Proprietor - Graham Kirk
A Brief Personal history
Family involvement with binders started in 1919 when my father as a very young man took charge of a new Massey Harris No 5.
This he used and maintained carrying out some of the repairs he could perform himself.
The No 5 was eventually replaced with an Albion 5A. This was the binder I would, as a small boy, ride on standing on the back board holding on to the seat. When I was a little older I was allowed to operate the binder at lunch time. The binder was finally replaced by a Massey Harris 780 Combine when I was 10 years old.
On leaving school at 15, I became an apprentice agricultural engineer, whether fate had something to do with this is a matter of opinion but I was assigned to work with the company's binder engineer.
Whilst the numbers of Combine harvesters was increasing very rapidly, indeed they were by then the kings of the harvest field. Nevertheless many binders were still being used mainly for cutting traditional varieties of wheat for milling, where the quality of the grain was “made” whilst the corn was standing in the stooks or shocks. New varieties soon replaced them enabling complete combining of all the grain crops and by the mid 1960’s most of the binders were redundant.
As soon as I passed my driving test at 17, I had a service van repairing Massey Harris/Ferguson and Ransomes combines. With my second company, my brief was to cover a large area liaising with farm staff starting off new machinery and carrying out warranty work as well as repairing older units. This company were main Claas agents but also sold a small number of New Holland Clayson and Allis Chalmers combines.
I then spent several years operating my own small business maintaining tractors, combines and balers etc also supplying components and lubricating oils. When farm machinery suddenly got much larger and heavier I took up a technical sales position concentrating on lubricating oils and industrial paints.
Binders and harvesting machinery must have been born in me as I eventually purchased a binder and then another, and then my collection grew.
I required some canvasses and purchased a consignment
of “new old stock” but of course being 60 years old they needed repairing. I was of the opinion I was not the only person that would require canvasses. I then decided to start Farm and Rural Past manufacturing traditional binder and combine canvasses as well as supplying some of the associated parts that are required with vintage harvesting.
I can honestly say every year from the pram to present I have annually been in harvest fields in some capacity.
Me at work in my studio
- Outstanding in his field