie Mos, from Farmalls to Fordsons.
Story writers include Roger Welch and Lauran Paine, Jr., author of "Man Things," who writes, "[Tractors] are awesome. They are so powerful, so purposeful. You just love to run them. You sit up high...with a steering wheel and levers and pedals and buttons and toggles and power....Man, it makes you feel good just being there and sharing life with it....And you can see the result of your work."
The book is from Voyageur Press. The editor, Michael Dregni, drove his first tractor at age eight (piloting a Deere from his father's lap) and is editor of This Old Tractor and This Old Farm. Price: $30, plus shipping and handling. Contact Voyageur Press, Dept. FIN, 123 N. Second St., Stillwater, MN 55082, 800/837-2210, www.voyageurpress.com.
Fords and Internationals. Two new paperbacks, also from Voyageur, are now available for $20 each. Vintage International Harvester Tractors and Vintage Ford Tractors are for tractor buffs who want a history of their favorite brand. Both offer old and new photographs in black and white and color. Contact the address given above.
Caterpillar track tractors. The Caterpillar Pocket Guide, from Iconografix, is filled with information track-type tractor collectors look for. The guide covers tractors built from 1925 to 1957, including those from the Holt-Best merger, along with photographs, brief descriptions and stats (including serial numbers). It also contains sections on diesel engines, high-clearance tractors, and variations, options and accessories. Price: $20, plus shipping and handling. Contact Iconografix Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 446, Hudson, WI 54016, 715/381-9755.
John Deere gift book. Genuine Value: The John Deere Journey comes just in time for the holiday gift season and the unabashed John Deere fan in your life. More than 200 richly illustrated pages in this coffee-table book cover John Deere's history, some of its classic equipment and many of its people. Along the way, the company hopes you'll learn how the "leaping deer" logo transcended its simple role as a label for green farm tractors and came to symbolize larger ideas such as value, quality and integrity.
If you like John Deere tractors, but stop short of wearing green underwear, the "value" messages throughout the book might seem a little syrupy, though you might consider them a bonus if you feel a burning need for motivational sayings. If not, you'll still enjoy reading about the tractors and looking at all the large-format pictures. Deere is selling the book for $50; a leather-bound edition is $255, plus $6.50 shipping and handling. Contact Genuine Value, Dept. FIN, Box 411037, Kansas City, MO 64179-0365, 800/455-1174, ext. 374.