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Working Half-Scale Equipment Delights Parade And Fair-Goers
Maybe it's because he likes old equipment. Or maybe he just doesn't have enough to do. But for each of the past six years, Lloyd Poppe, Strawberry Point, Iowa, has been turning out two or three working scale models of old farm equipment.
The semi-retired farmer has built two plows, a disk harrow, manure spreader, three wagons, a hayrack and a loader, among other things.
"I used to raise registered Belgian horses, and some of the equipment I scaled down from my old horse equipment," he says. Poppe and his wife, Helen, still have a two-horse team of Belgians, plus some Shetland ponies and miniature donkeys.
His first models were of old horse-drawn equipment he still had on the farm. These include a half scale single bottom sulky plow, disk harrow and manure spreader. All can be pulled by their ponies or donkeys.
His second plow is based on a pull-type 3-bottom IH model 70 plow and is raised or lowered with a hydraulic cylinder.
His barge wagon is scaled down from a 6 by 12 by 3-ft. wagon he used in the 1950's and 60s and is complete with a box hoist. Other wagon projects include a flair-side wagon with working endgate and an exact scale version of a side unloading gravity flow wagon.
He carefully measures and copies each part of the machines so everything is exactly to scale. Everything except wheels and tires, that is.
"I have to buy wheels and finding those in one-half scale for the equipment isn't always easy. But I've found that for wagon wheels and tires, the wheelbarrow wheel and tire combinations you can buy in the hardware store work fine," he says.
He's also used these wheelbarrow wheels and tires for his plows.
Poppe takes his equipment to parades and displays at fairs around eastern Iowa. A favorite activity is to hitch up the wagons and take his 19 grandchildren for rides when they come to visit. He says he gets positive comments wherever he goes. He also gets frequent offers to buy. "What I make is not for sale, but I'd be happy to show it any time or answer questions from anyone who wants to build some for themselves," he says.
The Poppes also have a collection of about 100 old farm tractors, some restored, and all of which still run.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lloyd and Helen Poppe, 1004 140th Ave., Strawberry Point, Iowa 52076 (319-933-4585.

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2001 - Volume #25, Issue #5