Behlen Manufacturing Company (Part IV): The Rest of the Story

       The Behlen Manufacturing Company Part IV:

The Rest of the Story

by

Brian Wayne Wells

As published in the March/April 2003 issue of

Belt Pulley Magazine

 

Following World War II, the Behlen Manufacturing Company of Columbus, Nebrfaska, marketed its own supplemental transmission called the “Hi-Speed gear box.”  (See the article called “The Behlen Company—Part II: The Hi-Speed Gear Box” posted on this website and published in the November/December 2002 issue of Belt Pulley, Vol 15, No. 6, p. 8.)  The Hi-Speed gear box modernized and updated many pre-war Farmall Model F-20 tractors and allowed then to be used profitably in the post-war era.  One example was the Farmall F-20 bearing the serial number 127631.  (See the article called “The Behlen Company—Part III: 1974—the Soybean Year” also posted on this website and published in the January/February 2003 issue of Belt Pulley, Vol 16, No. 1.)

Sales of the Hi-Speed gear box had been so successful that the Behlen Manufacturing Company soon found that it was ordering gears from wholesalers in Chicago by the truck load.  The management of the company concluded that it would be less expensive for the Company to start cutting, hardening and grinding, their own gears.  Hobbing, grinding and heat treating equipment were all obtained and installed at the factory facilities in Columbus, Nebraska.  (Walter D. Behlen, The Story of the Behlen Manufacturing Company [a speech given at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska on October 11, 1968] p. 3.)  However, production of the Hi-Speed gear box was destined to be limited.  It could not have been otherwise.  Sooner or later, continued upgrading of the pre-war tractors would become unnecessary because older tractors would be replaced on the average family farm by new improved tractors that were already fitted with modern transmissions that would not need upgrading.  However as the Hi-Speed gear box faded as a product for the Company, another new product for farm tractors and road graders arose—the hydraulic power steering unit.

Throughout the 1950’s the International Harvester Company had been locked in a struggle to remain in first place in the sales of farm equipment.  Although between 1945 and 1960, sales of farm tractors in the United States had doubled and sales of combines had tripled, International Harvester had been loosing market share in the farm equipment business.  (Barbara Marsh A Corporate Tragedy: The Agony of International Harvester Company [Doubleday and Co.: Garden City, New York, 1985] p. 101.)  By 1958, International Harvester would be in second place behind its chief rival Deere and Company.  (Ibid. p. 94.)  One of the main reasons for this was that while International Harvester was dissipating its energies and resources on forays into the refrigerator and freezer market and by investing heavily in the very small tractor market—the Farmall Cub, John Deere was continually improving its large tractors—its core product.  In 1954, John Deere introduced power steering on its large tractors.  Caught behind on this advance in technology, International Harvester sought to quickly add power steering to large tractors.  International Harvester turned to the Behlen Company to supply the power steering units that they required for installation on their new tractors—the Model 350, Model 450 and Model 650 introduced in 1956.  Development of the power steering unit had cost the Behlen Company $50,000.00 Sales of the power steering unit to the upgrade market only had resulted in a loss of $20,000.00 to the Behlen Company.  However, International Harvester’s first order for power steering units turned things around for the Behlen Company  and brought $268,000.00 to the Behlen Company.  Two years later the net profit derived from the power steering units along was $750,000.00.  (Walter D. Behlen, The Story of the Behlen Manufacturing Company, p. 4.)

Still grain systems remained the flagship product of the Behlen Company.  The Company had come a long way with its production of grain systems.  As noted previously, in the period of time immediately following the Second World War, galvanized wire mesh for the building of round corn cribs had been so difficult to obtain that the Behlen Company had launched off into its own welding and galvanizing of the wire mesh.  (See the article called “The Behlen Company: Part I” in the September/October 2002 issue of Belt Pulley, Vol. 15, No. 5, p. 10.)  The wire rod, itself, for making the wire mesh panels, had also been difficult for the Behlen Company to obtain domestically in the immediate post war era.  Thus, the Behlen Company had to import its first wire rod from Europe rather than buying from United States sources.  The making of Behlen corn cribs continued to be the Company’s best sales product until 1960 when grain bins for shelled corn began taking over the crib market.  (Ibid. p. 3.)  Construction of the corn cribs and later grain bins along with the grain dryers and entire grain systems required a great deal of steel, stainless steel and aluminum bolts.  Once again to lower costs of production, in 1956, the Behlen Company expanded its own production and manufacture of bolts to include stainless steel and aluminum bolts.  (Ibid. p. 4.)

