2018 - Volume #42, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Old Sewing Machines Turned Into Tiny Tractors
“A fellow from Orange City, Iowa brought me an old Singer and wanted it left original,” Blatchford says. “I painted the parts I made black and the wheel rims gold and it really turned out nice. Now my wife wants one like it, even though I’ve already made her a pink one.”
In the past 4 years Blatchford says he’s probably made 50 of the tiny creations and sold them at farm toy and craft shows. Others he’s shipped as far away as Michigan and California.
“I’ve got probably 40 sewing machines waiting to be transformed into tractors. I just take my time doing them,” says Blatchford. “Some days I feel like it, others I don’t, but people have them ordered, so I have to keep at it.”
Blatchford’s tractors retain the sewing machine chrome and drive wheel, which becomes the tractor steering wheel. He builds a frame to hold the body, uses lawn mower wheels for the back and baby stroller wheels for the front. Tractors can have a narrow or wide front. He re-shapes old spoons for a tractor’s seat and makes the fenders from flat metal. He mounts the sewing machine motor on the frame to resemble a tractor motor. Authentic tractor paint colors and custom decals round out the creations. Completed they weigh about 35 lbs.
Blatchford says his love of tractors began as he grew up on a farm and later operated a farm of his own. After a farm injury caused him to retire from farming in the early 80’s he became a school custodian. He also taught industrial arts at Newcastle High School until the district consolidated in 2014. That winter he began building a tiny tractor from an old sewing machine and has been full-speed ahead at the craft ever since.
Blatchford also has 4 full-size tractors that he’s restored. Not partial to any brand, his shop holds a shiny Allis-Chalmers C, a Farmall H, a Ford 2N and a Deere 60. All of them are “parade-ready” and driven every summer.
When he’s not working on tractors during cold winter months, Blatchford carves wood and makes jewelry out of old silverware.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gene Blatchford, P.O. Box 23, Newcastle, Neb. 68757 (ph 402 355-9260).
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