You can learn a lot from history. And you can learn about the history of agriculture by browsing through old issues of the Indiana edition of Prairie Farmer. You can tell a lot about what farming was like then just by looking at the advertisements. What were people buying? What products were on the market? Are those products or companies still around today?
Here is a look at just a few ads from a 1960s magazine. This is part of a continuing series of learning about the past by looking at what your granddads and dads saw when they thumbed through early editions of Prairie Farmer.
Learn through ads
• Case combines. “Cleaner grain in the tank — more acres per day with exclusive Case on-the-go controls.” That is the slogan J.I. Case used to attract attention. The featured combine in the black-and-white ad was the self-propelled Case 800, with 10-, 12- or 14-foot grain heads as options. Folks, they don’t make a new grain head that small today, as far as I know. It would go through most modern farm gates on the combine, without a trailer.
The ad also featured the new “Low-slung Case ’80” pull-type combine with a 32-bushel grain tank. J.I. Case and International Harvester merged in the mid-1980s before merging again with New Holland to form modern-day giant CNH. Today, Case IH combines feature rotors and grain tanks holding about 10 times that much grain, or more.
• Fox Super-6 forage harvester. This harvester featured six knives that cut cornstalks into nine different lengths, depending upon your preference. You could also buy a Fox Forage Box and unload 1.5 tons per minute into a feed bunk or silage blower. You could buy the Fox Forage Box and a Bunk Feeder for $884, f.o.b. at the factory, in 1960.
The factory was in Appleton, Wis. The company making Fox choppers was the Fox River Tractor Co., which started in 1919. Records show it only made about 20 tractors and became known for forage harvesting equipment instead. After multiple sales, the company was bought by Hiniker in 1986, and production of forest harvesters in Appleton ended.
• New Holland hay rake. “Rake cleaner — with greater tooth protection!” This ad wasn’t about going to the dentist! It was talking about protecting teeth on the New Holland 56 Rolobar rake from damage. In the “old days,” it was hard to find a hay rake that didn’t have teeth missing.
The ad claimed New Holland was “first in Grassland Farming.” That slogan established the company’s place in the industry. After New Holland, there was Ford New Holland. Today, there is CNH, with the New Holland name appearing on a line of tractors, painted blue from the company’s days as Ford New Holland.
STILL HOUSEHOLD NAME: Farmers still know the name New Holland. Today, the brand is used on far more than hay equipment.
• MoorMan’s. This company, founded in Quincy., Ill., was once a popular stopover for FFA chapters heading to Kansas City, Mo., for the National FFA Convention. The feed brand still operates, and there are facilities in Quincy, but it’s now part of ADM Animal Nutrition and known for Show-Tec show feeds for swine.
The June 4, 1960, ad put this headline under a picture of a farmer in overalls, standing in an outside concrete log with hogs next to a wooden red barn: “My complete hog feed costs only $52.37 per ton with MoorMan’s.” That caught people’s attention in 1960. Most people had at least a few hogs.
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