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Preserving antique Ont. tractors

Preserving antique Ont. tractors

The Hope Agricultural Heritage Club restores and displays vintage tractors

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A group of vintage farm equipment enthusiasts are keeping the stories of old tractors alive through restoration and education.

The Hope Agricultural Heritage Club (HAH), based in Port Hope, Ont., collects antique tractors destined for the scrap yard.

The group started with six members in 1995 after they started to notice a shift in the industry as farm operations grew. Today, the membership stands at 65.

“At that time, a lot of farms were getting bought up, or going from hundred-acre farms into the thousands of acres and the equipment started to get bigger,” Earl Ashby, president of the HAH and an original member, told “We knew then that we had to find a way to preserve the old equipment because it wouldn’t be around forever.”

Once the tractors are restored, they are either raffled off to raise money for the organization or put on display in the HAH’s Antique Machinery Centre located at 5077 County Rd 10 in Port Hope. The building also has displays of chainsaws, motors and hand tools.

The group has raffled off 13 tractors and completed the 14th prize restoration – a John Deere 40 Model S. The draw for this tractor will happen in December.

HAH members also travel to local farm shows and hold seminars on topics ranging from local ag history to past pieces of equipment.

While not a farmer himself, Ashby has spent a lot of time working in the equipment industry.

His father, Ken, established the John Deere dealership Ashby Farm Equipment in 1950. Earl and his brother Dave took over the business. They sold it about 13 years ago.

Ashby remembers some of the equipment farmers used to bring to his father’s shop and wants that machinery to be around for the next generation of families.

“It’s critical to keep this stuff around,” he said. “As the farmers get younger, they get further away from how things used to be because they see all this massive equipment. The original owner of some of the antique equipment might be gone, but that farmer’s grandchildren or great grandchildren are around. Maybe they can come visit us and see a tractor that their family used and open themselves up to a new world of farm equipment.”

John Deere Model 40 S photo


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