The 1939 Model A, John Deere pictured, is the oldest tractor among the six owned and operated by a comparatively small (100 acres) but robust (6th generation) rural East Tennessee farm. Day-to-day operations and service records reveal a historical legacy of dependability, loyalty, and reliability on the rural Appalachian farm where it is used. This record of integrity is in stark contrast to that found when using more plastic, disposable, and temperamental machinery deemed “modern”. This comparison is often seen when using public rental pieces and recalling instances where the “older” was required to assist the “newer”- just to get the job finished.
According to John Deere (February 7, 1804 – May 17, 1886), an American blacksmith and manufacturer who founded Deere & Company, farm life is deceptively hard, and dependable machines are a necessity. “I never put on the market a poorly-made implement….Whoever said that country life was simple, never lived on a farm.”, This underlying attitude may best describe why a 1939 simple green giant is one still used today in 2023 and why operators David Banks (shown here) and sons, Byron and William. are appreciative of the brand.
Purchased proudly in 2010 as a first trek into farm auctions by a then coming-of-age farm owner William Banks, the 1939 John Deere was selected as a novice’s pronounced restoration project and as an estate replacement piece for another John Deere, “A” used actively in farming by his great – grandfather from 1950 – 1998. The former John Deere was also used to teach my older brother, Byron, to operate at two years of age. Happily, according to this author and photographer, the “new” 1939 John Deere, Model A, replacement shows no sign of slowing down in it’s duty to dependability, thanks in no small part to maintenance made available by Steiner Tractor Parts and the pride in ownership by the “Banks” Boys when proudly seeking their American Dream.
David Banks of New Tazewell, Tennessee
Photo by Mata Banks