In 1950, the Behlen Company began production of its own frameless steel designed buildings.  In 1955 of these Behlen steel metal frameless structures were included as part of an atomic bomb test at Yucca Flat, Nevada, conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission.  Located three miles from the explosion site one of the Behlen structures stood up to the full force of the atomic explosion without sustaining any damage whatsoever.  The other structure had only small amounts of damage although it was located only one mile from ground zero.  (Ibid. p. 6.)  In 1958, the Behlen Company began to manufacture of the “Dubl-Panl” frameless roof system.  This roof system allowed for building with clear spans of up to 1,000 feet.  The 15,000 seat basketball stadium at the University of Albuquerque, New Mexico and an 85,000 square foot Cadillac garage built in Los Angeles in 1968 are examples of this Behlen Dubl-Panl frameless construction.  (Ibid. p. 5.)

In 1962, the Behlen Company engaged in one of its most ambitious sales promotions.  The Company set up one of their buildings at the Seattle World’s Fair.  Inside there was an exhibit of $1,000,000.00 in silver dollars.  This 30-ton exhibit had traveled all the way from the mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Seattle in two trucks owned by the Behlen Company accompanied by seven automobiles furnished free by the Chevrolet and Cadillac companies, filled with Pinkerton security guards.  The trip took thirteen days to complete.  The Hartford Insurance Company insured the million dollar hoard for the duration of the Fair for only $300.00.  The promotion at the Seattle World’s Fair was successful, however, as four million persons passed through the Behlen Company exhibit during the six months of the Fair—more than any other exhibit at the Fair.

By 1968 employment at the Behlen Company was employing 1000 men and women with a payroll of over $5,000,000.00 per year.  The Behlen facilities themselves in Columbus, Nebraska have been expanded to a total of 14 acres, with 600,000 square feet of heated and air-conditioned office floor space, including carpeted one room that is longer than a foot ball field and half as wide, filled with desks and file cabinets.  The Company was paying $12,000.00 per month for the 200 telephones located at their factory facilities and paid out $6,000.00 per day in taxes of all kinds.  The Company was using about $45,000.00 of raw materials each day, but sales averaging about $80,000.00 per day in every state in the union and in many foreign countries.  The Behlen Company had its own fleet of 36 diesel trucks which once covered 360,000 miles in a single month.  Furthermore, the truck fleet annually won either first or second place from the National Safety Council for highway safety in the 1960s.

Fred Behlen, father of the brothers, retired from the management of the company in 1968.  On March 14, 1969, the Behlen family decided to sell out and the Behlen Company was sold to the Wickes Company of Saginaw, Michigan.  On January 29, 1973, the Behlen Company was absorbed completely into the Wickes Company and became a division of that company.  The Wickes Company was a builder of metal fabricated buildings including grain storage units.  However, the Wickes Company was struggling and it was believed by the management of the company that acquisition of the Behlen Company would help the Wickes Company recover from its woes.  In 1982, Tony Raimondo was hired as General Manager of the Behlen Division of the Wickes Company.  By this time, the Wickes Company was in Chapter 11 re-organization under the Bankruptcy Act.  With active leadership at the helm of the Behlen Division and with that division pegged as one of the “core businesses” it was felt that the Behlen Division might still save the parent company—Wickes.  It might have worked too.  After all it was a time when grain reserves in the United States was again piling up requiring the building of more grain storage structures.

However, high amounts of grain reserves were not good for farm prices.  In the mid-1980’s the family farms across the nation faced a crisis.  (This crisis is brought home in a dramatic way in the 1984 movie Country starring Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard.)  Political pressure brought to bear on the Reagan Administration by the farm protests, required the Reagan Administration to reverse its policy and recommend to Congress an ambitious new program of government support for the family farm.  This program was called the Payment in Kind (P.I.K.) program.  The P.I.K. program had the effect of idling 50% of the United States’ farmland overnight.  Reduced production of grain and corn allowed the prices for these commodities to rise.  However,, with less grain stored in reserves, sales of grain storage bins by the Behlen Division fell from $50 million to $25 million dollars.

