Dick Kruse is all about collecting old tractors and fixing them up. Sometimes they're already fixed up when he buys them. While he has an off-farm business, the Crawfordsville collector donates a tractor a year to an ag fraternity somewhere in the U.S. so they can use it to make money for the group. He even delivers it to them.
His expertise has earned him the major role on the Pioneer Village committee at the Indiana State Fair – getting to decide what to do with donated tractors and implements. Some are displayed as they are. Some are marked for restoration. Some are beyond being restored – at least Kruse thought so.
"I thought this old spreader was in such sad shape that it just didn't make sense spending time and money trying to restore it," he said while showing visitors around the display of antique machinery at the 2012 Indiana State Fair. While the Coliseum may be under construction, Pioneer Village will be alive and well, with new equipment to show off and plenty of activities each day.
One energetic person decided he could prove Kruse wrong, so he began gathering parts to restore this vintage John Deere Model D manure spreader. It was produced from 1926 to 1932. For its time it featured what was thought to be advanced technology, including a tongue that could move from one position to another thanks to a racheting mechanism on the body of the spreader where the tongue attached.
The manure spreader was popular on many farms in its day. Very few survived until now. That's why Kruse said some of the volunteers eventually decided to give it a shot to restore this one so that Pioneer Village would have an example of this piece of history. Even Kruse admits he is surprised at how well the restoration effort turned out.