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Young IH Collectors Like To Step Back In Time
When they were dating, Meghan Loschen wasn’t particularly enamored with Travis Loschen’s International Harvester tractor and memorabilia collection. That changed once she discovered IH used to make refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Now, a big section of the couple’s Royal, Ill., garage looks like a kitchen from the 1940’s.
“We probably have the most complete collection of preservation packaging and literature developed by IH,” says Travis, noting that people had to learn how to preserve food after refrigerators and freezers came on the scene.
IH started manufacturing household appliances when electricity became available for rural homes. A team of women tested recipes and preservation methods at an Evansville, Ind., factory kitchen and went around the country using the moniker “Irma Harding” to demonstrate how to use freezer containers, cellophane, and other products IH sold.
“Probably our rarest piece is the original display stand they had in IH dealerships with the food packaging,” Loschen says. “We also have an unopened, amber-colored glass jar of Flav-R-Sav, IH’s version of fruit pectin, that is worth $800 to $1,200.”
One interesting IH refrigerator in the collection has a foot-controlled latch to open the door.
One of the heaviest items, a chest freezer, has been in the house since 1955 when Loschen’s grandparents lived there.
“The house was so small they had to put the freezer upstairs, and it took four guys to get it up there - two pulling with a rope and two pushing,” Loschen explains. “That thing sat up there for 60 years and ran nonstop without a service call.”
When Loschen and his wife purchased the house 4 years ago, he took off the spring-loaded lid and removed the compressor and hinges. But it still took four people to get the freezer downstairs to the garage. Reassembled and painted, it is part of the display that also includes a restored set of Youngstown metal kitchen cabinets. Loschen and Meghan’s grandfather made the red “boomerang” pattern Formica countertop.
The couple use the space as a family room with their three young children and give tours by appointment during Penfield’s I&I Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Club show (July 9-12, 2020) as well as Half Century of Progress Shows every other year.
As for Meghan’s interest in IH collecting, it has definitely grown, Loschen says. Especially since he restored a Farmall A, painted it pink, and gave it to her on their first anniversary.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Travis and Meghan Loschen, Royal, Ill. (ph 217 722-9294; loschenfarms84@gmail.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #2