While you are celebrating an earlier American Revolution we think you will enjoy the story of another revolution. This one involves farming and the introduction of a new kind of vehicle, the Willys Jeep. When equipped with a Monroe Hydraulic Lift and Newgren “Farm Tested” implements, the Jeep changes the way the residents of Pleasantville view the future of farming.
The movie, developed as part of an ad campaign to promote the then new Monroe lift, is an “infomercial” in every sense of the word. You will learn how the equipment works and even how to plow a field with the Jeep.
While we discovered the movie over a year ago, we wanted to be sure that we weren’t violating any copyright laws in making it freely available. At this point, we believe the movie to be in the public domain, as the original copyrights were not renewed, nor have any new copyrights been filed.
We are aware of at least two other copies of the film, but it has not been available for public viewing for 70 years. It is presented here with a preface to give some context to the viewer.
Farm Jeep just seems like the proper name for the vehicle that followed the “military jeep” in 1945. It is short and aptly descriptive. Willys-Overland certainly thought it was a great name and had submitted a federal trademark application in 1943. The application was rejected in January 1944 as “being too generic” and Willys was forced to come up with a new name. That name was “AgriJeep” and the trademark was granted in December, 1944.
The “AgriJeep” name was only used on the early experimental models, dropped in favor of the simple “Jeep” name for the introduction of the CJ2a in July 1945. We were reminded of this bit of history by an eWillys post titled August 1945 Farm Journal Article “What About the New Farm Jeep?”. This Farm Journal article is worth its own post and we will write about it later.
Since we couldn’t attend this year’s Willys Reunion, we thought it might be fun to revisit the 2015 spring show, featuring the AgriJeep.
We will take our tour courtesy of CJ3b.info and end with this video. Enjoy!
Over the past several years, we have been perplexed by the statement in early Newgren lift ads and articles that the lift was operated by a “control on the dash”. Yet our own Newgren lift had the control between the seats and this arrangement appears in the 1947 installation instructions.
In a 2016 post, we wrote the following –
The controls are where?
While looking over the ads …, we noticed a strange statement on a January 1947 ad titled “YES you can use Hydraulic-Lift Implements with the UNIVERSAL ‘JEEP’. The statement – “Hydraulic-lift implements raised and lowered by control on the dash.” – got our attention.
The ad, shows the Newgren lift, that normally had the driver control between the seats. The Monarch Hy-Lo Jeep pump did use a through-the-dash control. We know that the Monarch pump was used with some Newgren lifts, but we had assumed that was at a later date.
So the question is was this an ad misprint or had Willys (or Newgren) started using Monarch pumps in place of the original Newgren unit. The answer appeared as we were reviewing the information we have on the Love lift.
As can be seen when comparing the ad above to this newspaper report (thanks to ewillys.com), the photo is the same. Our assumption is that the lift in the ad was a Newgren was our error. The earliest Love lift did use controls on the dash.
Update – Not our error
Just look at this undated announcement of the Newgren lift –
Note “Finger Tip Operation” shows lever between the seats.
Same picture again and yes that is a Newgren lift in every picture. But still strange timing…
Fast forward to 2018
Dave once again added to the mystery –
That old control on the dash issue The eWillys article also included an early ad for the lift plow. In the body is the statement “A touch of the control knob on the dash lowers the plow into operating position.” We have written a number of times about the “control on the dash” that appeared in the earliest Newgren ads.
We have never seen pictures of the “dash knob” but believe this early brochure confirms that the control was always between the seat and the idea of a “dash knob” was an error by the marketing staff. Thanks to Dave for providing some summer fun.
Here is proof that at least for a short period of time Newgren used the Love pump and dash control. Thanks to the seller on eBay and to Dave for posting the pictures that have finally solved this Farm Jeep mystery.
We recently lost out on an opportunity to buy a Monroe lift installation manual. Today that same manual showed up in a folder of a project we are just starting to work on. We don’t remember when we picked this up, but it must have been several years ago. Some day we will get organized, but for now we are very happy to have found it and have done a quick scan. Just click on the cover.
Terry E. sent us a note about our plans for 2020 shows. Sadly, it appears that we won’t be attending shows this summer. Instead, we are going to create a couple of virtual shows, based on the many events we have attended these past years. While not close to the fun of interacting with people, it should provide some fun memories for us and maybe kindle an interest in attending Jeep and farm shows in the future for others. Now we just need to sort through hundreds of photos we have taken over the past decades.
While we won’t be adding new shows, we will be adding a new story soon. Dan Montgomery has written an article, “Robert Miller’s Jeeps: A small town story of hayfields in the sun, wheelies at night and growing up with Jeeps” for the Spring 2020 Dispatcher magazine. If you don’t already subscribe to this great magazine, now is a great time to do so.
Here is a sneak peak at what makes Dan’s story of interest to us –
In normal times, we would be gathering our family and friends to celebrate Easter and the coming of spring. This year we will just be joining the rest of the world with virtual visits and remembering the good times of past years.
We are adding two names to our friends list today. These two individuals have shared their knowledge of the Monroe Auto Equipment Company (MAECO) and the Newgren Company. Jerry Wittkop was working for MAECO when the Monroe hydraulic lift was introduced. He has given us a first-hand look at this important part of Farm Jeep history. You can read a brief interview with Jerry here.
Clint Dixon has an incredible wealth of knowledge covering both MAECO and Newgren implements. How he came to be so interested in these two companies may surprise you. There is a brief introduction to Clint here.
The April 2020 edition of Farm Collector magazine has an article featuring lots of photos of the annual demonstration hosted by John Ittel, as part of the annual Willys Jeep Rally. It was written by Barry. Enjoy!