Last year I wrote a column after seeing a post on Twitter about heat housers and some farmers (probably from the South) did not know what they even were. This, in turn, resulted in many responses from readers recalling their memories, including some comments from farmers who still use heat housers.
Recently I got yet another response to this column, this time from a Canadian farmer; that subset of farmers probably know all too well about heat housers. Here is the email:
"My name is Marty Rokowski and I am a farmer from Ontario, Canada. I watch you, Bryce or Elaine with Todd or Dana everyday on the Midday Hot Sheet and the Closing Market video. You folks really help keep me up to date on prices and market trends. Thanks so much!
"Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your article on heat housers in Vintage Iron! I remember heat housers very well.
"In fact, I still put them on a couple of our older tractors every winter just for fun. Up here in Canada our winters are very cold and so heat housers were commonly used in the '60s, '70s and '80s.
"We have all IH tractors and IH had their own brand of heat houser and they called them "Windbreakers." The earlier Windbreakers were made of grey colored canvas and the later ones were made of red vinyl. IH had "Windbreaker" stamped along each side of the heat houser.
"When I was a teenager in the '70s, we had a heat houser on our Farmall Super H and on our Farmall 504. Those heat housers sure kept us warm on cold winter days when we would be plowing snow or spreading manure from our dairy herd.
"In 1984, we bought a new vinyl version for the Farmall 504 and I still put it on just for fun. Once in a while we'll use the old 504 to blow some snow even though we have newer cab tractors.
"A friend of mine actually still has a brand new heat houser in the box IH canvas windbreaker that he is trying to sell me. After reading your article, I am tempted to buy it.
"I have gone on long enough and I am sorry to bore you, but thanks for the article and thanks for bringing back so many fond heat houser memories from my youth.
"Take care, Russ.
"With Kindest Regards,
A big thanks to Marty for the email. It is interesting to hear other people's stories when it comes to a topic like heat housers.
I imagine I have seen heat housers sell on farm equipment auctions over the years but I really don't remember any specifically. It would be interesting to know what one would bring still brand new and in the box.
A brand new heat houser might bring some good money or nothing at all. It is a product not used much anymore but at the same time the lack of supply may push up demand as basic economics states.
I suppose heat housers would probably fall into line with other vintage tractor accessories and its value would be figured by how rare the tractor it's made for is. The more common the tractor would lower the price while one for a rarer tractor may make it more valuable.
I think of an accessory like buggy tops as something that might be worth some money as you really don't see very many tractors with these anymore. For those not familiar with them, buggy tops would be a canvas shade with a metal frame attached to the inside of both fenders.
I can remember as a little kid my dad and uncle had one on their John Deere 4010. I don't really know what happened to it (maybe the frame broke) but I do remember them having two umbrellas -- a newer yellow for the 4010 and an older green canvas one for the 620.
We still use the yellow umbrella (although we had to replace the material a time or two over the years) but I haven't seen that older umbrella in years. Considering we never throw anything away it's probably on the wall of one of our sheds on the farm.
Do you have any memories of vintage tractor umbrellas or buggy tops? Maybe you haven't seen one in years or perhaps you still use them. Either way send me your stories and we will run in this in the column.
Russ Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter at @RussQuinnDTN
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