Instead of lifting the Wickes Corporation financially, the Behlen Division became a financial drag on the Corporation.  Wickes began looking for a buyer for the Behlen Division.  It was either sell the Division or the Division would have to close its doors.  No buyers for the Behlen Division were forthcoming.  Tony Raimondo and some of other Wickes management officials felt that the Behlen Division was artificially under-valued because of the temporary down turn in the market for new grain storage systems.  They had confidence that the market for grain systems would restore itself and the Behlen Division would then rise in value back up to normal levels.  The only way to save the Behlen Division, they felt, was for the management, itself to buy the division from Wickes.  Tony Raimondo and the other management officials of Behlen Division offered to buy the Division themselves under a “leveraged buyout” (L.B.O.) plan.  (A similar attempted management L.B.O. of the R.J.R.-Nabisco Company is portrayed in the 1990 book and in the 1993 movie called Barbarians at the Gate.  (Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, Barbarians at the Gate [Harper and Row Pub.: New York, 1990].)  An L.B.O. is the purchase of a company (or, in this case, a division of a company) for little or no money put forth by the proposed new owners.  Payment for the company is arranged through investment banks putting forth the money with the new company itself serving as collateral for the loans.

In this case, the first step for Tony and the other proposed owners was to convince a bank or a series of banks to finance their plan to purchase the Behlen Division and to set it up as an independent company.  The proposed future owners had the advantage of already being the current management of the Behlen Division.  They knew the Division’s capabilities.  They pointed out to the bankers they solicited, that the division had a 850,000 square foot facility in Columbus, Nebraska, and that only about 30% of the capacity of that facility was being used.  The owners said “we (will) grow the company by growing out of debt”(from a 1992 interview with Tony Raimondo by Mike Robert, printed in the September, 1992 issue of The Strategist magazine).  They stressed that the recent down turn in the market for grain systems was only a temporary apparition and that the Behlen Division was drastically under valued at the current time.  Furthermore, the proposed new owners set forth their plan for the proposed new Behlen Company goal to make additional acquisitions in order to diversify into new markets and by so doing reach 80 to 90% utilization of their Columbus facility.  In 1983, the Wickes Company hadmerged its Farmaster Division with the Behlen Division.  Thus the proposed buyout also included the Farmaster Division.  Farmaster was a manufacture of steel gates and ranch coral panels (From an article on page 1 of the summer, 1996 issue of the employee newspaper called Behlen World).  Farmaster was doing about $8,000,000 in sales by itself.  (Ibid.)  This meant some ready-made market diversity for the proposed independent Behlen Company already existed at the time of the actual sale.  As anyone who has applied for a commercial loan, knows,  lenders impose strict conditions on their financing of projects to protect the risks they are taking.  In corporate financing, these conditions can take the form of restrictions on management’s freedom to make decisions.  Most importantly, corporate lenders for L.B.O.’s will agree to finance a buyout only if the actual price paid falls within an acceptable to the lender.

Thus, the second step was to get the Wickes Company board to agree to the deal at a price that fell in that range.  Of course the Wickes Company board, as the seller, won’t know exactly what was agreed to by the potential buyers and their banks.  They can only hear the initial offering price, suppose that it is a “low ball” price and guess as to what the range of prices agreed to might be.  The Wickes board was duty-bound to obtain as much as they possibly can for the Behlen Division because they were acting only on behalf of the owners of the Wickes Company.  Thus, there is usually a certain amount of negotiation that goes on over the price.  In this case, however the lack of any other buyers and the only alternative to the L.B.O. being the closing down of the Behlen Division, the advantage was clearly with Tony Raimondo and the other management officials as buyers.  The deal was concluded and the independent Behlen Company reappeared for the first time since 1969.

True to their promise to their corporate lenders, the new Behlen Company acquired Berico Company in 1985.  (Ibid.)  Berico was the manufacturer of large commercial grain dryers.  Berico’s operations were relocated to the Behlen facilities in Columbus, Nebraska.  The purchase of Berico added another $3,000,000 in sales to the Behlen Company.  In 1987, the Hutchinson Steel Operations Division of Farmland Industries was purchased by Behlen.  (Ibid.)  This acquisition added another $6,000,000 in sales.  (Ibid.)  This was followed by the 1989 acquisition of the Big Valley Company adding another $5,000,000 in sales and the 1990 acquisition of W.S.I. (a Division of the Simplot Company) which added another $1,000,000 in sales.  (Ibid.)

