When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was The Story of a Bad Boy, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, in which he told of his escapades as a young boy growing up in 19th century New England. I guess the following tale of some of my misuses and abuses of our little Ford Ferguson tractor back in the 1940s could bear the same title. I wouldn’t dare confess to these antics if my father was still living, and I still don’t know how I got away with them without him knowing (maybe I didn’t).
The H____ family lived about a mile from our farm in western Pennsylvania. There were three H____ boys, Thornton who was my age, John a little older, and Bob a little younger. We loved to play cowboys and Indians and when I could get away with it, I’d drive the tractor to their place and we’d use it as our stagecoach. There was a large field across the driveway from their house that was grown up with sapling trees and chest-high bushes. This field was our Wild, Wild West.
A couple of the H____ boys would go out into the field and set up an ambush and I’d come crashing through the underbrush on the tractor. When they sprang their trap, I’d shut off the ignition key and jump from the Ford (while it was still moving) in order to return the hostile fire. It’s a wonder we didn’t wreck the tractor, or run over one another.
My cousin Bob, who lived in town, would always spend four or five weeks with us every summer. Although he was two years younger than me, he was the same size and we got into lots of mischief together, with him riding a rear fender of the Ford, or, sometimes driving it.
One of my favorite tricks was to hook a length of baling wire to the governor arm and hold the engine governor wide open while roaring down the road in high gear. This stunt upped the Ford’s road speed from a sedate 10 miles per hour to something a lot faster.
Bob and I would occasionally ride our bikes into Negley, Ohio, a small town about five miles from the farm. Here we bought candy and pop, and one store would sell me a pack of cigarettes even though I was only thirteen or fourteen (I suppose I told the clerk the cigarettes were for my father, even though he didn’t smoke. Probably didn’t fool the clerk either.).
One day, when Dad must have been away, we hooked up the governor wire and drove that Ford tractor all the way to Negley and back with the engine roaring at many more RPM than it was designed for—I can’t imagine why it didn’t blow up.
On warm summer evenings (remember, this was in the days before bucket seats and center consoles raised a huge barrier to young love in a parked car) guys and their girlfriends would often park along the secluded dirt roads around our farm for a session of “necking.” Certain parking spots were favored by these folks and we kids knew where every one of them was. Sneaking up on these lovers and disturbing them was a sport we called “bushwacking.”
We usually did this on our bikes, but once in a while (probably when Mom and Dad were away for the evening), we took the tractor. I recall one night in particular when it was dark, but there was some moonlight. With Bob on the fender as usual, I shut off the tractor’s lights and eased up to within about one hundred yards of a parked car. We then tiptoed up behind the sedan, whose occupants were deeply engrossed in what they were doing.
We began banging on the sides of the car and yelling, before taking off on a dead run back to the tractor. There had been two couples in the car and both guys unexpectedly jumped out and chased us. Well, we got back to the tractor with a good margin of safety and I hit the starter button. The old Ford’s engine turned over but wouldn’t catch. The two guys were getting closer and were yelling all the dire things they were going to do to us, when that stupid engine finally fired, I jammed the transmission into high gear and away we went. They came after us in the car, but we cut across a field and got away.
That was the first time any one we’d bushwacked ever came after us and we were a little more careful after that.
I’m sure Dad thought I was a trustworthy and responsible kid, but little did he know. Here I was, not only risking damage to the Ford Ferguson tractor, which was essential to our farming operation, but I was jeopardizing my cousin’s life and my own (especially if those two guys had caught us). When I think back on it, I’m not exactly proud of my behavior.
Now a disclaimer for any kids who might be reading this. DO NOT try these stunts with one of your father’s tractors. You might not be as lucky as I was.
This list of things you should not do as a gas engine operator appeared in the January, 1917 issue of Gas Review magazine. Antique tractor and gas engine owners today can benefit from many of these hints.
1. Don’t pull off the magneto and take it apart because the fuel tank is empty.
2. Don’t try to run a tractor one more round with the oil low in the lubricator.
3. Don’t let a knocking rod run “until noon.” It may loosen and then there will be something doing.
4. Don’t use the starter frequently and drive at slow speed all day; batteries must be kept charged.
5. Don’t run a tractor onto soft ground and then cuss because the drivers cut in (wheels spin).
6. Don’t take off the magneto or timing gears unless you know how to put them in time again.
7. Don’t try to get a spark from a coil, magneto, or make-and-break igniter when the points come together; the “kick” comes when they separate.
