Synopses & Reviews
Providing an interesting glimpse into the steam traction engines and internal combustion tractors that revolutionized the world of farming, this collection focuses on American tractors from the late 1850s to the beginning of the Great Depression. With farm journal advertisements—dating from 1909 through 1929—this account considers how something as ordinary and utilitarian as a tractor seems to have inherent standards of good design, correct proportion, and beauty. Intended for tractor enthusiasts, historians, artists, illustrators, students of industrial design, and graphic art lovers, this fascinating book recounts an important piece of history.
"In this unique book, Jim Harter, a gifted graphic artist and historian, has assembled a remarkable collection of images of these machines, drawn from either 20th-century advertising cuts or earlier engravings. Taking the reader up to the beginning of the Great Depression, these pictures, and accompanying text, document this historically important development, and some of its most prominent companies." —John H. White, Jr., Curator of Transportation 1958-1990, Smithsonian Institution
"Jim Harter's exhaustive collection of tractor images can be appreciated on multiple levels, as the intersection of industrial design, advertising, and art. A treat for both the historian and the tractor enthusiast, it sheds welcome light on an under-appreciated art form." —Warren Stricker, director, Research Center Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
"If, as many have said, the United States is the bread basket of the world, it is the tractor that has made that possible. This quintessential farm machine is represented in this fine retrospective that focuses on tractors from the 1850s to the 1930s. . . . Harter has chosen to . . . illustrate this history with advertising line drawings, which show detail in clearer, sharper images than old photographs from the period can show. Tractor fans will appreciate this very complete, well-illustrated volume." —San Francisco Book Review (February 2013)
About the Author
Jim Harter is a collage artist, an illustrator, and an art editor. He is the author of several books, including Initiations in the Abyss, Journeys in the Mythic Sea, Scientific Instruments and Apparatus, and World Railways of the Nineteenth Century. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.