Each time they change displays at the National Farm Toy Museum I look forward to visiting and checking out the items in the exhibit and learning new agricultural history. At the National Farm Toy Show in November I perused the latest exhibit “Fordson to New Holland, 1895 to today”.
I learned that the New Holland company actually began in the town of New Holland, Pennsylvania when Abrah Zimmerman opened a machine shop that later expanded to selling farm items to local farmers. Zimmerman hit on a huge success when he developed a freeze proof engine and the company grew from there.
I learned that innovator Edwin B. Nolt developed a product that helped revitalize New Holland’s economy after the Depression. Edwin B. Nolt grew up working on his father’s custom threshing and baling machine. He developed a self tying pickup baler that didn’t need an entire threshing team, but one man on a tractor and one boy on a baler. This innovation saved labor as well as revising baling.
During my visit I saw the history and timeline of the company changes that outlined how New Holland and Fordson joined up and later Fiat, Case, Sperry Rand and others intertwined into one huge agricultural giant. Along the way Amanda Schwartz, the curator at the museum, and the staff there using items primarily from Jerry and Kathy Orcutt’s collection offer a wonderful pairing of toys and collectibles that offers up a visual image of the history.
I love to see collectibles from equipment brands especially totally non-related items used purely for promotional purposes like the ash tray, decals, etc. The display offers a wonderful variety of toys from early fragile plastic toys to the durable 1/12th scale cast Ford toys.
This exhibit provides insight into American innovation and how a handful of ideas can create an industry or change the direction of a way of life. If you get the chance, the exhibit is up until 2017 stop by and check it out. The National Farm Toy Museum is located at 1110 16th Avenue Ct. S.E. Dyersville, Iowa 52040. Call (563) 875-2727 for more information or log onto https://www.nationalfarmtoymuseum.com/.