ALEXANDER, Maine — Lawrence Lord really isn’t a man who likes to talk about himself. But he does like to talk about the old farm machinery and tools that fill the two barns at his museum in Alexander.
Ask him how Lawrence Lord’s Old Farm Museum got started and he will tell you he bought an old, run-down barn about eight years ago and “I’ve been buying some stuff.”
Rather than elaborating, he walks over to a wooden contraption in the corner of one of the barns and starts talking about it.
This particular contraption, he said, is an old treadmill for a dog or goat. The animal’s walking turns a wheel which provided power for other gadgets or machines.
Next he shows off an old lawnmower and then a wall of old tractor seats, each painted with the name of the farm from where it came as well as the farm’s years of operation.
“While growing up I lived on a farm and acquired an interest in farming equipment,” reads the museum brochure. Lord said his father had horses and a cow.
“I purchased my first carriage in 1987,” the brochure continues. “To date, I have collected over 1,200 [tractor] seats from all over the United States. During the search for more farm seats and lanterns I started purchasing other farm related tools, machinery and household items. … I have collected two barns full of unique and interesting farm tools.”
He showed off a couple of things, the uses of which would probably stump
the average person. One item, painted green and yellow and standing about a foot high, is a pig oiler, he said. The wheels on either end of it would turn and provide moisture from the bottom tray for the pigs, which do not sweat.
“A lot of stuff comes from Florida,” said Lord, 82, who spends his winters there. A large trailer, covered with more painted tractor seats, sits out front of the museum. He said that is how he gets his larger purchases home to Maine.
He pointed to several old washing machines, each one a little different than the next. Another section of the barn held a selection of vintage chain saws. Wrenches and other hand tools hang on the rafters of the barn. Lanterns hang from posts throughout.
“I don’t know of any favorite [item],” he said. However, he did mention an old dentist’s chair he has and said he would pull a tooth for free.
Lord said he added a second barn about six years ago. This barn is full of larger items such as one-horse open sleighs, wagons and carriages. Upstairs are some gadgets used to sort potatoes and onions and, of course, there are a few more tractor seats and lanterns.
Some of the carriages, wagons and sleighs are displayed overhead.
“I had a fork truck up here to put that stuff up there,” he said.
Lord said he doesn’t do a lot of restoration but he will paint items, usually in the same colors as he found them.
He said he has been doing “some serious buying” over the past 10 years.
“After you start collecting, you keep collecting,” he said. “It didn’t seem too big for a while, but then I got to buying some more stuff [and] it began to look like a collection.”
The farm museum is open 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 12:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. More information can be found on Facebook or by calling Lord at 214-7811.