Whether you are a diehard fan of the former International Harvester brand or just a regular gearhead, the new book Red Combines from Octane Press should be near the top of your Christmas wish list this year. It chronicles the evolution of IH combines from the early McCormick-Deering days to modern Case IH models.
At around 380 pages, there’s a lot packed into this book. It even includes a model list of machines built from 1914 through to 2015, including build years and in some cases total production numbers.
The book also takes an interesting look at some combines and harvesters that didn’t see production, like the Probine concept for harvesting and separating protein from crops. You’ve likely never seen any of the concept drawings for these far-out machines.
There is insight from the engineers behind the machines and the corporate decision makers, including a look at the 172-day labour strike that helped bring the brand to its financial knees.
The book has great photographs of prototypes from the early days of rotary combine development, which was underway as far back as the 1950s. Actually, it’s rich in pictures throughout, from cover to cover.
Overall, Red Combines is well researched and must have taken a long time to put together, so the authors, Lee Klancher and Gerry Salzman, deserve a pat on the back for this effort. At $75 the book isn’t cheap, but there’s ample value there for the money. It’s a must-have for any IH enthusiast’s library.