The lights come up in the shop next to two of Bartlett Farms’ potato storage facilities on Spud Road, in the tiny town of Littleton. Row after row of antique tractors stand ready for their stories to be told. Bob Bartlett knows them all. There’s the Massey Harris 333, “the first one I bought,” he says. “That 44-6, the man I bought it from came to look over our place to make sure it was gonna have a good home. And when my wife, Jane, and I went to get it, his wife was out taking pictures with tears running down her cheeks ‘cause it was leaving the yard.”
It’s a large Massey collection of more than 40 pieces, most of them fully restored. Meanwhile, some 14 Massey Ferguson tractors make up the working fleet at Bartlett Farms. Among them is a Massey Ferguson 1100, bought new in 1969, that has 8,000 hours on it and “has never had a wrench in the motor,” says Bob. “That just tells you something about the longevity of these things.”
The potato harvester runs on an MF2745, “my pride and joy,” says Bob. Why? “Well, these tractors, they’re just like individuals,” he says. “That tractor just suits me. I just ‘sit good’ in it.”
When grandson John does need to work on a tractor, they use Genuine AGCO Parts and work with their dealership, Crown Equipment, in Caribou, Maine. “We just have a Massey heritage,” says John’s father, David.
Bob agrees, but it’s a little more personal for him. “I don’t hunt. I don’t fish. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. So my tractors … it’s the only hobby I got.”