The Lacey family's Jones Header in action again
In 1933, my dad, Ed H. Lacey, brought a Jones Header back to the home place from his Uncle Levi's farm some three miles away. He put the header in what we call the west shed, a long, narrow (14 foot wide) lean-to attached to the barn.
Years passed. Dad turned the shed into a shop, with a welder, anvil, torches on a cart with steel wheels, and the like. During the ensuing 60 odd years, he attached a number of hooks and shelves to the walls. And apparently, he was immune to electricity, but I found out as a kid that wet ground and his welder did not play well together. It seemed stray juice would come out of the old box if there was a heavy dew.
At any rate, the header sat there -until eventually my sister, Lois, acquired the home place, where Dad had been born in 1911, and decided she wanted the shed for storage. Good idea. Problem? You bet!
The header was about six inches narrower than the shed had become. Getting it out required taking out all the shelving back to the bare walls, and then carefully rolling the unit out, whereupon Lois asked if we would like it for our Little Village Farm Museum. We accepted gladly.
Little Village Farm, near Trent, S.D., features six farm buildings filled with agricultural items of yesteryear, including tractors and windmills (six outside at last count!), old signs, bottles and other things.
The header fit in perfectly.
Historically, headers were used when grain was short and couldn't be handled with a binder or in country where they would head the grain, haul barges to the site and pile the cut heads in bread loaf-shaped stacks for later threshing.
As the threshing progressed, they would move the machine down the rows of stacks, pitching in heads from both sides of the machine. Because only heads were left, not much straw was generated. Heading also was a fairly fast method of getting grain cut; a good header crew could cut and pile from 25 to 40 acres per day.
Piano Manufacturing Co. built the Jones Header, which shows up in C.H. Wendel's book 150 Years of International Harvester. The company was in business from 1881 to 1902 with W.E. Jones as president, hence the names 'Jones All Steel Header' and 'Jones Level Binder,' two pieces of equipment made by the firm. In 1902, Piano was one of five firms joined together to form International Harvester.