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The late ’60s brought new products to ag

John Deere archives 1967 2010 tractor with disk
MANY PASSES: It took many passes with narrower disks to work ground in the 1960s. This is a predecessor of the tractor and disk from the 1967 ad mentioned in the story. It’s a 1960 2010 with disk.
Throwback Thursday: Where are these products and the companies that made them today?

You can learn a lot about a period of time in agriculture by looking at the products advertised and who advertised them. Take a “time travel” trip back to 1967. What were companies hoping farmers would buy? How many of those companies are still around?

When the Jan. 1, 1967, Prairie Farmer arrived in the mailbox of an Indiana farmer, it no longer was labeled “Indiana edition.” Instead, it carried the name “Indiana” in smaller letters above the traditional “Prairie Farmer” script.

Products of yesterday
The cover depicted a Farm Progress Show demonstration scene and the words “1967 Machinery Roundup.” Here are some of the ads found inside the issue.

• John Deere disks. The first ad was for John Deere moldboard plows and disks. Deere introduced the Y Series Integral Disk Harrow. Cutting widths for the three-point hitch-disk ranged from 5 feet, 10 inches to 11 feet, 2 inches. The disks featured a circular or oval mainframe and the ability to angle front and rear gangs independently from the tractor seat.

John Deere still makes moldboard plows and disks today.

• Chevrolet Conventional Chassis-Cab. You won’t find a number designating this livestock truck, pictured in the ad with wooden stock racks. The ad talks about the new “Chevy 96-incher,” emphasizing a “compact” 96-inch length from the bumper to the back of the cab. Folks, that’s still 8 feet. The company played up the fact that the dimensions allowed the same-length body as before with an 8-inch shorter wheelbase, resulting in sharper turns and greater maneuverability.

“A new breed for ’67,” the ad reads. “Plain old horse sense built this one, as you’ll see at your Chevrolet dealer.”  

Obviously, you can still buy Chevy trucks, still made by General Motors. Finding one with a wooden livestock bed could be tough, though!

• Surge Bucketeer. Don’t expect to find the word “bucketeer” in Daniel Webster’s dictionary. Surge used the term to name its new milk transfer system that allowed you to transfer milk from a stanchion barn to the milk tank. You no longer needed to “waste time lugging pails.” Yes, this was 1967! The same ad notes you could opt for a complete pipeline milking system instead.

Three brothers formed Babson Bros. Co. in 1906. Surge dairy equipment was one of their ventures, but they also had divisions that made clothing, watches and other goods. Westphalia bought the company in 1998. The Surge name by itself continues primarily on water-softening equipment.

ONE-OF-A-KIND: Surge invented a one-of-a-kind name for a one-of-a-kind product. The Surge Bucketeer was offered in the Jan. 1, 1967, Indiana Prairie Farmer.

• New Idea manure spreaders. Avco/New Idea took out a full-page, two-color ad to promote a 60-day, midwinter sale on manure spreaders. You could get a PTO or ground-driven spreader, and choose from 70- to 180-bushel models at sale prices. Each model featured Penta-treated wood sides and bottom, and came with a full-year warranty. Flail-type, single-beater or cylinder/paddle models were available.

Agco would eventually acquire the New Idea brand. The name is no longer used, but Agco retains rights to the name.

• Kasco harrows. “You’ll buy Kasco harrows — if you know the truth.” That was the company’s slogan in 1967. The harrows pictured were primarily three-bar, spike-tooth harrows for disks and plows. Kasco still makes new farm machinery today, still outside Shelbyville, Ind. Its current lineup includes other items besides harrows, including specialty drills.  

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