Antique tractors bring history, local stories to Clark County Fair

The antique tractors that will be displayed at the Clark County Fair aren’t simply old.

They also have stories, said Ed Kranz, an antique tractor repair hobbyist who has taken the steering wheel to direct the new display, called Power of the Past.

Kranz is also on the board of trustees of the Heritage Center of Clark County, which is sponsoring the show.

All 25 of the fully restored tractors have been owned by Clark County residents, said Kranz, who lives near South Vienna and served as the fair’s executive director in 1980 and 1981.

The tractors span 50 years, from 1919 to 1969, and some are rare. A John Blue tractor in the show is unusual because the engine is behind the driver, he said. Only 200 were made, and 20 to 30 are known to exist.

The tractors will be on display in a tent next to the fair’s big tent. They also will take part in the Parade of Power at the grandstand on Saturday, July 23, before the 7 p.m. tractor pull.

Restoring antique tractors is now a three-generation hobby for the Kranz family. A few years ago Kranz received a 1941 Farmall H, the same make, model and year that his own father purchased when he traded in his horses for a tractor.

Kranz — with his son, Mike, and grandson, Matt — restored it, learning about mechanics, bodywork, welding and much more along the way. Parts came from across the country.

“Sometimes it takes longer to get the part than to put it in place,” he said.

Another tractor that will be on display belongs to Kranz’s grandson. The 1951 Case SC was purchased new by Matt Kranz’s great-grandfather at a St. Paris hardware store. The younger Kranz, who will be a senior at Northeastern High School, won the FFA tractor restoration class at last year’s fair for his work.

The elder Kranz said the show will include information about each tractor, like where it came from and how many were made. And its story.

Alex Ryan, public relations coordinator for the Clark County Fair, said he believes this will be the first antique tractor show that the fair has hosted.