The catalog I picked up out of my collection was the 1965 Tractor Parts Blue Book from Tractor Supply Co. This issue celebrated adding the 100th store across the nation.
Tractor Supply Co., often referred to as TSC, now has 1,700 stores. You can still find tractor and equipment parts for sale, but you’ll also find a lot more items geared to people living on just a few acres.
Come along as I flip through a few pages of the 1965 Blue Book, and pay attention to items and prices. They say a lot about changes in agriculture.
• Page 3: Plastic corn planter plates. Remember those? They were advertised as 50% less expensive than cast-iron plates. You could buy plates for John Deere or Allis-Chalmers planters for 88 cents each, or International Harvester Co. plates for $1.09 each.
We threw away stacks of these when my dad retired. I thought seed corn dealers provided them for free — apparently not all the time.
• Page 9: Wagon and tractor front and rear tires. You could buy a rear tractor tire for as little as $34.76! The most-expensive Huskee rear tractor tire for the biggest model listed was $83.97. Of course, that doesn’t include tax. No trade-in tire was required; you could put no money down, and three credit plans were available.
• Page 23: Tailored seat covers for popular trucks. You could buy these full front-seat covers made of 12-ounce cotton duck for $8.95. Covers were available for Ford pickups back to 1948 and Chevrolet and GMC trucks back to 1950. All were $8.95 each — that was a bargain.
• Page 24: Motorola all-transistor-type truck radio. Not a stereo, kids, just a radio. But if you didn’t have one, that was a big deal in 1965. You could get the radio and antenna to mount on the roof for $48.95 as part of the 100th store celebration.
• Page 30: Trasco Heater Cabs. OK, many people referred to them as “Heat Housers,” but that was a brand name. They weren’t true cabs, but canvas material kept the heat in. You could get one to fit most tractors for $24.88 without a windshield or wings, or for $31.88 with a windshield and wings. The ad even talks about adjustable heat control. I admit we had a different brand on our D17 Series IV, but I don’t remember anything about heat control. It was either cold if you didn’t have one, or not as cold and bearable if you did.
• Page 81: Hammermill belts. If you’re under 40, you may not know that this was a belt that ran off the pulley on the tractor to power not only hammermills, but also ensilage blowers and other things. We still used one on the silo blower in 1965. You could buy a “deluxe” belt with four-ply construction, 30 feet long, for $43.50, or a 40-foot-long belt for $54.50.
• Page 98: Roto-Baler belts. If you still used an Allis-Chalmers Roto-Baler to make small round bales, you could buy the complete set of 12 endless original equipment belts for the baler for $141.50. You could also buy a plywood swathboard for your sickle mower for $3.88, or an all-steel one for just $6.29.
• Page 108: Combine belts. If you were still using an Allis-Chalmers Model 66 orange pull-type combine that sent residue out the side, you could get a belt for it. You could also get belts for John Deere 12-A pull-type and Massey-Harris Clipper combines.
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