This Website Is In Memory Of All Of The Faithful Employees of Hart-Parr,
Oliver Corporation and White Farm. These Are The Men And Women Who Built, Sold and Maintained
"The Finest In Farm and Industrial Machinery".
This Site Is Also Dedicated To All Of The Farmers And Industrial Users Who Worked This Equipment
Tilling The Soil, Harvesting Crops, Building Roads
And Other Infra-Structure. Our Hats Are Off To You!
Now that the plant is gone the Ollie's only chance to live on is you,
the Oliver collector. Restoring these fine pieces of machinery is a valuable link to the past
and each machine deserves to be rescued from oblivion!
HAVE YOU SUBSCRIBED?
Oliver Heritage is a new offering by writer and Oliver enthusiast Sherry Schaefer. This is the most exciting and important thing to happen for our hobby in recent memory. Hopefully, everyone who loves the Oliver marquee will subscribe to Sherry's new publication and support this effort. Click HERE to access Sherry's website and her subscription form. My personal thanks to Sherry Schaefer for undertaking this most ambitious project! Larry Morphew, Ed.
My father, Lloyd Darrell Morphew, (Darrell to his friends) working at a Michigan gear hobber at White Farm (Oliver Corporation) in Charles City, Iowa. Dad worked there for nearly forty years. The photo was taken by the company photographer around 1955 for use in a plant tour booklet. Dad was very proud of this photo since the photographer told him that he was chosen for being in the photograph because he always kept his work area and his machine so clean. He was also proud that (supposedly) this picture was printed wall size and was hanging in the Michigan Tool Company's Main Offices. Dad was both a loyal company man and an active union member (AFL-CIO). In the nearly forty years of working at the Charles City plant I do not believe he ever took a sick day. On the other hand, when he believed the company was taking advantage of an employee or employees, he would be one of the first to shut down his machine and walk out with the rest of the brotherhood (union members).
I have a brother, Nolan Morphew, who also worked for White Farm in the Charles City Plant for a long time (around 20 years as I remember). He worked in several different shops including the foundry which is where he worked (driving a forklift) as a materials handler when I worked there.As you can see, we were an Oliver family as were nearly all of the families in North Central Iowa at that time.
I am the second from the left and I do not remember the name of the other employee. I do remember that he worked in the experimental department which was part of the engineering department. I was a technical writer for White Farm at the time and was getting ready to direct a photography session on this tractor which was an Oliver 1850. The manual I was preparing was a Cockshutt 1850 Operator's Manual (the dark green paint with the Cockshutt decals may be confusing - I'll explain). We frequently had to do these tricks (i.e.: change the color of the tractor or part in the darkroom or on the artist's drawing board) as the manuals were prepared six months or so prior to actual production and engineering never did a Cockshutt mock-up that we could use for photos while I worked there (1962 - 1967). We would do a first run of manuals and then when the first Cockshutt rolled off the assembly line we would grab the necessary photos and re-order the number of manuals that we actually would need for the full production run. The only differences between the Cockshutt tractor and the Oliver of the same model was the paint color change and the obvious decal changes. This picture was taken around1965. The company photographer at that time was C.J. (Chuck) Gibbs and I think he also shot this polaroid. The company service manager was Doug Williams at that time and my editor was Bill Brown. These two men are clearly the best two bosses I've ever served.
Recently a friend asked me how many publications I had written for White Farm. It was so many years ago that it is hard to remember all of them; but I do remember that when I left White to go back to college, my editor told me to pull a copy of each manual, service bulletin, and instruction sheet I had written and to keep them at home for future use, perhaps in job interviews. I carried home a few filled medium sized grocery sacks full home each night for a few nights and in the end had a large suitcase full of publications. That suitcase was kept in a small storage building here on our acreage. Unfortunately, that building burned down in 1977 and all contents were destroyed.
I wrote a few instruction sheets and service bulletins, and wrote or revised the operator's manuals for every tractor in the lineup at that time. That would include the 550, 770, 880, 1550, 1600, 1650, 1750, 1800B, 1800C, 1850, 1900, 1950, OC-9 & 96. Many of those were written and revised for both the Oliver marquee and the Cockshutt marquee. I remember putting together the shop manuals for the Oliver (Fiat) 1250 and the Oliver (Fiat) 1450 (mostly a translation job from Italian to English with a handful of new pictures). In addition, I wrote a couple of 35mm slide programs to be used for presentations by field service representatives.
I really loved working at White Farm. I left to return to college, though, because I had a burning desire to become a minister and teacher. While working at White Farm in Charles City, Iowa I had been burning the midnight oil and using my lunch hours to complete the ministerial course of study through the Board of Education of the United Methodist Church - Nashville, and already had my ministerial credentials when I left employment at White Farm. Ultimately my goals were realized and I served an Iowa United Methodist congregation for three years while earning degrees at both North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, Iowa and at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. I then joined my wife in the teaching profession and spent 29 years as a science and math teacher at Estherville Middle School in Estherville, IA. While a teacher in Estherville, I continued to operate my busy part-time photography business; taught adult education courses at Estherville High School and Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville; found time to pastor the United Presbyterian Church congregation in Armstrong, Iowa for four years; worked for the Iowa Department of Agriculture for five summers; and served on the board of directors of Iowa Northland Credit Union in Estherville from 1971 to 2005. My duties expanded there in 1985 when I was named C.F.O. (president) of that credit union, a position I held until I stepped down in January, 2005. Also, now that I have retired from teaching I continue to operate a very busy photography business creating photo books, portraits and other memories as well as work as an independent webmaster designing and building websites for commercial concerns.
If you're a lover of the Oliver marquee or a former Oliver employee, I'd enjoy an email from you. I receive a lot of emails each day but a couple of fairly recent ones really made me happy. John Culbertson who was one of the executives in the personnel department and was the man who hired me in 1962, emailed me and phoned me; and Doug Williams, my former boss in the Charles City Plant Service Department emailed me several times. Good men both - it was good re-connecting.
Normally during a photo shoot, either my face wasn't shown in the photos or the photo had to be cropped and retouched to remove the identifying characteristics. The following three photos are some of the only exceptions to that fact. In the first picture I'm working on a shop manual photo setup (circa 1965). In the center picture I'm sitting at my desk working on a manual (circa 1962). In the last picture I'm working on an operator's manual photo setup (circa 1963 or 64). Corporate photographer C. J. Gibbs took the first and last photos and a fellow writer by the name of Roger "Toots" Zuehl shot the center picture.
The First Oliver Manual I Wrote (1962) -- The Last Oliver Manual I Wrote (1967) A Short History Of C. W. Hart and C. H. Parr
Booklet "Progress In Tractor Power From 1898
An E-Tour Of The Charles City Oliver Plant
1972 Oliver Sales Booklet
1974 Oliver Sales Booklet
If you have an Oliver, Hart-Parr, Cockshutt, White, or Cletrac site you'd like to see listed here, send us the URL of your website. These could be personal or business sites. If you don't do this, your site will probably never be listed here. Thanks!
Site Updated 3-9-13
"Good Luck Restoring That Ollie!"