As a young boy, Alan Schurman’s family collected and restored old tractors, saving them from the junk man. In 1950, Alan’s father, Paul Schurman held the “First Steam Threshing Bee on the West Coast,” displaying and operating old farm equipment. In 1951, Alan’s uncle, Clyde Schurman and his father, Paul Schurman, saved and restored a rare Compound Russel Steam Traction Engine, documented in an article published in Iron-Man Album magazine of July 1951. Alan was only eight years old in 1950, just a spectator. Over time, his father’s and uncle’s love of old machinery became Alan’s passion.
Alan graduated from the Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls Oregon, with a degree in Engineering, and became a teacher at Clark College in Vancouver. Years later, Alan became the manager of the Schurman family machine shop, founded by his father. He worked there until retiring, then used his engineering and metal fabricating skills to restore antique tractors and engines. He also collected old iron. Starting in 1995, Alan hosted the “Antique Tractor, Engine Show and Flea Market,” held annually in July at the Schurman Iron Ranch, Ridgefield, Washington. In 2016, Alan was elected to the National Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association, Hall of Fame, “honoring those who have made significant contributions to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of antique tractors, engines, and equipment.”
Alan’s skill in restoring rare tractors to original condition was widely known. Tractors restored include those made by; Holt, Best, Yuba, Samson and Bean. Recent projects include a 1918 Holt 120hp Caterpillar, and a 1917 Samson Sieve-Grip tractor. Alan’s most ambitious project, started seven years ago, was the reconstruction of three large Best 75hp tractors, each weighing 14-tons. Alan started with just half of the needed parts. He fabricated all missing parts, including the; sprockets, transmissions, final drives, tracks and frames. One tractor required the construction of massive 7.5 foot diameter wheels. This monumental project was nearing completion when Alan passed. In restoring old tractors, Alan’s skills were legendary; both as an engineer, and as a machinist and welder. He was loved and deeply appreciated by those that knew him, and respected by all who shared his passion for old machinery. He was a man of integrity, honesty, a man willing to share his knowledge and willing to help others.
Someone that will be sincerely missed.