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Long and strong, the humble threshing belt was literally the tie that bound farming equipment together.


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Besides the faithful steam engine and thresher, the lasting impression of any threshing scene has to be the threshing belt. Long and strong, the humble threshing belt was literally the tie that bound farming equipment together. After all, without a belt, you weren't going to get anything threshed, nor were you going to run a host of other equipment depended upon day after day to keep the farm running.

In this day of highly mechanized combine harvesters, it's easy to forget the importance of a good threshing belt. At one time, belt-making operations dotted the country, as dozens of companies fought for the top slot in the market for threshing belts.

Chief among these competitors were United States Rubber Co., New York City, N.Y., and Hettrick Manufacturing Co., Toledo, Ohio, whose ads appeared in almost every issue of the venerable farming publication The American Thresherman.

The ads shown here appeared in the August 1924 issue, where, predictably enough, both companies touted the superiority of their belts. Hettrick liked to call particular attention to offering both red and black belts, while United States Rubber stressed the dependability of its "Sawyer" line of belts. Which ever belt a farmer chose, the work obviously got done.

As late as 1956, International Harvester Co. continued to produce a belt-driven thresher. The next year, it was no longer offered, and as the old thresher finally gave way to modern machinery, the storied threshing scene, and the belt that made it possible, became a thing of the past.

About the only time you'll see a belt in action these days is at a farm show, and anyone new to the concept is amazed at the length and strength of this simple piece of equipment.

Belt-making equipment, especially the old belt lacers used to clip the ends of a belt together, has become collectible, and those lucky enough to have working knowledge of belts and belting are in high demand at the hundreds of farm and threshing shows now held across the country.

Farm Collector periodically reproduces some of the most spectacular advertisements used to promote farm equipment and farm products in days gone by. To submit a vintage advertisement for possible publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by e-mail: