Toy tractor mystery prompts search

A British Columbia man wants to learn more about the origins of a toy he received as a gift in Saskatchewan in the 1940s

CAMROSE, Alta. — Reg Alspach has a toy story he wants to bring to life.

Growing up in Regina, Alspach often visited his farming relatives in the Edgeley, Qu’Appelle and Indian Head areas of Saskatchewan and he learned quickly that his grandfather, Bill Kinvig, was a Massey Harris man.

In about 1948, the young boy followed his grandfather to Frank Wilde’s Massey Harris dealership in Qu’Appelle, as part of a regular Saturday night social activity.

Alspach remembers playing with a wooden toy tractor on display in the dealership one evening. The next day he was presented with the wooden Massey Harris Model 55 toy tractor as his own.

Alspach has never seen another toy tractor like it and he wants to bring his toy’s story to life with more information.

“My quest is to fill out the story for my own interest,” said Alspach of New Westminster, B.C.

“I am anxious to find out what the history is of this thing.”

It was an article about a Moosomin, Sask., farmer who restored his full-sized Massey Harris 55 tractor that inspired Alspach to search for more information on his smaller Massey Harris 55 tractor. The miniature measures 6 ½ inches wide and high and 11 inches long and he has not seen another toy tractor like it.

Was this a precursor to the die-cast models, was it a promotional item for Massey Harris dealers, or was it created as a toy to sell at dealerships?

Alspach said he played with the toy for many hours. A back fender had a small piece broken off, the exhaust and air intake stacks went missing and the finish got shabby. Early on his father made the tractor steerable with half a sewing thread spool, some string and cotter pins.

His father’s aftermarket parts were removed and it has now been returned to its original design. He has added replacement decals to both sides of the fuel tank, the numbers 55 have been added to both sides of the radiator and transfers were placed on the bottom of both back fenders and down the centre of the grill.

The toy tractor sits on a roll-top desk in his B.C. home, but he hopes someone has more information on his tractor, or others like it. Information can be emailed to regalspach@gmail.com.

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