Remember the arrival of houses and tractors in kits
The catalog pages were full of products offering new amenities, a delicious mix of reality and fantasy. New houses could be ordered from companies.
Sears, Montgomery Wards and Forest’s Portable Houses, based in Minneapolis, marketed kit houses, which provided pre-measured planks and easy-to-follow instructions. Some advertisements claimed that three men working four days could finish a new house. Another shameless kit maker said their kits provide “the cheapest, strongest, warmest homes on the market.”
A separate basement, Sears and Roebuck and others provided all the heating, electrical and plumbing supplies. Depending on the pictures and the sophisticated style, a house building kit costs between $ 600 and $ 6,000. In the late 1920s, the average cost of building a conventional house was $ 6,296.
More than 100,000 minted houses were built before WWII before interest in them waned. However, sales of kits continue to this day. Businesses, sensing that there might be untapped markets, have spread to outbuildings.
Sears, Montgomery Wards, Van Tine and Aladdin also sold kits for building barns, sheds and chicken coops. Through its popular catalog, Sears offered paint choices that included oxide red, dark gray, yellow, and brown.
The cost of a barn kit was approximately $ 1,600 (approximately $ 28,000 in current dollars). If money was tight, Sears could provide loans on reasonable terms.
Many farmers, who saw their profits decline after the end of World War I, had to find good deals where they could. Harsh times have presented an opportunity for Montgomery Wards and others with your city construction tractor kits. Assembly was required, as was an engine. Many engines hacked from their family cars to get more power at a lower cost.
In the 1930s, Sears sold the Economy and Graham row crop tractor line. About 500 Economy tractors were manufactured and powered by rebuilt Ford engines. The tractor sold for a reasonable price of $ 495, which is $ 7,600 in today’s dollars.
An advertisement at the time said that such tractors allowed farmers to get a two-end plow tractor for the price of one-end horsepower.
In the 1940s, Montgomery Wards sold their own branded tractor, which was manufactured by the Custom Manufacturing Company and another company until the Wards Tractor ended production in 1954.
Mainline tractors and irregular bale tractors are garnering great interest at antique tractor and threshing shows across the Midwest. Participants marvel at the ability of alumni to fend for themselves. A tractor might take half an acre to turn in a field and could have been clunky, but it got the job done.
I’m trying to attend the antique electricity show near The Center, Minnesota, because it’s near where our original farm was. The event started out small and has turned into a big show that has a big economic impact on neighboring communities.
Green, orange, red or blue – the color of the tractor does not matter. This is not entirely true. Some tractors have been redesigned in pink to raise awareness of the harmful consequences of breast cancer. AGCO and Ziegler teamed up to produce a pink Challenger a few years ago to highlight the disease and other manufacturers have followed suit. Antique pink tractors also appear on slow journeys to help people cope with medical bills.
A pink John Deere B turned heads a few years ago at Le Center. A farmer said he would not be caught to death driving a pink tractor. Pink, he said, is for girls.
Pink was once the color of boys. At the beginning of the 20e century, a baby’s room was painted pink because it was believed to be a stronger color than blue. It wasn’t until 1918 that a popular magazine voiced the opinion that blue was for boys because it is a “stronger” color than pink.
To learn more about Mychal Wilmes’ Farm Boy Memories, click here.
Mychal Wilmes is the retired editor of Agri News. He lives in West Concord, Minnesota, with his wife, Kathy.