8. Don’t try to grind valves with powdered fire clay; get flour emery or you will work all day with little result.
9. Don’t expect to get any service from dry cells if they are exposed to storm and cold.
10. Don’t try to pull a load with a kerosene engine when it pounds hard. The pistons are almost certain to stick then.
11. Don’t try to use heavy fuel in a two-cycle boat engine unless it has some sort of fuel injection device.
12. Don’t try to go ahead with a tractor after the drivers begin to slip. Be sure of the footing or back out of there if unsure.
13. Don’t crank an engine until you are tired when it’s so cold that no vapor forms in the cylinder; the spark can’t ignite liquid fuel.
14. Don’t allow any leakage of fuel as a serious fire may result.
15. Don’t expect storage batteries to take care of themselves or new plates may be required.
16. Don’t try to run a motorcycle engine with inferior lubricating oil; this type of engine requires a mighty good article.
17. Don’t try to keep a hopper cooled engine from boiling away the water.
18. Don’t walk along in front of a tractor. I heard of one man who did and stumbled. The neighbors came to his funeral.
19. Don’t use the lights of a lighting system too long before the engine is started to recharge the storage battery.
20. Don’t, for goodness sake, put any acid in the storage battery unless you are sure you know what you’re doing.
21. Don’t be a hammer, wrench and cuss expert; use a lot of good common sense.
22. Don’t think that this covers the ground. Study every point in the operation of gas engines.
As if to prove “Don’t” no. 18, this item appeared in the September, 1917 issue of the same magazine under the heading: A BAD PRACTICE. The engineer (operator) of a tractor with an automatic steering device got off to walk.
Anyone who has run a big tractor in the Dakotas where the furrow is often a mile in length knows that the days are long and tiresome. The condition is not much better if the tractor has a steering device. In this case, the engineer was the only man with the outfit. Since the engine steered itself along the furrow it is probable that the engineer got off to walk and rest himself from the vibration of the engine. At any rate he was walking in the furrow ahead of the driving wheel. No one will ever know just what happened for the lad was dead when they found him. Evidently he had slipped and fallen under the wheel.
Advice.—Never walk close in front of the driving wheels. If you slip and are stunned by the fall the drivers move “awful fast.” It is a safe rule to release the traction clutch and stop the machine if you have to examine something in front of the tractor. This is especially true if a man is working alone in a big field.
I’ll add one more “Don’t,” especially for the “Johnny Popper” owners: Don’t begin immediately tampering with the carburetor settings when your engine starts missing without first checking for a fouled spark plug. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this (yes, I’ve done it myself), even going so far as to remove and clean the carb, only to find a fouled plug was the problem.
Dale and Ed Brenner’s Model H as it looks today.
I have an older friend named Dale Brenner who is 92. Dale grew up on an eastern Ohio farm and as a young man worked at a John Deere dealership called Kensington Supply Company, in Kensington, Ohio. Some years ago [2004, as I recall], I asked Dale to write down some of his experiences as a youngster and here are two that I found especially interesting.
By Dale Brenner
I was just a teenager [age 16] in 1937, we were farming with horses, and I wanted wheels! Here’s the story of how I got to plow with a John Deere Model 62 that year.
Our local John Deere dealer had arranged a tractor plowing demonstration at a nearby farm, and I coaxed my father into attending (and taking me, of course). At the demonstration was a new Model 62 tractor with a 12-inch, one-bottom mounted plow. Also on hand was a Model B tractor, equipped with steel wheels and a one-bottom mounted plow, as well as a Model A on steel, with a No. 4B two-bottom plow.
The spectators were given the opportunity of trying out the tractors and plows and every chance I got, I was on that Model 62. I don’t remember how many rounds I made, but every time no one was on the 62, I was plowing with it.
One of the things that impressed me about the demonstration was the way the tractors were brought there. Two block men hauled in those three tractors and plows and they didn’t have trucks. Each man drove a 1936 Chevrolet Master two-door sedan with a low, two-wheeled John Deere trailer behind. One trailer had the Model A tractor and 4B plow aboard, while the other carried the Model B and plow, as well as the Model 62 and plow. That was a lot of weight for those 3000-pound Chevys, with their 206.8 cubic-inch engines that put out less than 80 horsepower. Quite a difference from today when everything has to have hundreds of horsepower.
By the way, Dad didn’t buy a tractor that year, but we did get one later. It was a John Deere Model H, the second one our dealer got after the H was introduced during the spring of 1939.
