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Illinois 3rd Sunday Market a trove for farm collectors
The flea market frenzy begins for some markets in April and others, in May.

There is something about going to a crowded market filled with vendors and buyers vying for that “find.”

For the 3rd Sunday Market in Bloomington, Ill., May 21 was the first of six that are held through the summer, into October.

3rd Sunday has been a Bloomington tradition since 1988. This is a huge market with more than 450 dealers from 17 states. The market, both indoors and out, offers an array of items like antique furniture, Americana, folk art, vintage advertising, sport memorabilia, antique linens, tons of jewelry and even vintage clothes.
It is fun to visit the market and not onlyshop, but enjoy the creative way vendors have found to exhibit their displays. One vendor used his delivery van as a way to just open the door and sell his signs and other collectibles. When it comes time to leave, all he has to do is close the door and go! Another vendor selling clothes used a van for her “Mobile Fashion Truck.” She explained “rather than having shoppers come to me, I come to them.”

A few of the really neat finds at the first market included a table with an engine as a base. It was not clear what sort of large machine the engine was taken from, but it was large enough that the finished wooden top is table-level.

One John Deere collector was quite smitten with a Grand Detour Plow Co. tractor seat, but chose to pass because this rare castiron seat was pricey. It was probably snatched up by another collector because it was apparently the only one at the flea market.

The Grand Detour Plow Co.’s history is woven together with Deere’s. Deere’s original partner, Leonard Andrus, started another plow company after John bought him out. Then after Andrus’ death in 1867, this company was run by Cumins until 1869.

The company left Grand Detour and moved to Dixon, Ill., with Henry T. Nobel. The firm changed its name and added a new partner in 1874. It was called Cumins, Noble & Dodge and was incorporated in 1879 as Grand Detour Plow Co. The company was successful and by 1882 was manufacturing 66 sizes of iron and wood beam plows, as well as sulky plows, cultivators, harrows and hay rakes.

It may surprise some to know that this company that was originally linked with Deere in 1919 was eventually sold to J.I. Case Threshing Machine Co. in Racine, Wis.

Besides seats, there were also farm toys such as a Mamod steam tractor model. It was cool to see this British toymanufacturer as part of the mix. Mamod, which specialized in manufacturing steam models, was founded in 1937 in Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

There were a couple of neat Marx toys also on display. One was a Caterpillar. Louis Marx & Co. was an American toy

firm in business from 1919 to 1978. It was the most popular toy company around in the 1950s. Described as “The Toy King,” Louis Marx even appeared on the cover of a 1955 Time magazine.

Readers with questions or comments for Cindy Ladage may write to her in care of this publication. Learn more of Cindy’s finds and travel in her blog, “Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl,” at