Tractors are neat. Ask a man about his tractor and he'll have a story to tell you, whether he's a lifetime farmer or a guy who just learned to drive one. Using a tractor is the powerful way to get things done on a big scale, and that's a real attraction. Collectors Weekly has an article on tractors, their history, utility, and plenty of pictures, They also talked to Lee Klancher, who just published a coffee table book about International Harvester tractors. He tells about how the humble tractor changed the way we live.
“The part about tractors that’s really interesting to me,” Klancher says, “is the role they played in our society, transforming it from primarily agrarian to urban. In the mid-19th century, most of the U.S. populace was farming. By 1993, the government actually stopped counting farmers as a unique population group. Today, the world we live is incredibly urban, the rural way of life is essentially gone. That’s an enormous shift, and tractors enabled it. Without the tractor, without the mechanization of the farm, a larger percentage of the population would still have to be out there farming. I don’t think the dot-com revolution would have happened without tractors,” he adds. “If you look at the Internet, that’s the product of an industrialized nation.”
He also talks about the evolution of farm tractors, and the people who actually collect tractors, keeping up to 300 of them safe inside for posterity. There's more tractor porn at Collectors Weekly.
(Image credit: Lee Klancher, Red Tractors: 1958-2013)