This was the first year for the Land of Lincoln Expo and it went off with a bang. Bill Miller pulled out all the stops and along with a wonderful group of sponsors the show was a great success.
Over 300 tractors of all makes and models came to the first ever show. There were some amazing tractors, and the show was heavy on John Deere with tractors making their way from Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and beyond. If I recall Bill said there were visitors from either 15 or 18 states!
There were construction Deeres, hicrop Deeres and more. Some of my favorite Deere sightings were the attachments that made the Deere’s special. One tractor, a late 1920’s to mid-1930’s GP standard beaner had a very cool light that advertised that the tractor could work at night. The light was called a Prest-O-Lite and the line beneath the owner’s sign stated, “Gas Lighting, the best light for tractors.”
I love the drama of the advertising that says, “Darkness falls. The job is not quite finished. It looks like rain tomorrow. But with Prest-O-Lite on your tractor (the same one you use on your truck) you can finish the job today.”
There was also a very neat anhydrous applicator attached to one of the Deere tractors, it was a 930 series applicator and they made a cool display using a window to show the operator manual and directions for the NH3 applicator.
Friday night of the show there was a Deere Friends Dinner that we attended. The dinner and meeting was held at the Elks Club which appropriately enough was a former John Deere Dealership. What I loved was they played a film with the Star Spangled Banner, said a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. While we all dined Brian Holst, Historic Equipment Manager for Deere & Company shared a presentation about John Deere and the Men that Moved His Company. He had a few pieces of information that I had never heard before like information about Gilpin Moore. While I have heard of the Gilpin plow, I didn’t know that the man had 35 patents on horse drawn equipment and that he threatened to leave the company when he didn’t feel he was being paid enough. Deere stepped up to the plate and made it worth his while to stay.
Brain said that Edward Parkhurst, a watchmaker was instrumental in engine igniters. William Butterworth, who was married to John Deere’s grand daughter, Katherine Deere combined the branch houses for Deere & Co. making the company offer a complete equipment line. Charles Deere Wiman, who started on the shop floor, was also trained as a civilian pilot and served in both WWI and WWII.
Brian Holst was also responsible for the amazing John Deere 101 Experimental tractor that was at the show. This National show had to meet certain criteria for the Deere archives to allow it to be on display. In an upcoming article in Green Magazine, read the story of this amazing tractor. Likewise, Dan Thomas brought the recently finished Bathtub D to the show. This amazing tractor’s main case was found by construction workers doing some landscaping during the 1992 JD Expo. A collector bought the main case and Dan, along with help from some professionals completed the restoration and the tractor was debuted at this exciting new show that will be back again in 2019. Look for an upcoming article in my column Wrenching Tales in Farm World for details about the Bathtub D!
For more information about the show, log ontohttps://www.facebook.com/LandofLincolnExpo/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE. Hope you made it to the show, if not, plan to come again in two years!