Vermont Farm Machinery Company Farm Animal Treadmill
Appraised Value: $300 - $500
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (-1:31:45)
Science & Technology
APPRAISER: Tell me about where you got this.
GUEST: Well actually, it was my brother's, and he gave it to me. It was on my brother's farm when he started farming the farm in 1941. It sat in his shed, and then when he sold out, he gave it to me, and then I had a neighbor restore it this last year.
APPRAISER: Well, when it came in, everybody was looking around, you know, coming up with crazy ideas of what it was. And I said, "Look, it's a treadmill for a farm. You put a dog or a goat or a sheep on it." Nobody believed me until we saw the ad. And then they said, "Oh, really? It is."
GUEST: Yeah, yeah.
APPRAISER: And it would be used to operate...
GUEST: A cream separator.
APPRAISER: Cream separators.
GUEST: Or a wash machine.
APPRAISER: Or a wash machine. Or a butter churn like this one we have here.
APPRAISER: It could have been used for anything like that-- vegetable sorters, seed sorters, whatever. And believe it or not, they're not that uncommon. We see them from time to time. They were produced primarily in the late 19th century, up until about World War I. That's when gasoline motors started taking over, electricity. They didn't really need them anymore.
APPRAISER: Now, the problem with them is that there are not a lot of people who collect them. They're big.
APPRAISER: They take up a lot of space, and they're often in pretty bad condition. And actually, what really can you do with it? You could put your kid on it to make it work, but you know what? After about a half an hour they're going to get bored with that and go watch television.
APPRAISER: So the problem we always have with them is who's going to want them, and what are they going to sell for? There are people who collect farm machinery. Not a lot of them around. But when they see something they really like, they go for it. Now, an important thing with them is the label, like the one we have here from the Vermont Farm Machinery Company, and decoration like we have on this, the stenciling. That's very important because it adds to the decorative value of a piece. Now, this one is... as you said, it's been restored a bit. And it's been repainted on the metal, which is okay. It makes it look better than it probably was when you first got it. Then you look at, what will people like about it? They're going to like it because it's a crazy-looking piece of machinery. And I would have thought at auction a machine like this would probably fetch in the region of $300 to $500. A fun thing to have around the house.
GUEST: Well, yeah, right.
APPRAISER: You say your grandchildren loved it.
GUEST: Yes, they liked to play in it.
APPRAISER: Have you ever put a dog in it?
APPRAISER: And does the dog walk, or do you have to give him a piece of food?
GUEST: Well, you had to hold the dog.
GUEST: Yeah. But the dog will really run it.
GUEST: Oh, sure.
APPRAISER: Just with a piece of food in front of them?
GUEST: We just held the dog in there, and it'd run it.
APPRAISER: Oh okay, because they're probably afraid of falling off.
GUEST: Right, yeah.
APPRAISER: Well it's probably great exercise for the dog when you don't want to walk him on a rainy day.
APPRAISER: Thanks a lot for bringing it in.
GUEST: You're welcome.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.