Note: This feature is in the Feb. TF 2019 issue
As a longtime farm toy collector, Pat Smith treasures the friendships he's formed as much as the treasure trove of toys that he's collected over the years.
"The best part of the hobby is the people that I've met. I've met some really good people and a lot of them have been friends for many years who I stay in pretty close touch with, whether it's out here in the Northwest, or in the Midwest of the Eastern United States. I've gotten to know people from all over the United States and even some from around the world from going to the toy show in Dyersville, Iowa, every year. It's kind of like a large social event. It really is fun," he described.
Now living in the Seattle, Wash., area, Pat grew up on a dairy farm where the family raised and milked registered Holstein cattle near Eden in east central Wisconsin.
"Growing up on a farm, I had farm toys as a kid, as did most of my friends and neighbors at the time. That's what kids played with back then. They're the old Earth toys that we're now collecting as the old historic pieces," he said.
Among his current collection is one of the original toys he owned as a child, an Oliver 1800 tractor that was purchased at a local dealership where his father bought some of the farm's tractors and equipment. The rest of Pat's toys were given away as he grew older.
"I really didn't foresee any future in needing or wanting them," he said. "The hobby at that time, in my mind, I didn't even know it existed. I didn't realize that I'd someday later be collecting them."
When Pat was younger, the family farm was loyal to Allis-Chalmers, which was based in Milwaukee, Wis., at the time, although there were other colors being used as well, including several New Holland implements.
"Initially, my father had a fair amount of Allis-Chalmers equipment and his father liked Case tractors," Pat said. "We always had Oliver plows on the farm. In the Midwest, it seemed no matter what color tractor you drove, it always pulled an Oliver plow, because they were always considered the best plows of the time."
Pat's dad was a member of the bowling team sponsored by the local Oliver dealership, which eventually drew the family to purchase the farm's first Oliver tractor. It also led Pat to have an unusual item in his collection.
Want to read the rest of the story? It's available in the Feb. TF 2019 magazine!
Download here: FEBRUARY TT&C 2019
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