Old-time farm machinery and antique gadgets and advertising are pieces of our past, and link us in a very physical, touchable way to our ancestors on the farm. Old tractors, implements and household items passed on in a family can be among the prized possessions of future generations.
If you are a big fan of shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars, you know that there is often no rhyme or reason to what carries value. Things that were probably disposable at the time are now extremely valuable because there aren’t many such items left in good condition. Old toys, odd gadgets and even daily household conveniences have taken on new value over time because they offer little glimpses into what life was like years ago.
It makes me wonder if any items we use today on our farms will be worth anything as antiques decades from now. Will my old cell phones and laptops have any value? How about my old brown pickup with the rusted fenders and doors that won’t shut? I have scores of five-gallon, plastic oil and transmission fluid buckets sitting around. Do you suppose they would ever be worth anything?
All of the tractors I operate around our place are already antiques, so I don’t have to wonder about them. My skidloader is 30 years old, so I suppose it would have antique value to someone if I wasn’t still using it.
My grandfather had several Case steam tractors parked among the trees on our farm in the late 1920s after they had already become obsolete, so my Dad recalled playing on those tractors as a kid. During the war years and scrap metal collections of the early 1940s, all of these old tractors went to a scrap metal pile to be recycled for the war effort. Today, if you would have one of those steam tractors intact, you would really have something special.
So, as I watch Mike and Frank from American Pickers drive around the country, picking back lots and old farmsteads for treasures, I guess it would be anyone’s guess what future generations might find valuable among our farm gadgets of today.
Here is this week’s discussion question. What old-time gadgets do you have on your farm that are most valued by you today? You can share your thoughts here.