FRYEBURG – A display of about 25 antique tractors pulled in many visitors Tuesday at the Fryeburg Fair.

Don Chandler, organizer of the show, said the fair has had the display for about 20 years, and that tractors are brought in by invitation only. While some are for display only, others participate in tractor pulls or other demonstrations. “We try not to get over 25 tractors because of the space,” Chandler said. “I try to get a good mix of different brands.”

Danne Moore of Ludlow, Vt., brought in a 13,000-pound Aultman-Taylor prairie tractor dating back to 1918. The four-cylinder, kerosene-powered machine was used to convert Midwestern prairies into farmland.

“‘Does it run?’ is the biggest question they all say,” Moore said.

The tractor was functional, and Moore periodically fired it up to show its mechanical workings. Moore said he started collecting antique machinery with the purchase of an antique engine in 1982, and has since gathered 55 tractors and 35 engines.

“I’ve got a lot of oddball tractors like that, and people like them, so I try to bring one up here that’s different,” he said.

Chip Baker of Fryeburg had a similar rationale behind the three tractors he brought to the fair from a collection of about 165.

“I like to bring tractors that are a little bit odd, something you don’t see every day,” he said.

One of Baker’s tractors, a fairly common Massey 44 model from the 1940s, featured metal wheels manufactured in Lancaster, Pa., by the Amish.

“They just don’t see anything like that in this part of the country,” he said.

Brian Winslow of Bridgton displayed a 1937 John Deere. He said the event acts as a reunion for members of tractor clubs. The display coincides with Senior Citizens’ Day, where guests ages 65 and over enter the fair for free, and Winslow said many visiting seniors recognize the tractors.

“A lot of them will come through and say, ‘I grew up using this’ or, ‘I learned to drive on this,'” Winslow said.

He said he has eight John Deere tractors in total, from years between 1929 and 1958. He said the company advertised the 1937 model as capable of doing the work of two horse teams.

“Now the people who have horses here, they don’t like to hear that,” Winslow laughed.



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