Dale Johnson's enduring love of tractors
Dale Johnson’s interest in tractors began when he was about 6 years old. Dale lived on the farm and in the 1940’s toys were usually hand-made.
“My dad designed, constructed and painted my first “Allis Chalmers 60” toy combine out of metal,” Dale said. “My dad was a better artist than I could have ever imagined. The combine was so intricate and detailed. I played with that combine a lot!”
When Dale was nine years old he began working in the field on a full-sized tractor and spent many hours on that old tractor. He’s been a fan of farm equipment ever since.
Early in the 1980’s I ran across that old toy combine again that my dad made for me at my parents farm and my dad had to do a few repairs to it for me,” Dale said. “I brought the toy combine home with me and as time went on I began adding more and more toy tractors and implements to that and soon it became a collection. I had Farmall, John Deere, Allis and enjoyed them all.”
After moving to Fort Scott he converted a spare bedroom into an office and his collection was kept in his office - in a floor to ceiling display.
“There are a lot of memories around each piece that I owned,” Dale said. “Betty, my wife, and I traveled to many toy shows and toy auctions over the years to find new pieces to add to my collection. We continued to buy pieces until I just ran out of space.”
“Last winter as we began to make future plans to move to the Presbyterian Village, even though we planned to move to a two bedroom apartment, I decided it was time to downsize and sell most of my collection for someone else to enjoy as much as I have,” Dale said. “I had over 350 toy tractors and implements in my collection. My favorite ones were the 1/16th scale size. That was the size of the original ones when they were first made.”
This spring Dale sold his collection, but kept a few of his most prized farm toys and moved them to the new apartment at the Presbyterian Village.
“I gave my very first Allis Chalmers combine that my dad made for me to my grandson to cherish and hopefully pass on to his son one day, along with some of the stories and memories of me that came along with it. The ones I kept are now on display in my new office. I just love them!”