Sweep Power Steps It Up
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By 1900, the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Co. no longer offered tread powers, but they still sold 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 14-horse Dingee Sweep Powers (with equalizers) at $150 for the 6-horse version, up to $190 for the 14-horse. Case's 28'x50' Agitator separator (without an air stacker or self-feeder) sold for $385, so the Dingee sweep wasn't a cheap item, especially when the cost of teams was added. In comparison, a Case 12-horse steam traction engine cost $1,200 in 1900.
The 1908 Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog advertised 2-, 4- and 6-horse sweep powers for $20.75, $28.15 and $30.75 respectively, including 20 feet of tumbling rod, three couplings, rod block, platform and a spring hitch for each sweep. The 6-horse model weighed 1,050 pounds and seems to have been a real bargain at 34 cents per pound.
The 1880s saw many improvements to threshing machines, including self feeders and band cutters, grain elevators and weighers, and wind stackers, in addition to larger and larger capacities. Each of these features demanded additional power to operate, exceeding the capabilities of even the largest sweep powers. The stage was set for the steam engine to ponderously huff and puff onto the scene, belching smoke and hot ashes - not a pretty sight for horse lovers. FC
Ever since his days as a boy on a farm in western Pennsylvania, Sam Moore has been interested in tractors, trucks and machinery. Now a resident of Salem, Ohio, he collects antique tractors, implements and related items.
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