The Historical Society of Dodge County held its 2nd Vintage Tractor and Quilt Show on July 30th as their 3rd summer fundraiser. Approximately 70 vintage tractors and some interesting farm equipment showed up to be displayed, and 115 handmade quilts adorned the gardens on the property. Volunteers for the Society served Sloppy Joes and sides to the attendees, and many vendors showed up to sell their handcrafted wares. D & C Piano Movers had a miniature horse drawn carriage on the premises, and tractor rides were available on a vintage tractor. A hay wagon pulled by another tractor transported folks to the historic buildings that were open to the public for the show. A blacksmith was demonstrating the art of being a "Smithy "in the old days. Music and a clogging demonstration by the Onion Creek Cloggers was held at the old creamery on the property. Young and old wandered through the gardens, admiring the quilts and tractors on a day that turned out to be weather friendly!
David Chicos of Dodge Center had what could possibly be the only 5 foot long chain saw attached to a Farmall tractor, built in neighboring Claremont, Mn. The Von Ruden PTO driven chainsaw was built in the late 1940's and early 1950's. He powered it up to cut into a very large tree trunk to demonstrate how well it worked. He gave me a brief history of the 1 of a kind machine.
An excerpt from Raymond E. Von Ruden's patent application for "Mounting Means for Chain Saws and the like" reads: The primary object of my invention is the provision of novel means for converting a chain type saw to a tractor, whereby the saw may readily be adjustably set in any one of a number of given positions varying from the horizontal to the vertical."
I asked David about the brief manufacturing period. "While it was a great idea for cutting through large logs, the tractor had to be moved after each cut and repositioned for the next cut. So while it was the fastest way to slice through the bigger pieces, it was an inefficient use of the tractor." In any case, I thought it was quite the creative invention, and a tribute to the history of farm equipment! For more history on the immigration to the farms in the area, and more of the inventions of those times, be sure to visit the Historical Center in Mantorville. It is located in the limestone church building at 615 N. Main Street in Mantorville, and is open Thursday through Sunday from 1 to 4 pm through October. Closed Sunday September 10th for Marigold Days.
I spoke with several vendors and visitors about the event, and everyone had positive things to say about the event. "It was very well attended" was one I heard several times. "Really interesting history", to "The food was really good, and at a reasonable price, " was another one. "I learned a lot about the history of farming," was a common comment.
Thanks to Jean Bartel, president of the Historical Society for hosting the event on her beautiful acreage. Be sure to stop in to the DCHS to learn more about our area's past!
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