A few months back, I wrote about some of the history of Old Abe and Case farm equipment. Old Abe was a real-life bald eagle who was the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Civil War and then later the mascot for the J.I. Case Company.
This prompted at least one person to send in a story of their personal connection to Old Abe and Case. Here is that story.
"My first tractor was a Case, a 1951 model SC with a left-hand clutch and 'Eagle Hitch' as Case called their version of a three-point hitch.
"The hood ornament was a wing on the radiator cap and the only place I remember the eagle on the globe emblem was on the magneto. When the magneto went bad and I couldn't get a replacement, I was able to use the magneto from a Farmall H. In some small way, I had one of the first Case IH tractors.
"I've never seen the eagle on the globe used as a true hood ornament but some models had the eagle on the globe badge on the front of the tractor between the headlights.
"The emblem has not completely disappeared -- the steering wheel on my Case IH combine has a colored version of Old Abe."
Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Thanks to Howard for the interesting look back at his first-hand experience with Case equipment and the Old Abe emblem.
Howard mentioned that the eagle on the globe emblem has not completely disappeared, as his Case IH combine has the emblem in the middle of the steering wheel. I emailed him back to ask him what model of combine he had, and he answered by saying he has a 1993 1644 combine.
That is a nice touch by Case International to include the iconic emblem on their farm equipment as a nod to the history of Case. Not being a Case-IH person, I didn't even know Old Abe was still around.
Thanks again, Howard!
With this being the holiday season, I think we all look back to our own childhood traditions this time of year and maybe try to continue some of these traditions. Some may be big, grand traditions while others could be simple, little things.
We didn't really have any big family traditions when I was growing up, other than we would always spend Christmas Eve with my dad's family and then we would spend Christmas Day with mom's family. It helped that most members of both families lived in the same general area, so we never had to travel far during the holidays.
About the only other true tradition that my family had during the holiday season involved "The Christmas Star."
Our star had its origins probably in the early to mid-1980s sometime. One of my uncles had a cousin who was a retired farmer who started making and selling metal-framed stars with Christmas lights wrapped around the frame.
Many people in our area had these stars and mounted them in various places on their properties. For many years, we would put our star high up on the front of the barn as part of a larger Christmas light display at our place along Nebraska State Highway 31.
The years have come and gone, and most of the farms in my old hometown are now golf courses or housing developments, but my folks still put up the old Christmas star. Of course, they live in town now, but the star is still part of their outdoor Christmas decorations.
Occasionally, we will take the kids and drive around at Christmas time and look at the spectacular holiday light displays in different neighborhoods. However, what brings the most satisfaction to me is driving through the country and seeing a single Christmas star on a century-old barn.
Now that is Christmas to me. From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!
Russ Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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