By 1992, the Behlen Company was only one of eight companies still in the grain bin business, whereas in 1983 there had been 21 such companies (from the 1992 interview with Tony Raimondo cited above).  However, the Tony Raimondo management team was not done growing the Behlen Company yet.  In 1993, they acquired the Universal Division of the Universal Company which added another $35,000,000 to the sales of the company.  (From the 1996 issue of Behlen World cited above.)  The acquisitions of the Behlen Company brought the company very close to its goal of $100,000,000 in sales.  Additionally, the capacity of the Columbus plant was brought back up to the desired range of 80 to 90% of utilization (the 1992 Tony Raimondo interview cited above).  At this time, the company also invested in some retooling inside their Columbus plant by purchasing a $450,000 Optishear machine which had to capability of simultaneously working on all products from all the business units of the Behlen Company operating out of the Columbus factory.  (Ibid.)

In 1994, the Behlen Company purchased the Agri-Engineering Company, a plastics company,which added another $3,000,000 in sales to the Behlen Company.  (From the 1996 issue of Behlen World cited above.)  Agri-Engineering was then merged with Behlen’s own Agri-Plastics Division, which had been formed in 1985, and the division was then renamed Behlen Engineered Plastics or B.E.P.  (From a 1994 advertising brochure called Businesses of Behlen p. 15).  Also in 1994, Inc Magazine awarded the Behlen Company its national award for “Turn Around Team of the Year.” (Ibid., p. 2.)

Walter Behlen lived long enough to see his company return as an independent entity and still bearing his family name.  However, Walter Behlen died on Tuesday July 26, 1994.  Of the three Behlen brothers that had originally founded the Company only Gilbert Behlen survived following the death of Walter in 1994.  Mike Behlen had predeceased Walter.

The Company, meanwhile, continued its acquisitions.  In 1996, the Company purchased Inland Southern Company of Cullman, Alabama.  (From the 1996 issue of Behlen World cited above.)  Inland then became the Inland Buildings Division of the Behlen Company.  Today, the Inland Division of the Behlen Company currently builds the successors to the early Behlen grain storage structures.  Inland advertises that its buildings can be tailored to standup to the varying conditions of any area of North America, whether it be 90 pounds per square foot of snow or 185 mile an hour hurricane force winds.  (The Businesses of Behlen [A brochure published by the Behlen Co.] p. 9.)

Meanwhile, the old 1938 Farmall F-20 bearing the serial number 127631 which had been fitted with the Behlen High-Speed Gear Box was finally reaching the end of its working career.  No. 127631 had helped out the farming operation of Robert and Lorraine (Hanks) Westfall at a crucial time.  (See the article called “The Behlen Company—Part III: The Soybean Year” in the January/February 2003 issue of Belt Pulley, Vol 16, No. 1.)  The old pre-war tractor had certainly proved to have a productive life much beyond other F-20s and, indeed, beyond that of other pre-World War II tractors made by other manufacturers.  Needless to say the upgrades that had been performed on No. 127631 over the course of its life with different owners had acted to extend the life of the tractor.  Indeed the tractor was to have one additional small upgrade.  An upholstered seat cushion with a back rest from a Minneapolis-Moline U or Z was installed on tractor in place of the metal pan seat.  This seat cushion was mounted on the Monroe seat support frame containing the Monroe spring and shock absorber.

The one member of the Westfall family who had the most hours of operation on No. 127631 was Diane Westfall, who had operated the tractor in the field along side her father who was operating the Ford Major.  However, time had passed.  Diane graduated from high school in June of 1978.  The F-20 was retired to the grove on the Westfall farm in 1978 and was replaced in the farming operation by other, more modern tractors, including an Oliver 77 Row Crop.

While in high school, Diane had begun dating Rodney Chapek, a boy from a neighboring farm in the Dexter community.  On occasion, when Rodney came to the Westfall farm, he would see No. 127631 sitting out in the grove.  Being interested at an early age in the restoration of old farm tractors, Rodney would make sure a can was placed over the exhaust pipe and would turn the starting crank of the engine to keep the pistons of the engines from getting stuck.  However, years passed and Rodney and Diane were married on May 29, 1982 and they moved onto their own farm in the same Dexter neighborhood.  They began a family of their own, a family which would, eventually, contain three children—Adam Lee born on June 29, 1983, Allison Nichole born on March 23, 1986 and Jacob Daniel born on October 8, 1989.  No. 127631 was neglected.  The can over the exhaust of No. 127631, rusted through and rain and snow invaded the manifold and the pistons of the engine and the pistons rusted tight.

