What would we do without zerk fittings?
The zerk fitting is not exactly a household item. In fact, I'm willing to wager that most people don't know anything about it. When I first mentioned it to my wife, she shot me her "you've-got-to-be-kidding" look. As near as I can tell, she thought of it as an imaginary . . . → Read More: Zerk Fittings and Grease Cups
What do the following five people have in common? Charlotte Wheeler Clowes, John Kroyer, William G. Micke, George Shima, and Tillie Lewis. You get twenty-five points if you answered, "They all lived in San Joaquin County." Fifty if you know that they were somehow involved with agriculture. A perfect score of one hundred goes to readers . . . → Read More: The Agricultural Hall of Fame
Most children I know are fascinated with heavy machinery. I think they imagine the machines giving them vast amounts of power far beyond the ability of their tiny bodies. Even my daughter, who was a stuffed-animals kind of kid, had a special toy truck of her own. I can still hear her humming to herself as . . . → Read More: A Tractor for Kids
Henry Ford (1863–1947) is not one of my heroes. However, I do admire the innovations he brought to the assembly line. By the beginning of the twentieth century, many manufacturers already understood the value of interchangeable parts. But Ford was the first to apply this insight to the automotive industry. Using identical parts enabled him to . . . → Read More: Henry Ford and Benjamin Holt
Museums are like icebergs—only a small portion of most museums' collections are visible to the public. The bulk remains "underwater," stored for future exhibits and preserved for the benefit of future generations. And sometimes fascinating artifacts are visible, but under-appreciated.
Davis-type windmill adapted for domestic use, D. M. Drais farm, Farmington, Calif.
Such is the case with . . . → Read More: San Joaquin County’s “Italian Windmills”
I find it amazing that San Joaquin County was for fifty years or so the capital of earthmoving equipment. The County’s industrial, transportation, and financial infrastructures came into existence shortly after the Gold Rush, during the dry-farmed grain era. But it was the reclamation of rich peat soils of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the switch . . . → Read More: Benjamin Holt and the Caterpillar Tractor
Have you ever wanted to drive a big old tractor, the kind that shakes windows, blasts eardrums, and gives off enough pollution to destroy the ozone? I'll confess that I have. How about something really old, like a 1920 Holt 75? Now, pretend you've found one. How do you start and drive it, let alone repair . . . → Read More: Taking Care of Old Tractors
Have you ever heard of Earthworm Tractors? Neither had I. At least not until one of the Museum’s intrepid volunteers, Gail Erwin, came across the name on a paper in one of our collections. The document dated from the 1930s, and the imagery it evokes was obviously intended to remind readers of Caterpillar Tractors, whose origins . . . → Read More: Earthworm Tractors
The Caterpillar Tractor Company underwent several major changes throughout the 1930s to adapt to the economic conditions of the Great Depression. After the stock market crash of 1929, the company managed to survive by exporting tractors to the Soviet Union. In the mid-1930s, the market for tractors in the United States improved due to the growing . . . → Read More: The Andrew C. Kern Collection
How fertile is your imagination? Do you ever wonder what life on the farm was like long ago? Have you ever wanted to experience the feel, smell, and noises of long-forgotten agricultural and construction equipment powered by horses, mules, steam, and diesel? Do the tractors and harvesters displayed at the San Joaquin Historical Museum suddenly come . . . → Read More: The Best Show