When Merrill Ward was 12 years old, he started buying discarded sandbox farm toys from neighborhood kids and restoring the toys back to original condition.
Now 73 years old, Merrill is still pursuing that hobby by collecting, customizing and scratch building odel farm toys in his favorite 1/16 scale. His most recent creation is a possible one-of-a-kind Massey Ferguson 4840 four-wheel-drive tractor.
Raised on a dairy and grain farm near Franklin in Johnson County, Ind., Merrill started collecting, restoring and building farm toys in 1955 when he was 12 years old, working in a small unused pantry in the farmhouse.
"I was a closet builder before the term 'closet collector' became popular," he jokes.
"Dad and I would go to a neighbor's house and I would see farm toys abandoned outside the sandbox. I started buying these toys from neighborhood kids and began rebuilding and restoring them," he says. One of his earlier acquistions was a John Deere 60, which he bought for $2. Merrill eventually collected 25 to 30 farm toys from other kids, all of which he still has in his collection. On one occasion, he almost acquired a Vindex Case L purchased for $3 until the boy's father nixed the deal! He's still looking!
To read the rest of this story, subscribe to TF at:
or buy the online version at:
by Luann Dart