From butter churns to diesel tractors, the Museum's agricultural artifacts trace the story of Americans who work the land. Agricultural tools and machinery in the collections range from a John Deere plow of the 1830s to 20th-century cultivators and harvesters. The Museum's holdings also include overalls, aprons, and sunbonnets; farm photographs; milk cans and food jars; handmade horse collars; and some 200 oral histories of farm men and women in the South. Prints in the collections show hundreds of scenes of rural life. The politics of agriculture are part of the story, too, told in materials related to farm workers' unions and a group of artifacts donated by the family of the labor leader Cesar Chavez.
"Agriculture - Overview" showing 1 items.
- After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr developed a two-cylinder gasoline engine and set up their business in Charles City, Iowa. In 1903 the firm built fifteen tractors (a term coined by Hart and Parr), and the 14,000 pound #3 is the oldest surviving internal combustion engine tractor in the United States. The two-cylinder engine has a unique hit-and-miss firing cycle that produced 30 horsepower at the belt and 18 at the drawbar.
- The tractor worked on the George Mitchell farm near Charles City for twenty-three years. Realizing the historic importance of Hart-Parr #3, the Oliver Tractor Corporation (which had absorbed Hart-Parr) purchased the tractor and used it to demonstrate the quality of the firm's products. In 1960, Oliver made a gift of #3 to the Smithsonian.
- When it arrived at the National Museum of American History, it was painted solid black and did not have a canopy. Despite its unauthentic appearance, it remained on exhibit for years. In 2003 the Smithsonian agreed to a restoration plan, and a team from Greenville, Illinois, composed of Oliver and Sherry Schaeffer, John W. Tichenor, Doug Strawser, and Todd Stockwell restored #3 to its original color and fabricated a new canopy. The Smithsonian's Larry Jones coordinated the work. Restoration was funded by the Hart-Parr/Oliver Collectors Association.
- The restoration project was fully documented both by photographs and by a journal kept by John W. Tichenor. When #3 appeared at the I & I Antique Tractor festival in Penfield, Ill., in 2003, oral history interviews were done with members of the Mitchell family, the Hart family, and the key people who did the restoration work.
- Currently on loan
- Date made
- company co-owner
- Hart, Charles W.
- Parr, Charles H.
- Mitchell, George
- Hart Parr Tractor Company
- Wrang Tang Liniment Co.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center