Relics From Grain Elevators
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Premiums have always been part of Jim’s family’s business. The assortment they’ve offered includes mini-flashlights, screwdrivers, rain gauges, playing cards and pens, and balloons for kids.
Bright as an Oscar
Magnetic clips have lasting appeal. When a loaded truck arrives at the elevator, it is driven onto the scale to be weighed. The grain is tested for moisture and quality, then hauled into the elevator and dumped into the pit. The truck is weighed again and the farmer is given a ticket indicating how much of his grain is stored in the elevator. He can sell immediately or store the grain for a fee until the price suits him. Having a clip of tickets on the refrigerator is either comforting or problematic, depending on the year.
A heavy, brass-colored paperweight sits on Jim’s desk, a premium from Chalmers & Borton Construction Co. Pat Augustine, who works at the company today known as Borton, Inc., says the company used the paperweights as premiums into the early 1960s. The paperweights were produced in pewter, brass and copper finishes; a few remain in storage at Borton offices.
The hunt continues
Linda stops to look in a few boxes of junk that have probably just come from an auction as she leaves the flea market, discouraged, with only a couple of pencils to add to her collection. Pawing under some glass items, she spies a blue elevator toothpick holder. Tagged at $1, it’s priced to sell. Her day is complete. FC
For more information:
– The Country Grain Elevator Historical Society was founded in 1996 “to promote the preservation of country grain elevators and their history by the collection, conservation and dissemination of information for documentary and educational purposes.” Members receive four newsletters per year. The Country Grain Elevator Historical Society, 155 Prospector Trail, Bozeman, MT 59718-7988; online at The Country Grain Elevator
– Contact Linda Laird at (520) 393-0623 or online at Grain Elevator Press.
Read more about grain elevators in New Book Examines American Grain Elevators.
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