Restored Tank at Pennsylvania Military Museum

Sharing the Common Wealth showcases objects, artifacts, documents, structures and buildings from the collections of PHMC.

An exceptionally rare armored vehicle, an American version of a French tank, the Renault FT17, was manufactured for the Allied offensive abroad, but the signing on November 11, 1918, of the Armistice that ended World War I prevented it from seeing action — and spared it for posterity. Designed to house a machine gun, it is the only known example of its type in existence. J. William Richey, of Everett, Bedford County, purchased the tank from the army in the 1930s, and hid it under a haystack in a barn to escape the scrap metal drives of World War II. On exhibit at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, Centre County, the M1917 tank, originally called the “the six-ton tractor,” was recently treated by a professional conservator, Brian R. Howard, who stripped away several layers of paint to uncover the original pattern and repainted it in the period camouflage scheme.