About C.H. Wendel

For more than forty years C.H. Wendel and been writing books that document the development and use of farm and industrial engines, tools and machinery. His works include the definitive work on gas engines (American Gasoline Engines Since 1872) which continues to be in demand today. Some of his more popular books are considered “bibles” on tractors, farm equipment and historic documentation of the companies such as Case and John Deer.

Early Life
Born in 1939, Wendel grew up in Eastern Iowa where he worked on his family farm. He listened closely to the members of his family who fanned his interest in machines and farm equipment. Following college where is became passionate about music and the building and playing of pipe organs, Wendel chose a more practical career. During his career as a union electrician, he added to his collection of gas engines and began collecting information about their origins. His first book, Power In the Past was published in 1971.

A Short List of Books by C.H. Wendel
A partial list of his books written during the next four decades follows:
The Great American Farm Tractor (1st edition) 1974
Encyclopedia of American Tractors lst edition (1979)
150 Years of International Harvester (1981)
American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 – Illustrated Edition (1983)
Nebraska Tractor Tests Since 1920 (1985)
Minneapolis-Moline Tractors 1870-1964 (1990)
Alice Chalmers Tractors (1991)
Encyclopedia of American Farm Implements (1991)
Massey Tractors (1992)
Powers In the Past (1971, 1993)
Standard Catalog of Farm Tractors 1890-1920 (1994)
Great Farm Tractors (1995)
American Automobile Trademarks 1900-1950 (1995)
150 Years of J. I Case (2003)
Oliver Hart Parr (2005)
Alice Chalmers Story: Classic American Tractors (2005)
American Industrial Machinery Since 1870 (2008)


Prairie Press
In 1989/90 Wendel purchased the Prairie Press, after the death of owner, Carroll Coleman. He has archived all Coleman’s publications. His interest in printing and publishing grew and he owned and operated a bookstore for several years in Amana where he lived after moving from Atkins, Iowa. During his bookstore days, Wendel continued to collect and rescue books and reference materials on engines and machines. His collection of catalogues, magazines and reference books also grew. Several other books were published as he continued to produce his carefully researched works. In 2008 he published American Industrial Machinery Since 1870. Following this publication, Wendel began extensive work in the history of his own family tracing his ancestry to the time of Martin Luther.

Tours to Europe and Australia
Over the years Wendel has hosted trips to Europe and Australia that enabled his clients to visit major industrial museums and exhibits. Wendel studied, reads and speaks German. On his trips to Germany he collected books and printing samples that documented the history of letterpress printing. He also continued to collect documentation of engines and machines as his own collection of gas engines grew. In 1983 he published the immensely popular American Gasoline Engines Since 1872. He continued to write during the next thirty years.