1907 International

In parallel with Henry Ford's efforts to create the essentially simple, strong Model T that could be repaired by any farmer a few manufacturers who understood the environment, attitude and tools available to American farmers concluded that the simple motorized buckboard, known as a high wheeler for its tall, hard rubber shod wheels, was the motorized vehicle best suited to appeal to this vast market. Farmers, particularly on the Great Plains, were located miles and miles apart down rudimentary tracks usually traversed by buckboards with horses between their traces. Automobiles, it was frequently noted by their proponents, didn't need to be fed between trips, required little in the way of bedding and weren't prone to run away on amorous adventures. One company which recognized the appeal of the gradual transition from carriage to horseless carriage was International Harvester. It had a bond with farmers formed by decades of developing, manufacturing, distributing and maintaining plowing, harrowing, planting and harvesting machinery. Their solution was the High Wheeler, essentially only a buckboard with a two-cylinder opposed engine tucked under it driving through a chain to the rear axle. This example is beautifully restored and comes with seating for four or five on leaf spring benches, loads of brass details, E&J brass kerosene sidelights and a single brass Atwood headlight, a black surrey top, brass kerosene taillight and, the epitome of luxury, patent leather splash shields between the mudguards and the buckboard platform. Finished in red and black, with black leather upholstery on the seats, it is dominated by the big, huge wheels which emphasize its origins behind a horse. International made powered buckboards like this long beyond the advent of the Model T and they are an important artifact of the evolution of rural American life in the early years of the 20th century. Chugging their way down Main Street or assuming pride of place among utility engines in an agricultural fair, there are few vehicles more emblematic of the rapid evolution taking place in rural America in the early years of the last century.

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