A couple months ago, I wrote a column about the hundred series for the International Harvester Company (IHC) -- the 300/400 and the 350/450 series. I called these tractors "the forgotten series," as they followed the extremely popular Farmall letter and Super letter series and they were manufactured right before the also popular 460/560 series.
I have had a few folks send me their memories about the IH hundred series. Obviously, not everyone has forgotten about these vintage tractors. This month, we have another Vintage Iron story. This comes from William Gossett of Roseville, Illinois:
"When I returned to the farm in 1961 after five years in college and four years in the Air Force, my dad farmed with a Farmall H, 300 and 400. We used those for a few years then we jumped to a 706 and 806.
"Over the next several years, I moved up from there. My farm equipment auction was in 2009, at which I sold a Case-IH 2394, IH 1086, IH 966 and IH 684 Utility. I still have the H.
"When I left for college in 1952, the H was already on the farm, I think it is a 1948 model. Yes, there is some emotional attachment, plus we still live on the farm and there is a loader for the H I use it to push snow, etc.
"It gets used a few hours every year."
Thanks to William for taking the time to send us his experiences with the tractors he used on his farm over the years, including the IH hundred series.
The fact that William still has his father's Farmall H is very telling. I don't know how many farmers I know personally or whose farms I have visited in the course of reporting who have "that" tractor, but it would be a lot.
What I am referring to is that one tractor that would never get sold but probably doesn't get used much anymore on the farm. It could be grandpa's or dad's tractor, or maybe another relative's or even a close friend's old tractor.
In some cases, they are an older tractor, like William's 1948 H. In other cases, they maybe aren't as old. Years ago, I visited a farmer who had a fully restored John Deere 4020, which he was using to run augers at his bin site.
He said it was the first tractor he ever bought when he started farming many years ago. He told me he had bought and sold many tractors since the vintage 4020 came to his place, but he would never sell this particular classic tractor.
In many cases, there's not just one of "those" tractors -- it could be several vintage tractors.
Some long-time farmer friends of my family have managed to accumulate several different family tractors over the years. Several uncles farmed in our area, including a couple I used to help bale hay for in my younger days, and this family ended up with most of their tractors.
I know the two uncles I helped (Wow, has it really been 26 years ago now?) each had a Farmall M and 656, and our family's friends have all four of those tractors. Another uncle had a 460/560, and I believe these friends also got that one, too.
For my own family, I would guess two tractors would qualify for "that" tractor status. We still have one of my grandpa's first tractors, a 1935 John Deere D we restored about 15 years ago, and also his last tractor, a 1957 John Deere 620.
The D survived in the tree line for many years. It never got traded in mainly because it didn't run, and it was kind of forgotten about. The 620, celebrating its 60th year this year, could have been traded in many different times over the years, but because it was my grandpa's last tractor, my uncle and dad could never get rid of it.
Those who are not from the farm may not completely understand farmers' emotional bond to a vintage tractor, but it is obviously a real thing. I have seen it many, many times.
Thanks again to William for taking the time to send me his story. If anyone else has recollections of the IH hundred series, please feel free to send them to me.
Russ Quinn can be reached at email@example.com
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