On January 13, 1992, Robert Westfall suddenly passed away.  Lorraine continued to live on the Westfall farm and rented out the farm land.  In the summer of 1994 the Wells Family Farmalls contracted to buy the 1938 F-20 sitting in the grove on the Westfall farm as a restoration project.  Marilyn (Mrs. Wayne) Wells is the sister of Lorraine Westfall.  In a sense, then, the tractor would stay in the family.  The Wells family had restored other Farmall tractors, including a 1937 F-20—Serial No. 71355.  (It is intended that No. 71355 will be the subject of another article at a later date.)  However, No 127631 is special because this 1938 F-20 would be the first tractor restored by Wells Family Farmalls that had actually been used by a member of the family in farming operations.

In addition to having a stuck engine, the right rear wheel was also stuck.  The tractor had to be pulled up onto the trailer by use of a “come-along”-the right rear wheel sliding all the way.  Dave Preuhs of LeSueur, Minnesota was secured to haul the No. 127631 from the Westfall farm to the Wells home in LeSueur, Minnesota.  Once restoration work was commenced on No. 127631 during Christmas of 1994, it was found that the right wheel was stuck because of the brake shoes had become rusted tight to the drum of the right brake.  (The beginning of the restoration of the No. 127631 can be seen in the Second hour portion of Tape #13 of the International Harvester Promotional Movies.)  New brake shoes were obtained from Rice Equipment, of 20 North Sheridan Road, Clarion, Pennsylvania  16214-1216, Tel. (814) 226-9200.  Over haul of the magneto was performed by Robert Riebel of Rural Route 2, Box 163, LeSueur, Minnesota  56058-9746, Tel. (507) 665-2868.  The carburetor of No. 127631 was overhauled by Corwin (Corky) Groth of 24880 145th Ave., Eldridge, IA  52748-9622, Tel. (329) 285-7009.

New pistons and sleeves were obtained from the late Jim Ellis of Ellendale, Minnesota.  (Regular readers of the Belt Pulley magazine will remember that Jim Ellis and his three-bottom McCormick-Deering Little Genius plow are mentioned, at length, in the article called “The M. & W. Company Part III: Restoration of the Clark-Christenson Super M and the Jim Ellis Plow” contained in the March/April 1998 issue of Belt Pulley.)  Additionally, cast iron rear wheels with 36” rims for rubber tires were purchased from Jim Ellis.  When these rims were mounted with new 12.4 x 36” tires with 45˚ lugs and when the rims and cast iron centers were exchanged for the cut-down steel wheels on No. 127631, the tractor took on the appearance of a tractor that had come from the factory with rubber tires.

New cylinder rings were also obtained from Rice Equipment.  Overhaul of the engine was begun in the spring of 1995, at Denzer’s Valley Ag shop in LeSueur, Minnesota and was completed in August of 1995.  During the summer of 1996, No. 127631 was re-painted and properly decaled to be ready for the 1996 LeSueur County Pioneer Power Show which was to host the summer convention of the Minnesota chapter of the International Harvester Collectors Club.  The 2003 LeSueur Pioneer Power Show will again serve as host the Minnesota chapter of the International Harvester Collectors Club.  No. 127631 will be one of the exhibits at that show and will be exhibited with a plow that has been matched to the tractor.

Because No. 127631 was intended to be a working part of the field demonstrations at the Pioneer Power Show, it was required that the engine be able to not only run but that it be able of operated under a load as if the engine were new.  The favorite way of placing any tractor under a load on the LeSueur Pioneer Power Grounds is to be a part of the plowing demonstrations at the annual show.  For best operation during the plowing demonstrations each tractor needs to be paired with a plow of its own which is properly “tuned” to the particular tractor.  “Tuning the plow” deals with adjustments made to the hitch of the plow to allow for a straight line, both vertically and horizontally, from the center of draft on the tractor to the center of load on the plow.  (A very good visual presentation of the importance of these vertical and horizontal adjustments is contained in the 1943 movie called “Hitching and Belting Techniques” contained in John Deere Service Day Movies, available on VHS video tape [Tape No. 90-2] from the Two Cylinder Club, P.O. Box 10, Grundy Center, Iowa  50638-0010.

