LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Rex MillerSeed cleaner

Content Tools

The April 2004 issue was my first exposure to Farm Collector magazine. The magazine is great, and the pictures, page backgrounds and printing are all of the highest quality. Of course, the article on Cub Cadets was especially interesting to me. The pictures of the Cadets were outstanding, and Hank Will did his usual superb job covering the subject.

I have a life-long love affair with tractors and farm equipment and was fortunate enough to spend my working days with these products. My first time driving a tractor was on a John Deere A for a threshing crew when I was 10 years old for $2 a day and my lunch. It had the hand clutch, so it would go from shock to shock if the driver just leaned on it.

During my lifetime, I have seen the tractors go from the old to the modern units we see today. My working life covered tractors from the 706-806 Series to the Case IH MX Series of tractors as well as Cadets and field-working machinery. The technology in this tractor and others like it could not even be imagined in the early days. However, those early tractors are still the ones that are dear to the hearts of people like me.

Cub Cadets are still my real love because it was so much fun to design and drive them. The design could be handled by a few people, and you really felt ownership of the design. That sometimes gets lost on the modern-day tractors because of the complexity and specialization required. It is exciting for me to see how devoted many collectors are to their favorite old brand today and especially to Cub Cadets.

Keep up the good work with your magazine so we never forget the heritage of yesterday's machinery.

- Harold Schramm 4031 Longmeadow Road Downers Grove, IL 60515

e-mail: hschramm@comcast.net

Walking plow hook takes the strain

I received the April 2004 edition of the Farm Collector. A gentleman wanted to know what the hook on the side of a walking plow beam was for. The hook is for a brace from the hook to the pin that goes through the clevis. It is to take the strain off the clevis pin.

I am 86 years old and enjoy your magazine very much.

- Howard Fay 19073 Route 52 N. Durango, IA 52039

Who's the 'BOSS?'

In your March 2004 issue on page 9, 'Iron Age Ads,' you had an advertisement about the Old Reliable Russell line. I have a full-bodied, cast iron Bull with 'BOSS' in raised letters on both sides. I wonder if any of your readers have any information about it or if it is affiliated with the company? It's 15 1/2 inches long and 12 inches tall. I wonder if it has any value or what product it advertised?

I acquired it in the mid-1960s, so I don't think it is a reproduction.

- Donald L Saar 29560 Highway 92 Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Cotton chopper update

My husband finished working on the cotton chopper published in the March 2004 issue. You'll note he put on metal wheels instead of the pneumatic tires that came on it. The tires were a problem to find, and he decided the metal wheels he had made would look better.

We did receive some responses from your readers, which we were happy to get. We also had a neighbor make the chopper blades as close as possible to the descriptions we received.

Thank you very much for your help. My husband is so proud of the chopper, as you can see from the picture.

- Donald and Louise Smith Whitesboro, Texas

e-mail: donald_louise@earthlink. net

The Fordson folly or good times weren't always so good

The Fordson tractor article in the March 2004 Farm Collector spooked several memories from my boyhood. We had a Fordson when we moved to Mason, Mich., in 1929 - I was 5 years old at the time. The Fordson sat idle down the lane, occasionally it was cranked for what seemed like an hour or so until the decision was made to harness the team to go to work.

The second memory is of the unearthly howl, which could be heard for a mile or more, when some neighbor finally got his Fordson started.

None of the pictures used in the article show the familiar rear fenders I remember. My father explained that because of the gearing on the rear axle, the tractor could flip over backward, instantly trapping, maiming or sometimes killing the operator. The fenders were designed to strike the ground in back of the rear wheels to stop the rearing motion.

One story was told of the train crew on the Pere Marquette west of Lansing, Mich., that noticed an overturned tractor near the tracks, stopped at the next station and alerted the depot agent who then called the family to notify them of the accident.

So much for some of the 'good ol' days.' Not all were really that good.

- George Fogle 2611 Okemos Road Mason, Ml 48854

(517)349-5185 e-mail: sbsfarms@tds.net

Tribute to the Harvest Brigade

Everyone should read the story of the 'Harvest Brigade' in the September 2002 Farm Collector. I am almost 80, and Sam Moore has it right - the only thing I could add is chief sale representative Joe Tucker's 'reward' was later being fired by Massey-Harris.

Sixty years ago, I was home on leave from the war in the spring. I could see at last the farmers were going to have a good wheat crop, but with their sons gone, how were they going to harvest? Of course, I was thinking about how they were going to pay their bills with the wheat crop.

