A farmer and his toys
Miniature tractors a reminder of the past
By GARY BROCK
When Jerrold Fields takes his collection of tractors on the road, they are a sight to behold.
But his tractors are not real tractors, they are miniatures; a part of his life-long collection of toy farm equipment and machinery.
The Orient, Ohio, resident recent made available more than 30 of his collection of small scale tractors, trucks, combines and other equipment for a show at the Fayette County Historical Society Museum in Washington Court House.
“I don’t take them on the road very often,” Fields said in a recent interview. He has more than a hundred in his collection. “My cousin, Barbara Vance (with the Fayette County Historical Society) asked me to bring them to the museum for a display.”
A life-long farmer, Fields, 59, started collecting farm toys when he was a boy. But his “hobby” as a collector really started when he was in high school. All of the miniatures are either die cast or cast iron in the case of the really old ones.
“I have about 100 tractors, plus combines, trucks and other farm equipment,” he said. The oldest in his collection are from the 1910s, ‘20s and ‘30s. He said these cast iron ones have less detail and are more “rough” than the die cast ones from the 1950s and more recent.
Collecting toy and miniature tractors and farm equipment is a growing hobby in the United States. Over Labor Day, there was a major toy tractor/farm toy show in Hillsboro. Such farm toy shows take place almost every weekend across the country. There are also a number of organizations and clubs for collectors to gather and show off their collections.
Fields says he used to attend many of these shows, but doesn’t go to many of the shows these days, and is not active in any of the clubs. “With the Internet now, I mostly look online,” he said.
Why collect toy tractors?
Fields says it is a connection to his past.
“I like to have models representing the same tractors we had on our farm over the years,” he said. “I started with collecting those, and just branched off from there.”
Fields says he doesn’t have any immediate plans to take his toy tractor collection on the road again, but expects he will some time soon.
He enjoys seeing people enjoy the craftsmanship and fine work of the die cast tractors. It is a treasure he likes to share.
(Gary Brock is Editor-in-Chief of Acres.)