Collecting Sandwich Equipment
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All hand shellers are of the first-named type, but some of the power shellers are of the second type. The latter are cheaper and of simpler construction, and seldom get out of order. They break the cobs badly and small pieces of cobs are more numerous in the corn than when spring shellers are used. For this reason, the spring sheller is considered superior. The unbroken cobs are much better fuel.”
The article, which featured an illustration of a Sandwich 4-hole mounted belt corn sheller with right-angle belt attachment, noted that each of the shellers included a cleaning device that separated chaff, husks and cobs from the shelled corn as well as elevators that moved both corn and cobs.
Keeping it real
Dave recently finished restoring an 8-hole Sandwich corn sheller. Authentic restorations are a priority for him. He kept as much of the original paint as he could, and even goes so far as to search for correct bolts. “I’ve just worked at restoring and painting the equipment over the years,” he says. “In summer I’m a crane operator. In the winter I paint tractors. According to the Sandwich literature, the Sandwich engines were really pretty and the paint jobs were very good quality. They put five coats of iron filler on the engines and then painted them a rich, Brewster green. After that, they were pinstriped and received a coat of shellac. They were pretty shiny after all that.”
In the early 1930s, the Sandwich company was purchased by New Idea Mfg. Co., Coldwater, Ohio. New Idea continued to make corn shellers for several years. The company produced a 1-hole spring sheller that could be operated either with a hand crank or power. Farmers liked the small shellers because it wasn’t always practical to hire a large custom sheller to come in; with a small sheller, they could generate what they needed for immediate use. New Idea also sold parts for Sandwich engines into the 1940s.
“There had to be a good Sandwich dealer in this region somewhere,” Dave says, “because you do see a number of Sandwich engines and some of their equipment here. Newcastle, Neb., is where my sheller came from. My 10-horse engine came from Canistota, S.D.”
Successful Illinois farmers tended to purchase new equipment every few years. Still, some held on to their equipment. Dave and his father found a 1914 Sandwich 6 hp engine originally used about two miles from where Dave’s father was born. The farmer they purchased it from was the original owner. “We were so happy to have that,” Dave says.
Used farm equipment traded in by Illinois farmers was often shipped to Wisconsin dealers. Dave suspects that at least some of the used items made their way to South Dakota too. Over the past 35 years, he has garnered some tidbits about Sandwich equipment that he shares with other collectors and interested visitors.