Dale and his son Ed have that very John Deere H, restored to like new condition. Dale knew where it was for years and tried to buy it but, as so often happens, the owner wouldn’t sell. Finally, a few years ago, the owner died and Dale and Ed made sure they got it.
A John Deere Model 62 tractor in the Dale Brenner’s collection.
How I Met My Spouse
By Dale Brenner
In the summer of 1941, I was working for a John Deere dealership [Kensington Supply], and we had a machinery exhibit set up at our local county fair [Columbiana County, Ohio]. The competing International Harvester dealer [O.S. Hill] from a neighboring town [Lisbon, Ohio] had a display of Farmall tractors and McCormick- Deering machinery at the fair as well.
While walking through the exhibits one afternoon, I met the owner of the International dealership, along with his wife and sister. I had seen the sister a couple of times at our county church youth meetings, but had never really met her. After talking to the three for awhile, I jokingly asked the sister to ride with me while I drove one of our John Deere tractors in the parade that evening.
At first she said no, but finally agreed, at her brother’s insistence. After the parade that evening, we enjoyed the fair and she rode with me in the parades the next two nights.
The next year we were married and a month later, the first piece of mail we received was my draft notice. I spent three and a half years in the Army Air Corps in England, France, Belgium and Germany before getting back to my bride. Now, after sixty two years of marriage, during which we raised three children, we are still together, although we’re not as lively as we were in 1941.
Sadly, Dorothy Brenner passed away on March 18, 2004, shortly after the above was written.
For centuries, small grains were sown by broadcasting, or scattering the seed by hand onto suitably prepared ground. After sowing, the field had to be harrowed to cover the seeds. This often resulted in seeds that were covered so deep that they were unable to grow, or that were barely, or not covered at all, and were easy prey for birds and rodents.
About 1801 Jethro Tull, a progressive English farmer, made a successful grain drill. A wheeled, 2-row machine, Tull’s contraption opened channels in the soil, dropped the seeds into the channels and then covered them. Essentially, those functions are identical to the ones performed by today’s grain drills. Although drills were slow to catch on, in part due to often violent opposition from British farm laborers who believed the machines would put them out of work, their use gradually spread.
In this country drills were virtually unheard of before 1840, but in 1841 Samuel and Moses Pennock of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, patented a 7-row machine. In North Carolina, Richard J. Gatling, who invented the Gatling gun, developed what he called Gatling’s Seed Planting Harrow during the 1840s and claimed that in actual field tests wheat sown broadcast by hand yielded 34 bushels per acre, while 42 bushels was the average for grain planted with his machine. Other American inventors got into the act and before the Civil War a force feed drill was developed.
During the mid-nineteenth century, there were billions of passenger pigeons in North America. In 1854, a Wayne County, New York resident wrote: “There would be days and days when the air was alive with them, hardly a break occurring in the flocks for half a day at a time. Flocks stretched as far as a person could see, one tier above another.” The birds seemed to know that anytime they saw a man in a field scattering something it meant dinner was served, and they would descend on the fields in their millions and clean up virtually every grain.
The passenger pigeon’s prime nesting area was around the Great Lakes, and the State of Wisconsin got more than their share of the birds. It stands to reason, then, that two Wisconsin men, brothers George W. and Daniel C. Van Brunt, would have been pioneers in developing a successful grain drill that would prepare a series of furrows, or trenches in the soil, drop in a measured row of seeds, and then cover those seeds with an even layer of earth, all before the birds got to them.
In 1860, George Van Brunt carved a model of a force-feed device for a seeder out of a turnip, a design that later became known as the fluted force feed which is still used on non-air grain drills today. Van Brunt and his brother, Daniel, built seven seeders in their shop in Mayville, Wisconsin that year, but moved it six miles down the road to Horicon the next year. About this time, George left the firm, but Daniel persevered, patenting several improvements to his grain drill. By the end of the War Between the States (the Civil War, to Yankees), Van Brunt was a successful firm, and by 1910, was a major supplier of grain seeding machinery in the upper Midwest and the Plains states.
This success attracted the attention of C. C. Webber, a grandson of John Deere, and manager of Deere’s Minneapolis branch house. Apparently, International Harvester Company had tried to buy the Van Brunt Manufacturing Company during IH’s flurry of acquisitions in the years after its formation in 1902. Daniel Van Brunt had died in 1901, and his son Willard, who was then president, spurned Harvester’s advances. Deere & Company, however, made an offer that Van Brunt couldn’t refuse, and the two companies consolidated in June of 1911, with the factory remaining at Horicon under the existing management.
