Gloomy Trip to the Vet and an Antique Tractor

Yesterday was gloomy.

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Even the mushrooms were not their normal perky selves.  Don’t they look morose and blue?

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And it was in this kind of less-than-chipper weather, that we headed to the vet to find out if the tumors on our lab were the kind we should be concerned about, or if they just needed to be removed as benign growths.  While the verdict is still out on his medical condition, we did find a very cool antique tractor parked on a hill in front of the veterinary’s office.

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After scouring the web I have determined that this machine was made by International Harvester Company.  The McCormick-Deering portion of the company sold this model in the early 1930’s.  By ’33 rubber tires had replaced the metal lugged ones featured on this tractor.  Even though it is rust colored now it was probably shiny gray with red wheels when it rolled across the fields the first time.

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Based on the debris in the engine and the lichen growing on the metal, I don’t think this drove to its current location.

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The equipment it is pulling was manufactured by John Deere.  It has rusted, too, but if you look closely you can see the original green paint.

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As I stood back and viewed it, I tried to imagine its original owner proudly driving it over his farm.

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And then my mind drifted (as it is prone to do) and… I wondered how much he must have paid for it?  Again I returned to the internet and there I learned that the price for the average tractor in 1930 was $500-$900.  Interestingly enough two rear compact tires for the modern day version of this model costs about $500.  Just the tires!

This of course led me down the road of learning how much groceries cost 80 years ago.

  • Bread (jumbo loaf) – 5 cents
  • Toilet tissue (2 rolls) – 9 cents
  • Sugar (10lb) – 49 cents
  • Kellogs Corn Flakes (3 packages) – 25 cents.

And then…

  • Average New House – $7,100.00 (And this dropped to $3,800 by 1939)
  • Gallon of Gas – 10 cents
  • Single Vision Glasses – $3.85
  • Emmerson 5 Tube Bedroom Radio – $9.95
  • 10 Piece Bedroom Set – $79.95 (I am not sure what ten pieces of bedroom furniture looks like…but here is what it cost.)

After reflecting on all of this I have determined that it is easier to imagine the gentleman in his overalls and straw hat riding this tractor, than it is for me to conceive of paying 35 cents for our cereal or less than $4 for my daughter’s glasses.  Especially considering that the removal and biopsy of the tumors that Butch the Wonder Dog needs to have removed, will cost as much as a new tractor in 1933.  That is enough to make anyone born in that era to spin in their grave!  They would be thinking that with a vet bill like that I had better hook him up to a reaper and get busy in the corn field.

Here is a video showing how to start this bad boy up.

That’s right…you just viewed Bud crank starting his 1930 tractor in a youtube video over the internet.

Amazing what has happened since this tractor was built…

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