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Original antique gear

According to my grandpap, the farm on our old home place was built when he was 18 years old, which would have been in 1882. In the south end of the barn are two cribs measuring 8 by 12 feet with small exterior doors through which grain could be scooped. At various times when I was growing up I saw the cribs filled with ear corn, wheat, rye, barley or oats.

Recently my two sons salvaged some oak siding from the old barn. This revealed an oak beam that ran under the cribs and supported the floor joists. Under one crib, the beam sat on a stack of large limestone rocks; under the other crib was a stack of rocks with this old gear on top of the stack.

The gear is cast iron, has 13 teeth and weighs 27 pounds. It is 4 inches deep and has a flange on one end measuring 8 inches in diameter. The teeth measure 7-1/2 inches and there is a hole in the center for a 2-3/4-inch hexagonal shaft. Two entire teeth and parts of two others have been broken off. Apparently the gear was damaged prior to 1882, and in true pioneer spirit, instead of being discarded, it was recycled as part of the main support under the crib.

My friend Bill Blackwell sandblasted the gear for me. I painted it black, and it’s now sitting by my front porch as a conversation piece. As I chipped some of the worst rust from the gear before taking it to Bill to be sandblasted, I discovered that it definitely didn’t fail for lack of lubrication. Between each set of teeth where they meet the flange, under a 132-year accumulation of farm dust, was a large glob of hard, black grease, almost like tar.

It would be really interesting to know what type of equipment the old gear came from and how it was damaged, but we’ll just have to use our imagination, because unfortunately that information has been lost to time.

Alan Easley, Columbia, Missouri

Sandblasting the gear

Clean antique gear 

Top: The old gear as it looked when discovered under the barn.

Middle: Bill Blackwell, sandblasting the gear. "After all the rust and dried grease was removed, lots of sand holes showed up," Alan Easley says. "It was really a pretty poor casting, which may have had something to do with its failure."

Bottom: The painted gear sitting on Alan's front porch. "Everybody needs one of these to sweep around," he says.


Meat grinder

I was wondering how old this meat grinder (above) is. I am 70 years old and it has been in the family as long as I can remember. I remember it being used before I was big enough to crank it.

When I was a kid we raised our own hogs and beef and ground our own sausage. We used this International Harvester corn sheller (below) for eight or nine years, morning and night, to shell corn for sheep.

My older brother, James, and I used it enough to wear it out but we couldn’t. We used to run it with a washing machine engine until we both got big enough to crank it ourselves, then the engine was done away with. It was also our job to pull the wool off of dead sheep to sell. We finally had to sell our sheep because of dogs killing them.

We also had a mowing machine like this one (below). This one is located in the Roundhill community in Butler, Kentucky. I can remember my dad cutting hay with our mower with a team of mules. He would make about two rounds and stop to let the mules rest. We were raised on a 200-acre farm in central Kentucky. We raised sheep and registered Hereford cattle, so we put a lot of hay in the barn. That was in the 1940s, ’50s and ‘60s.

This buhr mill (below) was manufactured by Williams Mfg. Co. It is well over 100 years old. It was bought new by my great-uncle, Roscoe Huff, who sold it to my dad, A.V. Haynes. It was shipped new to Caneyville, Kentucky, by rail. My great-uncle picked it up there with his team and wagon. Roscoe ran a grocery store where the mill was used every Saturday to grind cornmeal. My youngest brother, Stephen Haynes, bought it at our estate auction. He has stored it in his warehouse in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

John Haynes, 325 Jones Rd., Brownsville, KY 42210

Editor’s note: The word “buhr” refers to buhr stone, a form of tough, fine-grained sandstone once commonly used in production of millstones.

International Harvester corn sheller

Mowing machine

Buhr mill


Disc harrow

In these photos, sent by Larry Mack, Milan, Illinois, a farmer performed field work with what appears to be a Moline Universal tractor (built 1918-'23). The land roller (below) is one of the earliest and most enduring forms of tillage equipment; the disc harrow (shown above weighted with a log) became commercially available in the 1880s.

 Moline Universal tractor

Land roller


Men with Army truck

I always enjoy Clell Ballard’s articles and the Un-Identical Twins (Farm Collector, May 2014) gave me a real lift. And then that picture — a man standing in front of a rare army truck — caught my eye. Seen that picture before. No, surely not; couldn’t have. Dug a little anyway and sure enough, here it is. Almost surely the same IHC model, only this one appears to be four-wheel drive.

In September 1945, the 260th Signal Corps heavy construction company went to Tokyo to build telephone lines and the like. I was a mechanic in that outfit. We had seven or eight kinds and models of trucks to keep up but this one wasn’t one of them. In the photo, the man on the left was our motor sergeant, Rodney Fuller. On the right was a friend of his who came by to visit him, driving that truck. He was from a quartermaster outfit. Never saw that truck again, and fifth wheel tractors were quite rare in that area, most hauling being done with 6x6s.