As many large farm machinery builders did, Deere took advantage of the name, reputation, and good will of their newly-acquired company. Thus, the new grain drills, broadcast seeders, and lime and fertilizer distributers, being sold through the various Deere branch houses all bore the name John Deere-Van Brunt. This was true until about the 1960s, when the Van Brunt name was dropped.
The John Deere-Van Brunt drills of the era were painted as follows: Wood parts, such as grain and fertilizer boxes, foot boards, and tongues, red with yellow lettering and decorative striping and curlicues. Wheels would be yellow and all the steel and iron parts except for the disks and boots were green. Disks, boots, and covering chains were likely all black. These colors would have been used during the 1920s and up until World War Two. At sometime early in the war, Deere phased out red paint and used all green with yellow wheels and lettering. Decorative striping was abandoned at about the same time.
One sometimes sees a small John Deere-Van Brunt 5-disk drill which is a one-horse machine and is designed for seeding between rows of standing corn. An angled fender bar along each side of the drill turns aside leaning stalks, high weeds, or trash, while angled bars on the outside of each hand grip protect the operator’s hands from being cut by corn leaves. A sheet metal corn turner or shield could be attached to the front of the drill to keep from damaging standing corn stalks while planting between the rows.
The small, one-horse drills are nice collectibles and don’t take up a lot of space.
A 1928 catalog illustration of a John Deere-Van Brunt 5-row, one-horse drill with a fertilizer attachment and disc row openers.
The Gleaner S88 combine is almost identical to this S77 model photographed in 2011 at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, and published here courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
I recently read in the Farm and Dairy, our local farm paper, that Gleaner, a subsidiary of AGCO, had announced their new S8 Super Series transverse rotary combines. To a geezer like me with experience only in the rub bar cylinder and concave type machines that were powered by good old honest 4 or 6-cylinder spark-ignition engines, the description sounded like so much gibberish.
Consider: the new machines are said to be “[A] full line of Tier 4 Final, Class 6 through Class 8 platforms and the industry’s first Class 8 transverse rotary combine” and are being “Launched on the Optimum Performance platform.” Not only that, but the combines “are the culmination of design refinements that further reduce the liabilities of weight, size, fuel consumption, wear and complexity while maximizing capacity, grain quality, reliability and durability.” Well! I should hope so!
Gleaner’s marketing manager, Kevin Bien, went on: “We’ve created a light, nimble combine designed so that the horsepower is used to efficiently cut and thresh the crop, not to move a heavy machine or overly complex system through the field.”
The Class 8 Gleaners are said to be some six tons, and Class 7 four tons lighter than competitive models. Now this I understand, as would anyone who’s ever gotten a heavy machine hopelessly mired in a wet field.
Now comes the good part: “Cooler running dual-turbo Tier 4 Final engines pack power. New to Gleaner are the AGCO Power 9.8L seven-cylinder engines, which will power both the S88 and S78 models. These…engines combine selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and external-cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology to meet EPA emissions mandates.
“With efficient, effective diesel exhaust fluid dosing that combines SCR and dual turbochargers with externally cooled EGR, these engines avoid the need for heat-generating diesel particulate filters, so they run cooler and last longer.” Huh? Exhaust fluid dosing? I sure don’t understand modern engines, and we haven’t even gotten into the hydrostatic drive and the separating mechanism itself.
However, our grandfathers and great-grandfathers probably scratched their heads over the mysterious self-tying grain binders that seemed to work almost by magic as the complicated machines kicked out grain bundle after grain bundle, each secured with a length of twine tied around it with a neat knot. And think of it! The whole operation was untouched by human hands. Herbert Quick, born in 1861, grew up on his father’s Iowa farm where the primary crop was wheat. He wrote of the wonderful new Appleby self-binding mechanism that his father put on his Marsh harvester: “It was a marvelous machine to me. It waited until the horses had drawn the thing along so far as to accumulate enough of the cut grain to make a sheaf, and then reached over with a metal finger carrying the twine, compressed the gavel into a sheaf, knotted the twine about the bundle and kicked it off or threw it into a bundle carrier. It was a triumph of mechanical genius.” And probably not one in ten farmers who used the thing had the foggiest notion of how it worked. Cyrus McCormick the Third wrote of those days in 1931: “Machinery was a mysterious thing to farmers, and an owner’s diagnosis of trouble was usually wrong.”
