Antique Engine & Tractor Show on September 17-19

Claudia Loucks
Randy Goddard, left; John DeReu, Chad Jacobs and Jim Gradert are shown with the 1949 and 1952 Minneapolis-Moline tractors that will be on display at this year’s Antique Engine & Tractor Association’s annual show, Sept. 17-19. John DeReu owns the two tractors in the photo

The Antique Engine & Tractor Association’s Working Farm Show will mark its 60th anniversary at this year’s show, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 17-19, at the show grounds, north of Geneseo on Illinois 92, three miles east of Interstate 88, or one half mile west of Illinois Rt. 92.

Last year, because of the restrictions in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the traditional events at the show did not take place, but instead AE&TA members hosted Fall Harvest Days in September.

The Working Farm Show is a popular attraction for residents and visitors of all ages, and is a family event with lots of activities for children, including train rides around the show grounds.

The annual three-day Working Farm Show is where the AE&TA harvest corn and beans with mid-1900’s equipment, show the use of horses for working a field, thresh oats or wheat, run a saw mill, plowing, baling, and demonstrate gas engines as they were used in the early 1900’s.

The annual show gets bigger each year with over 400 tractors, over 100 garden tractors and hundreds of gas engines, plus other agricultural memorabilia on the grounds.

The Women’s Vendor Fair at the Show will feature rug weaving, broom making, crafts, wood turning, gardening and other demonstrations.

The entire show is handicap accessible. Pets are not allowed, with an exception for service dogs.

In 2010, the AE&TA moved to its current location after 48 years in different locations. The 40 acres of land was donated to the Association by Bill and June Cole of Hillsdale. AE&TA purchased an additional 10 acres to connect the grounds to Illinois 92, which allowed for a driveway from the highway to the show grounds.

They also rent additional acreage from Orville and Maxine McCord.

Handicap transportation is available and the “people mover” also is a convenient means to transport people around the show grounds.

The AE&TA grounds showcase the timber frame barn that appears to have been built decades ago. The building was constructed using age-old techniques. Trillium Dell Timberworks, along with help from the Timber Framers Guild, assembled and raised the large building.

About 95 per cent of the barn was constructed with timber from Illinois forests. Even though the AETA barn was built with new lumber, it appears to have been part of the Henry County countryside for years.

A food building also was added to provide seating for visitors to the show.

The Jordan Mercantile Building was donated to the club in 2013 from Phil and Karen Jordan.

A train building was constructed in 2015, with labor and materials donated by Larry Colo, Geneseo, and Bill Cole, Hillsdale

Construction is underway to complete the new Feature Building, located on the east side of the timber frame barn.

Phil Jordan, past president of AE&TA said,”We are building an enclosed walkway that will include handicap restrooms, and will connect the Feature Building to the timber frame barn.”

AE&TA members share a belief in preserving the historic value of antique, power-driven farm equipment, from early horse-drawn plows to gasoline and steam tractors to equipment from the 1900’s to the 1960’s.

The group also believes in keeping the machines running by putting them to work and that makes the group’s show unique as they use the equipment on display in demonstrations.

Each year the show features a different brand of antique engine and/or tractor, and the Minneapolis-Moline is showcased this year. For more general information, contact Phil Jordan, 309-314-5000, or Chad Jacobs, 309-314-0783.

The daily schedule of events – Sept. 17-19:

-6 a.m. – Gates open for exhibitors.

-7 a.m. – gates open for visitors.

-9 a.m. – Raising of flag

-8 a.m. – 4 p.m. – engine and tractor displays.

-9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. – children’s activities and train rides – with the exception of Sunday, Sept. 19, when children’s activities and train rides will conclude at 4 p.m.

-8 a.m. – 4 p.m. – demonstrations including blacksmith, sawmill, threshing, wood carvers, cane press and horse farming.

-9 a.m. – noon and 2 to 4 p.m. – field demonstrations.

-10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – food stands open.

-1 p.m. – parade on show grounds, line up at feature tractor area.

-4 p.m. – lowering of flag.

Saturday, Sept. 18: - same as activities on Sept. 17 with the addition of:

-9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Music – Bob Frederick & Friends Band.

-3 p.m. – auction of donated items with pie auction to follow.

-5 p.m. gates close.

-6 p.m. – Threshermen’s Dinner catered by Hillsdale Methodist Women; reservation only.

Sunday, Sept. 19 – same as Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 with these changes:

- 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. – children’s activities and train rides.

-9 – 10 a.m. – church services.

-12:45 p.m. – 50-50 raffle drawing,

-4 p.m. lowering of flag and show closes.

SIDEBAR STORY ABOUT 2021 FEATURE TRACTOR- MINNEAPOLIS-MOLINE

Each year the Antique Engine & Tractor Association features a different brand of antique engine and/or tractor and this year the group is showcasing Minneapolis-Moline tractors and implements.

Prior to his death earlier this year, Larry Gay, a member of the Antique Engine & Tractor Association for many years, and who had written books on the history of farm tractors, shared some of his findings about the tractors and equipment which are being featured at the 2021 annual Antique Engine & Tractor Working Farm Show.

The Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Company was formed in April 1929 by merging the Moline Implement company (formerly the Moline Plow Company), the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company, and the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company.

The Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company was manufacturing Minneapolis tractors and harvesting equipment at its factory in Hopkins, Minn. The Minneapolis tractors were dropped and the harvesting equipment retained. The Moline Implement Company was building implements at its factory in Moline.

After the merger, the three former Twin City standard-tread tractors were labeled MM Twin City. The KT, MT and JT row-crop tractors were added in the early 1930’s. The first tractor with only the Minneapolis-Moline name and the Prairie Gold color was 2-3 plow Z in 1937, followed by the 3-4 plow U in 1938, the 2-plow R in 1939, and the 4-5 plow, standard-tread GT in 1939.

A unique version of the U was the UDLX Comfortractor with a steel cab equipped with a radio, heater, and wide seat. MM was the first to offer LP-gas engines in 1941. In 1949, the company name was shortened to Minneapolis-Moline Company.

Minneapolis-Moline purchased the B.F. Avery Company in 1951 and the BF and BG models replaced the R. Also in 1951, MM introduced the Uni-Tractor, a self-propelled chassis for harvesting equipment. The 335 and 445 with an arched hood were introduced in 1956 and in 1962 MM became the first company to offer factory-installed front-wheel assist. MM began to experience profitability problems in the mid-1950’s. The Avery factory was closed in 1955 and the Moline plant in 1956. In January 1963, Minneapolis-Moline was purchased by White Motor Company. The MM tractor line for 1964 consisted of the Jet Star 3, U302, M602, M604, G705, and G706 models.

The G1000 tractor with 110 PTO horsepower was new for the 1966 model year. For 1967, the G900 was added and the G1000 row-crop tractor became the G1000 Vista with an isolated operator’s platform. New for 1970 were the G950, G1050, G1350, with 97, 110, and 135 PTO horsepower, respectively, and the A4T series of articulated four-wheel-drive tractors.

White Motor Corporation created the White Farm Equipment Company in Sept. 1969 by combining its Oliver and Minneapolis-Moline subsidiaries.

The MM Lake Street and Hopkins factories were closed in mid-1972 and MM tractor production was moved to the Oliver tractor factory in Charles City, Iowa. The last new Minneapolis-Moline tractors were the G1355 and G955 for 1973 and 1974, respectively.

These were basically Oliver tractors with MM diesel or LP-gas engines, front frames, and hoods. By 1976, the White line of tractors had replaced both the Minneapolis-Moline and Oliver brands.