Orion Samuelson's 1939 Farmall F-20
When WGN radio broadcaster and RFD-TV host Orion Samuelson first saw this F-20, it was delivered to his dad’s dairy farm as a replacement for their aging Samson tractor. “I remember the tractor being delivered to our dairy farm in Wisconsin on a May morning in 1939,” Samuelson said. “Dad paid cash; I think something like $720.” The tractor was delivered on steel wheels and had rubber fitted in 1947. The Farmall worked the Samuelson farm for 25 years. In 1964, the F20 was sold at auction, but ended up junked in a pasture a few miles down the road from the Samuelson farm. The old workhorse rusted away for more than three decades.
“When Max Armstrong and my sister found it at the turn of the century, the engine and four wheels were missing and a small tree was growing inside the frame. It was a pile of junk!”
The tractor was auctioned off in 2002, and the Central Illinois IHC tractor club bought it and restored the F-20 in the shop of Darius Harms. At the 2003 Heritage Tractor Drive in northern Illinois, the pristinely restored piece of family history was presented to Samuelson.
“I can’t believe they were able to restore it to the point that Jim Irwin, V.P. of Case IH who was with me for the unveiling, said, ‘It looks better than it did when it came off the assembly line in 1939.’”
The tractor now lives in the hangar at Rantoul, Illinois, which is on an abandoned air force base that houses the Half Century of Farm Progress show every other year.
You can see the tractor in the Farmall Calendar 2016, available here: http://octanepress.com/book/farmall-calendar-2016