Listen to the description of the Junior Deering Twine Binder in an 1886 Deering Company catalog and try to put yourself into the shoes of a farmer of the day who probably is cutting his grain with a cradle scythe: “Extremely light weight, extremely light draft, great strength and durability, complete adaptability to every to every possible condition of crop and ground and a reliability in good working that no adverse circumstances can overcome.”
Then the catalog gets technical: “The Deering simplified knotter and the Deering rear-geared binder are used on the Junior, as are also the Deering adjuster extension, features that are peculiar to the Deering Self-Binders, and that form a large part of their great success. The Junior reel has a capacity for moving higher, lower, further back and further forward than any other reel. The combination steel and wood main wheel, so thoroughly proved on Deering machines, and the raising and lowering devices and the method of shifting the binder back and forth (having been strengthened), are the same as in 1885. Unlike its imitators, the Junior Deering has a full-sized main wheel and binder decks that slope rapidly to the knotter.” That sturdy farmer of 1886 may also have said, “Huh?” after reading that.
One has to hand it to modern farmers – they need to know a whole lot more about complicated subjects than we did. Not only is the machinery much, much more complicated, but there are such things as precision farming, where computer programs in conjunction with GPS systems guide all sorts of machinery in the field in order to attain maximum crop yield with minimum input of fertilizer, seed, herbicides and fuel. They also have to have a much heftier bank balance than their grandfathers – all of that fancy stuff costs big bucks. Of course, if it all works as it should, the crop will bring in the money.
There is one fly in the ointment though; one that today’s farmer’s ancestors had to deal with as well and that computers can’t do much about – the weather!
A World War I poster showing a woman baking with oat or barley flour or corn meal in order to save wheat flour, as alluded to in Mrs. Doren’s letter. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
In February of 1918, the United States was mobilized for World War I and life on an upstate New York farm, which was never easy, was made more difficult by wartime restrictions. This letter from a farm wife titled “The Story of a Day on a Northern Dairy Farm” chronicled a typical day in her life and appeared in the February 16th issue of the Rural New Yorker.
"A rattle of lantern, of stove lids, of milk pails. Surely it’s not five o’clock yet and “I sae weary,” but I remember that yesterday was washday, and drowsily wish the earth might roll backwards and give us another night’s rest. Then a little head bobs up, a little voice commands, “Put your arms around me,” and the small snuggler whispers, “I’m your girl!” She cannot snuggle long for time has a way of flying at this hour of the morning. Opening the drafts of the wood stove and throwing in some green maple sticks brings a blaze and some degree of warmth to the icy atmosphere.
The kitchen range uses coal and is burning brightly, the men having opened the drafts and put the teakettle on. The tank is full of warm soft water and a good scrub clears away the last cobwebs of weariness. Aunt Jane has already put the oatmeal on and is stirring up buckwheat pancakes. Slices of sausage are put into a granite pan and slipped into the oven to fry. Sounds of hilarity are heard upstairs, so we remind the children that breakfast is almost ready.
The men come in from milking and a couple of pails of milk are run through the separator in order to have some skimmed milk to feed the Holstein calves. At the present price of butter and whole milk, skim-milk is worth over a dollar a hundred, but where are dairy cattle to come from if we do not do our share to raise them.
By this time breakfast is ready, and oatmeal and creamy milk, sausage and puffy brown pancakes with butter and maple syrup, doughnuts and coffee, with milk for the children, disappear with completeness and dispatch. There is bread on the table but very little is eaten. At first when we tried to save bread, everyone suddenly developed a voracious appetite for it, but we have gotten used to eating other food.
The sun rises bright over the hill as we talk over the plans for the day. Then someone hands father the Good Book and he reads the day’s lesson and leads his family in the daily petition for help from above. Then each returns to his work or play, one of the men going out to feed the stock and clean the stables, while the other fills the stoves, starts the engine to pump water, and feeds the calves and pigs. Aunt Jane goes at the dishes while mother puts up lunches for the children who are getting ready for school.
Finally the last hair-ribbon is tied, the last mitten found, and Steve, the four-year-old colt, is at the door with the cutter. It must be confessed that mother and the children enjoy these drives to and from school, and Steve is so gentle, so willing to do instantly just what he is told. The track is heavy this morning—men are already plowing away the snow so the milkman and the mailman may have a better road. The landscape is so white and still that it is a pleasure to see a flock of snowbirds and some blue jays.
