We just finished our last show of the season. One of the joys of going to farm machinery shows is learning more about agricultural history in all its forms. When we arrived at this year’s Brown County Antique Machinery Show, we show this monster yellow tractor. So we parked next to it.
The Brown Country show, although the smallest show we attend, remains a favorite. We get lots of local stories (the show is only twenty minutes are so from the Farm Jeeps home) and almost always learn something new about farming. You can read about this year’s show here.
Bill Norris sent us a note about using his CJ2a that is chronicled in his Jeep story. We thought it would make a great follow-on to the story and we have added it to the page.
Update – A face made for radio
I borrowed a line from the Car Talk guys when they did a TV show. Fred from the YouTube channel “Recommended by Fred” stopped by the Brown County show for a visit. He has posted the videos and I want to thank him for doing so. I can’t say I was thrilled about doing an interview, but Fred made it easy and I think he captured what Evan and I are trying to do.
While the show season isn’t over, there is already good news to report. We have noticed a decline in both the number of participants and visitors at shows over the past several years. Then the pandemic happened and shows were canceled.
It appeared to us that last year’s shows were close to pre-pandemic levels. But something happened this year. Something very good we think. Three of the four shows we have attended thus far had large increases in both participants and visitors. That is reversing a decade long trend (at least according to our non-scientific observations).
The Rushville, IN show we wrote about in 2018 had grown from 600 tractors (and one Farm Jeep) to over 800 tractors on display. A new show for us in Martinsville, IN had the largest gathering in years and the Greensburg, IN show expanded to an extra day and drew more exhibitors.
While one season doesn’t make a trend, it is still heartening to see all the new interest. We talked to more people, and heard more stories. We will be sharing some of those stories later. For now, we wanted to share the good news.
Our interview with Luke – Part 2
In the second part of our interview with Luke Schimmel of White Horse Manufacturing, we learned more about the process of reproducing OEM parts for the Monroe hydraulic lift. If you haven’t read the first part, you should start here, otherwise click here to go to the second part.
Over the past couple of years, we have been trying to find individuals/companies who would make reproduction parts for the Newgren and Monroe lifts. We continue to work with E&K on developing OEM parts for the Stratton lift. We have a listing of those individuals/companies currently making parts, but it was also clear that we didn’t understand the reproduction process.
So we asked Luke Schemmel to help us out. Hopefully, this will be the first of a series with Luke where we can all learn about what it takes to make a reproduction part today. As Luke explained, it is part ultra-modern (3D-printing) and part ancient (sand casting) techniques.
When Evan was a 1st grader, he was cast in the role of Davy Crockett for the school play. He marched across the stage as his fellow classmates sang “The Ballad of Davy Crockett. ” After the performance, I asked him why he didn’t sing along. His response was simple – “Dad, you don’t sing your own song.” I should have known that.
Today, I’m going to break that rule and sing my own song. At this year’s Spring Willys Reunion, I received a “Toledo Brick” – a brick from the Willys-Overland factory – given to me for my work in documenting the history of the Farm Jeep. This is the second award that I have received from the Jeep community and I’m honored and humbled by both. This will be the acceptance speech I could never give. (I have given up public speaking after fighting stage fright for 50 years.) I have lots of people to thank.
Evan and I have had so much fun with this site and with the people we have met. I do the majority of the research and writing. I have that most precious of all commodiates – time. Being “retired” means I can afford to spend hours looking for tidbits of history. Evan is my collaborator and sounding board. His name should be on the award too.
Paula, my wife and partner of fifty-five years, deserves a special award. When I find a clue to an obscure fact, she has to listen to me go on and on, even when only one person in a million might be interested.
Then there is Bill Norris, editor of the The Dispatcher, who asked me if I would be interested in writing the history of the Farm Jeep lifts. I would never have considered writing a magazine article.
Leslie McManus is the editor of the Farm Collector magazine. I wrote to her when an article on the Farm Jeep that contained many errors was published. Leslie invited me to submit articles that would correct those errors. She also helped me improve my writing and kept me focused on her audience. I was honored when she made the Farm Jeep the cover photo and story for the first time in the magazine’s history.
I wish there was a way I could thank all of the many people in the Jeep community that have helped me. A few of them are listed on this site under the Family and Friends section. I do want to thank Keith Buckley for taking the time to search his vast collection of technical documents for items related to the Farm Jeep. Those items have been the key to uncovering many facts about this tiny slice of Jeep history.
