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Machinery Pete

RSS By: Greg Peterson,

Learn how to better manage your machinery investments from Greg Peterson, a.k.a. "Machinery Pete." He's been researching and analyzing machinery auction prices for more than 20 years.

Most Unique Tractor I've Seen

Jul 13, 2013

Talk about ahead of their time.

Yesterday I stopped in Garner, IA for a closer look at a 1957 Custom Built tractor and self-propelled forage chopper made six decades ago by the Schmitz brothers (Vincent, Jim, Dale) from near Clear Lake, IA. The brothers ran a custom farming operation serving a 50+ mile radius in northern Iowa and needed something to handle a variety of jobs for them, like picking corn, plowing, shelling and blowing forage.

So they built their own solutions.


1957 Custom Built Tractor. Rear end made of (2) Farmall F30's



Custom built self-propelled forage chopper from mid 1950's

Through our Machinery Pete Facebook page, I got connected with Bill Olson from the Ventura / Garner, IA area. Bill actually bought the 1957 Custom Built tractor at an auction back in 1972....for $1,500, and used the tractor for many years before just recently selling it back to Bobby Schmitz, son of Vincent Schmitz, one of the original builders. Bobby had the tractor restored into its present beautiful condition.

Now it's turning heads on the summer parade circuit in northern Iowa.

Bill Olson was kind enough to meet me in Garner, IA yesterday and talk through the history on both the custom built tractor and self-propelled forage chopper. Bill talked, I listened....and shot video of course for this Youtube video so you can learn more about these amazing machines:

America...what an amazing country we live in, don't you think? Hard working, ingenious folks, all throughout this great land of ours, willing and able to MAKE a better way. The Schmitz Brothers from Clear Lake, IA, Vincent, Dale and Jim, maybe weren't recognized back in the late 1950's for their amazing custom built farm tractor and self-propelled forage chopper they made, but their handiwork has stood the test of time. Getting the job done, a better way.

Hats off to you boys. A job well done.

CustomBuilt1957Tractor BillOlsonJaNeil Molly

Bill Olson with wife Janeil and granddaughter Molly in front of the 1957 Custom Built tractor they bought in 1972 for $1,500 and owned for many years



Bill Olson next to the custom built self-propelled forage chopper made in the mid 1950's by the Schmitz Bros. from near Clear Lake, IA



Vincent, Dale and Jim Schmitz made this custom built self-propelled forage chopper in the mid 1950's and used it to do custom farming throughout north-central and northeast Iowa for many years


Chopper BillOlson IA

The custom built self-propelled forage chopper drives in the annual Clear Lake, IA 4th of July parade


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