Our country school of 20 or more pupils is taught by one of the local girls who is a high school graduate with some additional training. Would we like to give this up for a consolidated school? Not under any consideration. This teacher is a product of our own community and is training our young children as we want them trained and not from some reformer’s experiments.
The milkman, with his big gray team and load of cans, drives in just as I reach home and our milk is started on its six-mile trip to the condensery, where we receive League prices. At the barn the men are busy watering stock, cleaning stables and drawing manure to the field. I wash the separator, bake bread and sort and fold clothes until time for dinner, which consists of potatoes and one other vegetable, beef or pork, and a simple dessert, such as apple dumpling, or rice and maple syrup. We used to bake lots of pies, but feel we should save the sugar this year.
The mailman comes about noon and how we do enjoy the mail! We can hardly wait to get the latest war news and even Mr. Jigg’s affairs have to be looked into. The hired man has a big package of warm clothes from a mail order house and we are glad his order came all right.
Somewhat reluctantly, the men lay aside the papers and start for the woods. This coal shortage has caught many of us napping and now we have to eke out the meager coal supply with green wood.
After the dishes are done, ironing and mending occupy the women’s time until 3:30, when one of them must make the trip to the schoolhouse again. The closest neighbor brings her two-year-old to see our three-year-old and the little ones play while the older ones visit.
The men return with a big load of wood, chores are begun and supper is prepared. Baked potatoes, milk gravy, cheese, johnny cake, milk and canned fruit make up the meal. After supper comes milking and feeding again.
The little folks read or play games until 7:30, their bedtime. A dish of apples is brought up from the cellar, the papers and magazines are produced, and for an hour or two, the family revels in warmth and a quiet rest. As we prepare for bed, we think of the suffering families in Europe, the boys in the trenches and in the hospitals, and can only wish better times ahead for them all.
Mrs. A.G. Doren, St. Lawrence County, N.Y.
I was leafing through the January, 1917 copy of Gas Review, a monthly magazine published in Madison, Wisconsin during the early decades of the 20th Century. The magazine was “For the Gas and Oil Engine User,” and discussed all sorts of mechanical stuff. The editor occasionally tried to inject a little humor into the pages and one of these efforts is quoted here. This was during World War I and anti-German sentiment was high and the piece, which was titled: “Jake Installs a Vacuum Cleaner” has “Jake Schmidt” telling of his experience with a salesman (agent) in heavily German accented English. I won’t use the weird spelling but will keep some of the accent.
What a nuisance is agents. They is always coming and spoiling the peace and quiet of a man’s home.
Over six weeks ago comes a man what say he has invention that my wife got to have or she kill herself with housekeeping. And I tell that feller right away that he don’t know anything about my wife cause she ain’t never killed herself yet with housekeeping.
And he say he has got a machine that will clean anything. It sweeps the floors and cleans the window curtains. It polishes the stove and cleans the rugs. It cleans the mattresses and quilts and you don’t even have to get out of bed while the mattress is being cleaned. It will clean down the cobwebs and the pictures on the wall. Ach! I don’t know what it won’t do. He tells me about seven hundred things that it clean.
And he say that a child can work it and that it is so easy it’s foolproof. And I tell him he don’t need to think my wife and I are old fools. He say he don’t mean no offence but would like to show us what we can do with that machine.
So we go in the house and he turns a crank and pushes a long hose all over the floor. And I can’t see what he is doing but pretty soon he opens the bag and it is full of dirt. He say there is a vacuum in the hose and that goes out and picks up all the dust and that in the way. Just then our old cat is running out the door and that vacuum reached out and grabbed that cat and you ought to see the fur fly. That poor animal is looking like a elephant now and all the fur is in the bag.
And the more I holler at my wife, the more careless she is and switches that hose around everywhere. The next thing she knows the piano scarf is running down that hose and that made her so mad she laid down the hose on the sofa and come to me to tell me what an old fool I am to spoil her piano scarf, but right away that vacuum does some more mischief. It pulled all the feathers out of the feather duster that was on the sofa and then it grabbed the curtains off the window and pulled those into the bag.
By golly, I think that there is a cyclone and my wife is so mad as wet hen. And she picked up that hose and is going to push me out of the room and the vacuum it just reached out and grabbed my whiskers and I think sure that I lose ‘em. But right away I stop turning that crank to get my whiskers out and when I stop turning, the vacuum it let go.
That vacuum is all right, but when something happens you better stop turning the crank, by golly!
Cartoon that accompanied the story in the original, although I changed what Jake said as the original didn’t make sense.