One more thing. As Ballard noted, there were very few military trucks at that time rated over 5 tons. We had one, a 6x6 Ward LaFrance wrecker. Arthur Coy poses with it in the other photo. Rated 10 tons. Now, does that qualify to make the twins triplets? Or maybe cousins?

Army truck

Bob Good, Harrison, Arkansas

Mid Michigan Old Gas Tractor Assn Inc

The dates for the 40th annual Mid Michigan Old Gas Tractor Assn. Inc. show were incorrectly listed in the July and August 2014 issues of Farm Collector. The correct days for this spectacular show are Aug. 15 through the 17. Gates open at 7 a.m. each day. Donations are $10 for adults, $5 for students 18 and under, and children under 12 are free when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Seniors will be admitted for $5 on Friday.

The feature is Huber tractors and equipment. The MMOGTA show is known for being a working tractor show. There will be Saturday night fireworks and good food can be found on the show grounds. Other things to check out at the show include live harvesting and tilling demonstrations, a tractor raffle, bingo, a blacksmith shop, a handle mill, veneer mill, steam engines, sawmill with 80 hp Fairbanks Upright, tractor pulls, good security, flea markets, arts and crafts, and specialty crop exhibits.

The show grounds are located at the corner of Brennan and Ferden Roads: 17180 W. Ferden Rd., Oakley, MI 48649. Travel 10 miles north of Owosso, Michigan, on M-52 to Oakley, then 4 miles west and 1 mile north. Primitive camping is available.

For more information contact Bill Koski (989) 723-2369; Frank Young (989) 865-9020; Don Hart (989) 845-7221; Flea market contact Brad Lab (989) 723-5546. Visit them online at

We apologize to the Mid Michigan Old Gas Tractor Assn. Inc. for the error.


old timey thresher

I found the article on restoring threshing machines very interesting.

As a youngster, I always looked forward to the arrival of the threshing machine. What an event! By the mid-1950s I could drive a tractor for loading grain bundles. My favorite was a nearly new John Deere Model 50. It even had power steering!

At the end of the 1950s, threshing days were just a memory, and remained so for many years. In about 1990, a group of area folks with similar interests organized the Old Time Farmfest Lions. It is now an annual event. I am a member of the threshing crew. So, after more than 30 years, threshing days are here again.

Twelve years ago I purchased my first threshing machine. I dismantled it for repairs and painted it. Since then I’ve repeated that procedure on two more threshing machines. At this time, three more are awaiting restoration.

What unusual finds there are in old threshing machines. McCormick-Deering no. 28-4357C had a wood toolbox on top, covered with oil and grease. Inside were the usual tools and shipping papers. The thresher was shipped by rail on May 15, 1929, to Prairie du Sac, Wis.

On another thresher, Case no. 78902, some kind of rodents packed the interior with bushels of walnuts. The only knives that would turn were the knives on the feeder.

Richard E. Ruben, W482 County Rd. P, Fountain City, WI 54629


A homemade jigger

Ben Goossen and his brothers Abe and Walter of Rosenort, Manitoba, Canada, built a “jigger” in 1946 for odd jobs around the farm, such as hauling fuel, spraying fields, mowing and even firefighting. Some might call it a “run-about” or compare it to the modern go-kart or an ATV.

The Goossen “jigger” was constructed from an Overland car frame (1920s vintage) and the front and rear axles of a Model A Ford. It featured a double transmission with 10 speeds forward and four reverse to compensate for its lower-power engines.

The first engine was a 2 hp Wisconsin. The Goossen engineering team found that the jigger was under-powered and replaced the first engine with a larger one. Over time, the jigger had four engines, each one growing in size, according to Ben Goossen. The vehicle currently uses a 14 hp Wisconsin.

The jigger is now owned by a grandson in southwest Kansas and the great-grandchildren have a great time riding in it.

An interesting story about Ben and Abe Goossen that would make all “accumulators” envious: They owned a bomber. After World War II, the Goossens (like many farmers) were buying surplus bombers for the same as scrap. These seven-passenger planes had two 7-cylinder engines. The wingspan measured 42 feet; the plane was 32 feet, 9 inches long. It had a steel tube fuselage faired with spruce and covered with fabric. Built by Cessna, painted bright yellow and used for training, the planes were often nicknamed “the crane” or “the bamboo bomber” by airmen.

To get these planes home, farmers unbolted the wings, put the tail in the back of a grain truck and pulled them down the highway. Back home, some would even get brave. They’d bolt the wings back on, start the engines and taxi around their fields. In the end, the planes were dismantled. Some remains were left in fence corners for years.

Richard Stout, 3105 Larch Ave., Washington, IA 52353

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