09 Jul 19
Here I am sitting enjoying the peace and quiet and the cool morning watching another beautiful daybreak and wondering what exciting experience we were going to have at the museum. What neat and interesting people are we going to meet? My thoughts drift back to “Old Dan.” You may recall Dan and his bride, Jean, and the Bolts meeting in 1949. Old Dan and I were in the Marines together.
So, I decided to visit with you today about Old Dan and doing some serious tool hunting (junkin’) in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. But, by the end of my second cup of coffee, I changed my mind and decided to talk about our experience in Nebraska.
The Bolts — myself and Laila — and our nephew and niece, Danny and Cheryl, had been at Hawk’s Museum in Wolford, North Dakota doing some volunteer work. We were finished and starting to work our way home and decided to head south 700 miles to where I and Danny were born and raised in Kearney, Nebraska.
On one of our first rest stops, I said, “You know Old Dan just lives 700 miles south of Kearney. Let’s give him a call and see if he and Jean will meet us there.”
Sure enough — they were looking for an excuse to take a trip. So, they agreed to meet us. We agreed to meet at the fairgrounds so neither of us was tied to a schedule.
A few days later, we are all there safe and sound. After a couple of days visiting and catching up on each other’s lives, we start out to do some junkin’. We worked all the potential places in Kearney and, finding nothing too exciting, I say “Hey, let’s go to Wood River (a very small town east of Kearney on old Highway 30). There is a neat old tool store there if we are lucky enough to find him open.”
So, the next day we head to Wood River. To our delight the store was open and ready to do business. We went in and started digging around and decided it would take days to look at everything. His merchandise was pretty pricey so we decided to be choosey (Laila was pretty tight with those purse strings).
I found a wrench first made in 1939 for the Ford 9-N tractor. It’s a double open-end with a scale in inches on it priced at $12. I showed it to Old Dan and he says there is one just like it over on the other counter. So, we go take a look. Sure enough, the exact same tool — only it’s priced at $16. Before we were finished, we found another one marked at $20. So, we take the 3 to the owner and politely asked about the tools and why the difference in price. He was a real professional and had a great explanation. We had a bit of experience ourselves so we didn’t necessarily bite into his explanation.
Now the fun begins. We asked what the scale or numbers on the wrench were for and he immediately advised us it was to measure the level of gas in a tank. He said you just put the small end in the filler hole of the tank and measure the fuel. Now, that sounded logical and we both had heard the same explanation for years. But, completely wrong. It was issued as a plow wrench to measure the depth of the furrows. When you really thought about it, it was not very safe to put an iron tool into an iron gas tank. One spark would have changed everything. So, we left the store without any of those items. But, we sure had a great day with our good friends Old Dan and Jean, doing some serious junkin’ in Wood River, Nebraska.
We now have six different versions of this historical beauty at the museum displayed in Area “G”, Board No. 58:
1. Ford Plow Furrow Measuring Wrench
2. Ferguson Plow Furrow Measuring Wrench[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]
3. H. Ferguson Plow Furrow Measuring Wrench
4. Massey Harris Ferguson Plow Furrow Measuring Wrench
5. Ford Plow Furrow Measuring Wrench
6. Ford Nourse Drop Forging Open-End Wrench
So, come on down to Bolt’s Antique Tool Museum located at 1650 Broderick St. in historic downtown Oroville. Then, we’ll sit awhile and talk tools — Antique Tools, that is.