On Winter’s End: The Classic Ford Tractor

While hanging on to the right-rear fender, the Ford tractor now zipping along Oak Ridge Highway outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, at a speed scaring me, dad clicked the gas lever another notch to its max. My young fingers gripping the narrow perch tighter, as if I could bend metal like aluminum foil, the vision of falling to the gravel below blurring by, motivating my fear.

See if you can identify the album covers (or the musicians pictured) as background for the intriguing Ford Tractor plate.

See if you can identify the album covers (or the musicians pictured) as background for the intriguing Ford Tractor plate.

I couldn’t look down; I just couldn’t. The view became too worrisome. I survived the hot rod tractor-ride to the gas station to fill up the beast used to plow the vegetable plots on this small farm where I grew up.

The images of a Ford tractor, much like that of old-time wooden snowshoes, recall passages past in a nostalgic way, bringing a certain peace and comfort to the hectic lives of modern America. Through 1953 more than 500,000 of these icons found their way to farms for $1,400 or so. Now restored units are readily available as their usefulness on commercial tracts and a hobby farm resurrects supply; a whole world of Ford and other brand restorations are always under way.  A rough but running tractor is probably in the $3,000 category, but the bright red and cleaned up unit easily exceeds $5,000.

Snowmobiles now do a lot of the work tractors accomplished in snowstorms of the past. However, nothing is more serene than a barn with its tractor.

Snowmobiles now do a lot of the work tractors accomplished in snowstorms of the past. However, nothing is more serene than a barn with its tractor.

The Ford 8N, July, 1947, became the most popular farm tractor in North America.

I have never owned a dinner plate with an image on it, though I saw them on Aunt’s walls long ago, generally with all kinds of religious meanings. However, the Ford Tractor plate brought back too many memories not to grab it.

Believe it or Not! Tractors still do this out in the country and many suburban neighborhoods. It's an easy way to become popular with the neighbors.

Believe it or Not! Tractors still do this out in the country and many suburban neighborhoods. It’s an easy way to become popular with the neighbors.

With new production methods the dishes are usable at dinner, too. Place setting for six anyone? Can’t wait for Thanksgiving with steaming cinnamon apples served on the tractor plate–yes, it is dishwashable. Looks like a centerpiece to me.

Don’t have a 1957 Chevy in the garage? Then, check out the 57 Chevy (red!) plate or Ford Tractor Christmas Memoriesthe Route 66 road sign look, along with one displaying a snowmobile trailing a stream of snow. Lots of snow mobiles in snowshoe country; super bikes, Harleys, too. Not so sure about Formula 1 racers, but I bet there are some in garages . . .  all this talk about plates reminds me: what’s for dinner? Now I want to eat.

How about using their Lureware 3-piece dinner place setting created from  18/10 polished drop-forged stainless steel yielding high quality fork, spoon and knife sets. See the lure types–yes, there are choices. I will however reveal the type of lure used for the spoon: naturally enough, a spoon lure. Maybe best used with fish dinners?

For a quick trip to the grocery, nothing beats a '57 Chevy . . . street legal or not. Put this on a plate for truly "fast food."

For a quick trip to the grocery, nothing beats a ’57 Chevy . . . street legal or not. Put this on a plate for truly “fast food.”

Nothing says love on Mother’s Day (or Father’s!) than the women’s or men’s Route 66 ring, a stainless steel Wrenching designed with the iconic road sign. How can you not?

WrenchWare creates these designs from their imaginative heads in Colton, California. Though not there, I conceived the idea of a snowshoe dinnerware set for them to do, too. Just think . . . snowshoe forks, walking-pole spoons, forks that can double for cleats. I’m sure my wife has been asking for that for years, just she just didn’t know it. When they become available, I’ll let you know.

Snowshoes in the rooms at the 2011 Cable WI Dion USSSA National Championships.

Snowshoes in the rooms at the 2011 Cable WI Dion USSSA National Championships.

In the meantime, on the wish list . . . a plate with the image of the 50″ wooden snowshoes used in Wisconsin’s Mountaineer Races featured in Perkinstown’s Perky, the Stomp the Swamp, and Wisconsin State Winter Snowshoe Championship races. Take a plate of food; you heft a 15-pound backpack in the trek.

Post your Tractor stories in the comments area below. Also email tractor photos (particularly with snow or Christmas themes) or thoughts to Phillip@UltraSuperior.com

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About Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition, including drag racing, his favorite motorsport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING: Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra-distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING: Keys" in a unique way. Currently, he has two books in the works. Write to him at Phillip@ultrasuperior.com, or find him on Twitter or Facebook @iHarmonizing.

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