Since the 1937 F-20 (Serial No. 71355) had already been paired with a the McCormick-Deering Little Genius two-bottom plow, known as the Delmar Trebesch plow, No. 127631 needed to be paired to a different Little Genius plow.  (The restoration of the Delmar Trebesch plow is featured in an article called “The McCormick-Deering Little Genius” contained in the September/October 1994 issue of Belt Pulley magazine.)  The pistons which had been obtained from Jim Ellis and which had been installed in No. 127631 were the optional high compression style pistons.  With these optional high compression pistons it was expected that No. 127631 would develop slightly more horsepower than an identical F-20–No. 71355—fitted with standard equipment pistons.  Thus, No. 127631 could be matched with a slightly larger plow than the Delmar Trebesch pre-war plow with its 14” bottoms.  As related in the article called The M. & W. Company Part III” cited above, Wells Family Farmalls had purchased the Jim Ellis three-bottom Little Genius plow together with another two-bottom Little Genius plow with 16” bottoms.

This 2-16 Little Genius plow had been owned by late Jim Schaper of Bricelyn, Minnesota.  Jim’s parents, Ray and Verona (Labbs) Schaper operated a 240 acre farm near Bricelyn, Minnesota.  They raised soybeans, corn and sugar beets.  The farm had no livestock, save a few chickens which were kept for the family’s own use.  The Shaper family farmed with an Oliver Model 70 tractor, which was used to pull the Little Genius plow.  The family also had an Oliver 60 which was used predominately for cultivating the soybeans, corn and sugar beets.  Ray purchased both of these tractors new from the local Oliver dealership—Yaeger Implement in Blue Earth, Minnesota.  Ray and Verona continued operating the farm until the 1970s, when they retired from farming.  At this time Jim Schaper took over the farming operations from his parents.  By this time Jim had married Ruth Leach and together they had started a family that would eventually include five children—a daughter Trish, sons Jeff and Mike, another daughter Tami and finally a son Bryan.  Jim continued farming until 1986 when he sold out.  At the 1986 auction, the two-bottom Little Genius plow with 16” bottoms was purchased by Jim Ellis.  Held back from the auction were the Oliver 60 and the Oliver 70.  Jim intended to restore the Oliver 70 and had actually begun the restoration when he suddenly died of a heart attack on July 19, 1999.  Currently, Ruth continues to live on the home farm where the family still has the two Oliver tractors that had first been purchased by Ray Schaper.  Jim Schaper’s sons have pledged to complete the restoration of the Oliver 70 which was begun by their father.

Meanwhile, the Jim Schaper McCormick-Deering Little Genius plow was purchased from Jim Ellis by Wells Family Farmalls in April of 1995.  As noted above, the 2-16 Jim Schaper plow was purchased together with the 3-16 Jim Ellis plow.  One of the purposes for purchasing the two plows together was for the purpose of exchanging the front wheels of the two plows.  The three-bottom Jim Ellis Little Genius plow was actually a steel-wheeled pre-war plow.  However, the round-spoke-type front wheels had been cut down to be fitted with 15” rims for rubber tires.  The Jim Schaper plow, on the other hand, was an authentic post-war plow with disc-type front wheels mounted with 6.00 by 16” tires.  Exchanging the front wheels of these two plows would allow the Jim Ellis plow to take on the appearance of a post-war plow.  As noted in the article, cited above, this would allow the Jim Ellis plow to be properly paired with the 1953 Clark-Christenson Farmall Model Super M.  At the same time, the exchange would allow the Jim Schaper plow to take on the appearance of a pre-war plow and be properly paired with the No. 127631.

Accordingly, the hitch of the Jim Schaper plow was adjusted to function most effectively with No. 127631.  The LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association has a permanent registration in which permanent exhibits are entered into a database on a computer.  At the parade occurring each day of the annual show a copy of the entire computer registration record is made available to the announcer of the parade.  In this way all pertinent information is at the fingertips of the announcer as he announces the exhibits in the parade.  The computer database also has a comments section for each exhibit.  This section may be used for any additional information about the tractor.  In the case of No. 127631, the comment section is used to explain that the plow being pulled by No. 127631 is the Jim Schaper plow.

International Harvester built F-20s to be rugged tractors which would serve their owners for a long time.  However, no one expected that No. 127631, the Newman-Westfall tractor, would have quite as long a productive life as has actually occurred.  Contributing to the long productive life of the Newman-Westfall tractor was the unique combination of optional equipment ordered for the tractor when new and the after-market improvements made to the tractor after its original purchase.  Significant among these after-market improvements was the installation of the Behlen Hi-Speed Gear Box on the tractor.  Consequently, the restored Newman-Westfall tractor as a permanent exhibit at the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association not only stirs memories among the descendents of the owners of the tractor but also serves as an example of the contribution made by the Behlen Manufacturing Company to mechanical farming.

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