Computers have given us the ability to keep information on subjects that are of interest to a very few people. Subjects that are so trivial, so mundane, that it is amazing anybody would even care about them. However, the Internet lets those few people find each other and soon a few more hear about that group, join in, and then there is a daily exchange about something that at any other time would die from a supposed lack of interest.
I belong to a group of aficionados of a model of automobile Ford only built in 1966 and of which there was a total production of about 11,000. It is a Galaxie 500 7 Litre and from all we can tell, less than 2000 are left today and actual numbers may be closer to 1000.
The Galaxie was the full size Ford, available as a hardtop or convertible, and it boasted of having as standard equipment Ford’s newly introduced 428-cubic inch V8 engine. Ford included bucket seats, a floor-mounted shift, and the 7 Litre was supposed to be the answer to a performance car that could be ordered with luxury options such as air conditioning.
The only engine option was the 427 V8 which was Ford’s racing engine and in a league by itself.
After one year of disappointing sales, Ford decided it was answering a question nobody was asking and discontinued the 7 Litre as a separate model. For 1967, it became a 7 Litre package available on the XL models and in 1968 was dropped completely.
That was probably more than you wanted to know about a little-known attempt by Ford to build something that, as it turned out, very few wanted. Forty-three years later, there are about 175 of us scattered across the country who keep track of these cars on a daily basis exchanging messages on restoration, locating parts, and generally appreciating something only we few diehards care about.
That is one example of a small group of people whom the computer and information age has let form to pursue a common passion. I am sure there are many more subjects and someone reading this could very possibly belong to a very small collection of people who follow an interest that almost no one knows or cares about.
Believe it or not, I have not made my point yet. That is right; all this was leading to something else. The reason for bringing this subject up is that as far as I know, I am only one who looks at silos and makes a mental, so far, inventory of its location, construction, design, condition, and approximate age.
If there is a silo historian’s group meeting somewhere on the internet, I have not found it yet. Am I the only one interested in the evolution of the upright silo? Probably not, but I have not seen any place listed yet where I can join such a group.
I grew up with stave silos. My dad bought six of them and my uncles bought two along with four Harvestores. They are all standing on the farms I own and they were last used around 1990.
My interest and appreciation of silos surprises me because I really do not care for the things. They were dangerous from the outside from falls and from the inside due to either a lack of oxygen or accumulated gases just after filling. They required specialized equipment to load and unload them. They belong in history.
Here is the ultimate test of anyone’s fondness for silos. Do you know of any place that celebrates silo days? How about the location of the silo museum? I did a search on Google for “silo museum” and there is one. It is about the missile silos used in our national defense system. That is not the silo I had in mind.
Maybe someday I will get brave enough to begin cataloging the silos I have seen as I drive across the country. After collecting my data and taking pictures, I will make them available for viewing and reading on the internet where once again, there will be information available to the entire world on a subject that nobody cares about or wants to read, except possibly me.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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