On our Fordson tractor, there are parts from nearly every version of the Fordson that was sold on. Most of the parts are from the 1918 - 1919 Fordson, so we can safely assume that the original tractor is from that era.
It was not uncommon for farmers to take parts from broken down tractors to fix a broken part on another tractor. This is clearly what happened to our tractor.
The gas tank, the left rear wheel, and the drawbar have all been replaced with ‘newer’ parts from different tractors.
This tractor was especially difficult to accurately date because its serial number is missing. There should be a plate with the serial and model number on the body of the tractor near the steering column or on the engine block, but it is nowhere to be found. Part numbers are still visible, however it is difficult to use those numbers to date the machine due to limited information available and the swapping of parts between tractors.
All Fordson Model F tractors that came off the assembly line were painted grey on the body and had red wheels. Our tractor was repainted, but is not the original colour or paint design. None of the engine parts are seized, and with a bit of TLC, this tractor will still run.
The Fordson ushered in the age of tractors. Its goal was to enable average, hardworking farmers to buy a tractor at an affordable price that they could maintian by themselves. It retailed for $750 in 1918, and the price continued to go down as production became more efficient.
Although the Fordson was a quality tractor, it had its difficulties. The first versions of the tractor had the worm gear, which provides torque to the back wheels, directly under the seat. After operating the tractor for a while, the heat produced from the worm gear would become unbearable to the driver. This was fixed by changing the position of the worm gear. Unfortunately, that caused an even worse problem, because the main gear that drives the Fordson changed position, so did the centre of gravity for the tractor. The front end had far less weight on it than the back and resulted in a very unbalanced, tippy tractor. When farmers were plowing or harrowing in the fields, if they hit a rock or stump, in an instant, the tractor would flip head over tail backwards, often injuring or killing the operator. This lead the Fordson to be infamously known as “The Widow Maker.”
When World War I broke out in 1914, many people from Kneehill County bravely enlisted to fight overseas; Eber and Emery Parker were among them. The two young brothers, compelled by a sense of duty, honour, and adventure, joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916. Writing optimistic letters home to their sister, the two local boys found themselves amid gunfire and gore. Unprepared for the reality of war, the letters of optimism soon changed to harsh realism as the brothers witnessed the horrors on the front lines. Back home in Twining there was little the family could do but write letters and send care packages as they waited and longed for the two boys to come home. Eber and Emery were both killed in battle in 1917, and these 46 letters are on display as a reminder of their sacrifice.
In 1891, George Blickensderfer invented a small portable writing machine that featured the ability to change the type styles at will. This unique design formed the basis of a typewriter manufacturing business that lasted almost 30 years!
Source: The Virtual Typewriter Museum
The Blickensderfer No. 7 saw its first production date in 1897 and became the deluxe version of the basic design. The No. 7 model was superseded in 1908 by the No. 8 model. Our Blickensderfer is a 1901 No. 7 with a DHIATENSOR or “Scientific” keyboard design. This keyboard design was believed to be more efficient than the QWERTY keyboard. Later, Blickensderfer produced typewriters with a QWERTY keyboard and so buyers of this device were required to sign a form stating that the buyer knows he chooses the inefficient keyboard type.
The Blickensderfer was a very popular typewriter in the early days, weighing only 5 pounds compared with a Remington of the same era that weighed 45 pounds. The most appealing advantage to the Blickensderfer was the cost of only $39.00 while a Remington cost $100.00, that’s more than it would cost to buy a new buggy!
Prior to the twentieth century blue was the colour used to symbolize purity, not white. So why do brides wear white? Queen Victoria needed to make a statement as the leader of her country and for her wedding dress chose a large piece of handmade Honiton lace, a decision made in order to stimulate and support the dying lace industry in the machine-driven Industrial Revolution. The rest of the dress then became a background to showcase the lace chosen; white was chosen as the best colour. After Queen Victoria’s widely publicized wedding, a huge increase in the number of brides wearing white was seen; however, as white was still an expensive and valued fabric, despite the rise of the middle class and more expendable income at the time, many still could not afford to wear a dress only once and so it was not uncommon to see women wearing their best dress (of any colour) for their wedding day. Why was white associated with purity? By the twentieth century the white gown was symbolic of both Christening gowns and Confirmation gowns, which gave the white wedding dress its symbol of purity. Though wearing white is an old tradition today, it often does not hold the same significance that it would during the 1900’s. Mary Smail’s wedding dress choice would have been heavily influence by the trend and the pressure to wear white as a symbol of purity. Her dress was white and made of cotton and muslin and no doubt looked beautiful as she walked down the aisle to marry Axel Anderson in 1906.
Used from 1921 to 1990, this brass school bell was rung at 8:45 every morning to call students to school, which started at 9:00. The schoolhouse in which the bell was first used had been built in 1914 and was called the Three Hills Village School. The bell was donated to the museum in 1997 by the Golden Hills Region School Division #15, care of Ken MacLean. Students who came early to school were often allowed to ring the bell themselves, especially while janitor Paul Klingle, a returned World War II soldier, was in charge of it.
Back in 2017 our staff wrote a new post each week about a different artifact from our Museum collection. We no longer keep up this tradition as we have moved on to other projects, but we have left them on our site for interest's sake. Enjoy this sneak peek of our Museum and make sure to stop on by to see more!