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Machinery shows and auctions

Curiosity and the willingness to adapt have always been the hallmarks of Edmonton Northlands' policy, and so the exhibition of new machinery has long been both an organizational commitment and a public drawing card.

The 1920s in particular saw a boom in the use of novel technology, as the work-burden was slowly shifting from manual to mechanized labour. It was no surprise, then, that a variety of manufacturing companies rented display space at the exhibition— at an average price of $10 CDN a booth—from which to demonstrate the virtues of their new devices.

Canadian Farm ImplementsThe Edmonton Exhibition became so well known for its machinery displays that Canadian Farm Implements, which billed itself as the only agricultural equipment trade magazine in Alberta at the time, looked to sell advertising space to fair organizers in 1928.

Harwen Products CorporationMoreover, potential exhibitors wrote from around Canada and across the United States in the hopes of procuring display space. Many of these companies were interested in selling agricultural machinery, but a few had other things in mind. One such company, Harwen Products Corporation of New York, was hoping to exhibit automotive parts and accessories.

Machine sales saw a drop in the 1930s, with the onset of the Depression, but the practice of displaying and showcasing equipment survived the slump. Collective patience was rewarded at the end of the Second World War, when a better economy brought with it a renewed confidence in the power and potential of machinery, especially as it related to farming.

Fordson Wagon TractorSoon the exhibit space was alive with detailed pictures depicting tractors, seed cleaners, and other mechanical farming tools marketed under various brand names and originating in a number of countries.

By the early 1960s, the farm machinery show had been officially linked to the popular Canadian Western Stock Show and Rodeo. It did so well there that the Wholesale Implement Dealers’ Association supported continuing its large exhibits.

Since the mid-1960s, the major agricultural equipment exhibition has been held in conjunction with the Farm and Ranch Show, which itself once existed under the Stock Show umbrella. Dozens of farm equipment manufacturers now display alongside dealers producing materials for every aspect of the agricultural industry, from large-scale fabrication materials to water fixtures. Other groups exhibit because they are either hoping to educate—as is the case with the Edmonton Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)—or because they wish to promote little known facets of the agricultural world.

Disc Breaking PlowToday, farm equipment shows serve two purposes. The first is in attracting rural residents to new displays, keeping them up-to-date on changes, and the other is in educating the increasing urban population as to the structure and function of the machinery used in the creation of their food.

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