Finally I want to think Clint Dixon. Clint and I have never met in person, but have collaborated on research and writing projects. Just this week, Clint and I have been working on what may be the most obscure item that appeared on some Monroe lifts, the “adjustment bracket.” Together, we will solve this mystery and will have great fun doing so. A post will appear soon that maybe a handful of people will find interesting. But it will make Clint and me very, very happy.
May is our favorite month of the year here at Farm Jeep. It is the beginning of antique machinery and Jeep shows. But before we get to that fun, we have a news item, and as the title says, an Ask Farm Jeep update.
Walck’s 4 Wheel Drive has been our go-to vendor since we started this adventure twenty years ago. Carl Walck is retiring and has sold his business to Kaiser-Willys. We can’t tell you how many times we have been stuck or just plain lost when working on our Jeeps. Carl himself would most often answer a call to Walck’s. He always took the time to put us on the right path and never made us feel we didn’t know what we were doing. We will miss him and wish him a happy retirement.
Allan Knepper sent us an email asking for help in identifying a lift he had just purchased. Much to our surprise, it looks like a very ingenious modification to a Newgren.
No joke! According to the 1955 brochure the new CJ5 could haul two passengers and the driver in the front. Four passengers, two in the rear seat and two on the wheel wells could ride in cushioned comfort.
You can view the entire brochure by clicking here.
This may be the first brochure where “personal use” of Jeep gets equal billing along with the traditional uses in agriculture, industrial, and other work activities.
The newest edition of The Dispatcher magazine is out and Barry has the cover store. The article titled “How Henry Ford Saved the Jeep” looks at how Ford’s booting of his right-hand man of forty years changed the course of Willys-Overland. Charles E. Sorensen would bring his knowledge of the Ford 9N tractor, which he helped develop, to the design of a hydraulic lift for the Jeep. Sorensen also had to fight the Willys Board of Directors over what to build next; a much desired post-war car or Sorensen’s line of “utility vehicles.”
We, of course, think a subscription to The Dispatcher is worth it, just for this one article. Every issue is filled with articles of interest to anyone who loves old Jeeps. You can subscribe here. You can read the article here.
Dave at eWillys has reposted an article published just after the “Jeep Day” reveal of the CJ2a. We have added it to our early history section.
Thanks to Bill Norris and Keith Buckley, we now know that a “non” Jeep Approved farm lift, one produced by Transport Motor Company (TMC), appeared in national Willys ads in 1947. Up until now we had never seen a national Willys ad that featured any lifts other than the early Love, the Newgren, or Monroe. You can read the complete story by clicking here.
Ask Farm Jeep (but this time we asked the question)
A question was asked on the Early CJ5 forum about removing the governor control “T-handle, and we did some research on the on the CJ2a Forum. There we found Greg Robertson, who asked that he be referred to as a “”Mature WILLYS Enthusiast” rather than an expert.” He did, however, give expert advice and we have posted it here.
We also found Greg had answered another question on what governors had been used on the early Jeeps. We have posted this great summary here.
A few tweaks to the site
Over the past few years, we have moved from a project focused site with a collection of supporting materials, to a history oriented site. We have updated the top menu to reflect that change. We have changed the home page with the hope that first time visitor will be able to quickly locate the information they seek.
We know many visitors come looking for technical information about hydraulic lifts, governors, and PTOs, that make a Jeep a Farm Jeep. The Parts tab has been renamed Tech Info to hopefully make it clear that we have more than just parts data. Others are looking for Resources and we have moved Links, Ads and Brochures, plus Movies here. We do believe movies can be a valuable visual resource.
History is now its own special section, with sub-groups by the areas we research and write about. Stories, Shows and Questions now contains Projects too.
Please drop us a line if you have suggestions for how we can improve the site.
Happy New Year! We here at Farm Jeep enjoy brewing up a fresh batch of fun at the beginning of the year. We are looking forward to spending the next months digging up fun facts, fun shows and maybe a fun project or two.
Some things in the works
We have almost a dozen open research projects. We will be updating many of them with information we have gathered and been given. While we don’t make predictions or promises, there is a very good chance that Barry will have a new article published this year.
No resolutions just working on goals
Our goals have always been to first have fun, and second to share as much information as we can about the Farm Jeep. Our annual plan includes a monthly update, even if brief, to share our fun, no matter the form. With travel possible again, we might even get in a research trip.