In early 2014 two people, Steve and Daniel, had a phone conversation about their shared passion for researching, finding, restoring, and ultimately displaying early hay unloaders and their accessories. Steve, a 20 year veteran of trolley prospecting, immediately recognized that Daniel, at it for less than a year, had all the symptoms of CHTF (Chronic Hay Trolley Fever).
A series of discussions followed, increasingly focused on how to preserve and present the broad and deep collection of materials on hand to others with similar interests. Although they had never met and lived 1,300 miles apart, they set about spending hundreds of hours creating what they hoped would be the preeminent place for all hay trolley enthusiasts, a place Steve referred to as “hay trolley heaven.” Steve sought out a web developer that had the skill and the patience to help them realize their goals. He found that person in Lara Marsh with ratherthanrunning, a local web design and technology provider that specializes in working with non-profits and small businesses. Between Steve and Dan, the vast majority of the cataloging and data input that goes into all that you see here at HTH is accomplished. To give one an idea, just 10 of carriages placed in a Manufacture’s section take more than an hour. All of this and more goes into allowing the HTH membership to finally see the incredibly broad and deep offerings for each and hopefully every Manufacturer of Hay Trolleys. They do it because they, well, they just plain have to. You trolley aficionados know what that is all about.
Also of considerable note are two young people who have stepped forward and helped enormously. Most who visit this site may not realize that, completely apart from the sourcing and collecting, there are almost endless hours spent cataloging, photographing, scanning and entering all the data one sees in Hay Trolley Heaven website. Jared and Erica both have contributed enormously towards making HTH what you see today. The vast majority of the HTH photographs were taken by them. It took them both ten weeks at 40 hours a week, and more than 14,000 lbs of iron moved about to complete the task. Both worked at Steve’s HTH complex in the summer of 2015. Rare at any age, this kind of dedication deserves some hearty recognition and thanks. They also are both well on their way to becoming two of our best web administrators.
Perhaps the most difficult part of all of this is working out the mysteries of who is who and where did they do what and when. There are a number of people here at HTH that have spent a great deal of time combing through the taters and snippets that give us a glimpse into the 1870’s thru 1920’s. Its a tireless job and, depending on the sources, increasingly expense proposition to collect the catalogs, newspapers and advertisements that feed the thought engine around here. Whether on line or “in the decks” none has attacked this task with the vigor and success than our own Clint. Clint writes up a majority of the historical text you see at within each Manufacturer. Want to know who succeeded and who was arrested or sued and lost their Farm Implement business? Want to know which brother sold what to his kin? Ask Clint, we all do. Clint works with his business partner Ashara providing museum preservation, antique restoration and fine home period pieces. Hard working and a great pleasure to hang with, Clint will always have something to add about the wonderful world of trolleys and the people that created them.
Lastly, we must mention the broad spectrum of gifted and experienced “Unloader Ultrafidians” that includes the distinguished likes of Barry Merenoff (Artist & Cataloger Extraordinaire) and Dale Smithhisler (Myers Grand Master,) Dennis McGrew and his historical records and writings, as well as a host of other members of the Hay Tool Collectors Association, work began to provide what you see here. Through this collection of patent filings, advertisements, catalogs, collection and event photos, web articles on restoration, and Hay Tool Collector Association newsletters, we hope that you come often, stay late, and enjoy all that can be found in Hay Trolley Heaven.
But in the end, the answer to the question of “Who is Hay Trolley Heaven?” is all the friends of this site that come to this peaceable kingdom to celebrate these iconic and historic trolleys. Join us and contribute to all that can be known about this period, these objects and the work that was done with them. Welcome!