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Here's Where To Go For Old Tractor Manuals
"Some of these old tractor manuals are priceless. They're not available anywhere else," says Wayne Wiltse, of the Floyd County Historical Society in Charles City, Iowa where a huge collection of old tractor manuals has been assembled thanks to "tons and tons" of old manuals donated by farm equipment manufacturers.
The collection includes manuals for Hart-Parr, Oliver, Minneapolis Moline, Cockshutt and White tractors. Manuals are also available for combines, planters and tillage tools, as well as for some industrial equipment.
When Allied Products Corp., parent company of White-New Idea, closed one of its facilities last year in a cost-cutting move, it offered a warehouse full of old manuals to the Floyd County Museum with the under-standing that the museum would make the manuals available to anyone who wanted them. The huge collection - more than 26 tons of material - also included more than 30,000 slides, photos and promotional films, as well as more than 7,000 blueprints. Material dates back to 1901.
Wiltse, an antique farm machinery enthusiast, headed up a crew of volunteers to organize the more than 50,000 publications, building shelves and computerizing the" entire collection so orders can be easily taken by phone.
Charles City is a logical location for the collection since it was the original home of Hart-Parr tractors. In 1929, Hart-Parr merged with Oliver. In the 1960's, White Motor Corp. bought the Oliver, Minneapolis Moline, and Cockshutt tractor lines and produced all three in Charles City, maintaining the independent mode designations. In the 1970's, all three lines were finally merged under the White name. In the 1980's, Allied Products Corp. took over White and decided not to keep filling orders for out-of-date technical publications for the old machinery lines. Wiltse says the museum hopes to obtain more old manuals from collectors in order to complete gaps that still remain in the collection. "We're looking for more manuals and other technical information on tractors and other farm equipment made by Hart-Parr, Oliver, Minneapolis Moline, Cockshutt, and White. We plan to specialize in those lines even though we do have a few old John Deere manuals."
Publications range in price from $3 to $15 for the original manuals. If only a few copies remain of a manual, the museum makes xerox copies which may cost more. Wiltse is looking into reprinting some of the most rare manuals, especially for the oldest Hart-Parr models.
Hundreds of orders have already come in from around the country. What's the most popular request so far? "The 1655 Oliver tractor and Oliver planters," Wiltse told FARM SHOW.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Floyd County Historical Society, 500 Gilbert Street, Charles City, Iowa 50616 (ph 515 228-1099).

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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #4