TOP 1 FARMALL
|PRICE $2,000 (1953)|
The second of International Harvester's legendary letter series tractors, the two-plow H debuted to instant acclaim in 1939, about a month after the A. Its five-speed gearbox and 24-hp overhead valve engine put it squarely in the sweet spot for midsized row-crop farmers. IH sold 391,227 of these sturdy, versatile tractors, and it sometimes seems that at least 390,000 are still on farms working or enjoying an honored retirement.
Sixty-five years ago I took out a bank loan to buy this brand new Farmall H. Through the years it filled many needs, from cultivating fields of grass seed to mowing and baling hay. When our two boys graduated from college and chose to come back to the farm, though, the old Farmall began to fade into the background, replaced by tractors with air-conditioned cabs, power steering and bigger engines.
Then one day, unbeknown to me, they had the Farmall repainted. What a wonderful surprise! The H now resides in my shed. When I occasionally wander out to start it, the little tractor always responds loyally. And it's never needed an overhaul in 65 years.
ALFRED AMOLDUS SUMMERVILLE, OREGON
Jodie's Pride and Joy
This Farmall H and Farmall C have been in use on our 120-acre farm ever since my husband, Jodie, started farming here in 1946. We have bigger, newer tractors, of course, but sometimes the Farmalls are just right for jobs the big boys can't do.
In 2005 Jodie spruced them up with a new paint job. I think you can tell from the photo that these tractors were his pride and joy. He passed away in April 2014, but he was so proud of his Farmalls that I had to respond to your article on his behalf.
SUSAN FIELDS CLINT, TEXAS
Takes Two to Cultivate
I'll never forget the first time I walked into the corn house on my uncle's dairy farm and saw that brand new H with its gleaming red paint. It was beautiful! And it had a sound all its own.
When I was a teenager I worked on his farm in the summers, and we used the H for almost everything. My specialty was cultivating, since I was the only one on the place who liked to do it. One Fourth of July my girlfriend--who's now my wife--came out and rode on the drawbar to keep me company while I worked. That prompted a neighbor to comment at church, ''I noticed that it takes two people to cultivate corn at your place!''
My cousin still farms with that tractor and proudly takes it to the Farmer's Fair parade in the fall.
LEE BENTZ GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA
Like a Whole New Tractor
Dad bought a new H in 1942. Rubber and electronics were being diverted to the war effort, so it didn't have lights or tires. That's my sister and me in the wagon behind Dad. The H also didn't have an electric starter, which almost got it drowned.
One evening Dad left the tractor parked by the creek and a big storm hit that night. With the creek about to overflow its banks the next morning, he couldn't get the H started. By the time our neighbor got there with his horse team, the water was several feet deep, but they managed to pull the H to higher ground.
When World War II ended we bought rubber tires, which was like getting a new tractor. After Dad got a full-time job, I did most of the farming until I went into the Army. While I was away Dad traded the H for a Ford 8N, but the H will always be my favorite.
RONALD REED WICHITA, KANSAS