There is one more side of the story I didn't think of, and I learned right away that people were hungry in Europe. The reason I'm telling you this is great tributes have been paid to the soldiers, Rosie the Riveter, great industrial mights, etc., but not one tribute to the American farmer. They fed the whole world for nothing, as there was a ceiling price on his products. There were 12 million of  our soldiers to feed besides the English and the French.

On April 22 or 23, 1944, we flew our last bombing mission. The war was over on May 8, 1944; I guess plenty of food was left, so it was loaded on the bombers and dumped out to the people in the Low Countries. Yes, I think we should celebrate this year the anniversary of the great harvest of 1944. Cod knew what he was doing when the world needed that crop! A Massey combine on a Chevrolet truck is the way farmers hauled the combines south and north. The picture belongs to my neighbor, and their son is standing on the bumper. What's great about all this is that the owner is still farming full-time in his middle 80s and still uses the truck.

The other picture is a Massey 21 A, made in the late 1940s, I fixed it up in 1995 as a hobby. It's all original except the reel, and the combine is now owned by Jim Esbenshade, Colbert, Okla.

- Lloyd Olson 1164 28th Road Morganville, KS 67468 (785) 926-3737

Salesman's sample of what?

I need information on what I think is a very early model for a stripper-head combine - early 1900s - maybe a salesman's sample. The sickle is approximately 8 inches long. The conveyor on the flat deck has wooden slats fastened to a leather belt on each side, running-over rollers at front and rear. The flat surface is perforated like a sieve. The conveyor carries the straw and chaff off the rear. On its forward return, it dumps grain and chaff (no cleaning fan anywhere) into an auger just to the rear and under the sickle. The auger moves it to the upright elevator, and the short auger carries it to the rear then down a short tube to a sacking station.

Power comes from the left wheel to a gearbox - everything is gear-driven, no belts or chains. There are levers to raise and lower the reel, also a lever to raise the header and one lever to lower the threshing reel. A two-batt reel, four-sided drum on each batt does the threshing. These drums are free-wheeling - no concaves. There is canvas or tarp over the two half bows to cover the threshing operation. It probably had two small wheels in the front to carry weight and might have been horse-drawn. There is no name on it anywhere.

Thanks for any information you can furnish.

- Royce Levin R.R. 1, Box 138 Kensington, KS 66951

e-mail: nivel@ruraltel.net

A truly 'domestic' tractor

- Ben Jensen 19312 Highway 411 Springville, AL 35146

Seed cleaner confusion

- Rex Miller 8764 Leichty Road Smithville, OH 44677

e-mail millerex@aol.com

Grilled about a drill

It was probably made in the 1930s and was pulled by a horse or mule. International Harvester made it, but the only numbers I can find are the part numbers, nothing else.

I'd like to find out how old it is, how many were made and how much it might be worth. I farmed in the late 1940s and 1950s, but this drill is before my time.

- Sam Pylypczuk Jr. 3103 N. Prospect St.Colorado Springs, CO 80907 (719)633-4055

Follow-up

Letter from the March 2004 issue of Farm Collector:

This little press has been lying around our farm for the last 60 years, and to this day no one has been able to identify its purpose.

There must be someone in your great country who can enlighten my curiosity. It stands about 12 inches tall and was originally nickel plated. It is not a precision machine, but punches 15 holes 1/16-inch to 1/2-inch each time it's screwed down. A brass nameplate says it's 'Manufactured by W.M. Sharp Company, Philadelphia USA.'

- Evan Lanyon, P.O. Box 101, Boort 3537 Victoria, Australia

Answer:

There must have been a dentist back in your family tree somewhere. The press is a 'device for drawing metal tooth-caps' according to its inventor, Warren Sharp, in a 1903 patent.

- Jim Mau 1453 W. Juanita Ave. Mesa, AZ 85202

e-mail: jimmau@cox.net

Threshing out memories

I read with considerable interest the article, 'Still Threshin' After All These Years' in the March 2004 edition. I haven't thought about a threshing machine in many, many years, but Farm Collector brought the memories flooding back.

My memories are those of a young girl who grew up with the threshing machine playing a very pivotal, annual happening in her life. I believe the threshing crew and how they worked and cooperated to get the job done would be an even more interesting article.

The threshing machine played second fiddle to the binder that cut the grain and tied it in sheaves with binder twine. Those sheaves were arranged in stalks where they stood to dry and wait for their trip through the threshing machine. Have you considered an article on the binder? Someone out there must have one of them. A picture of the stalks of grain standing in straight rows is worthy of any magazine cover.

- Mary H. Shay 21 Beacon Point Road P.O. Box 791 Pocasset, MA 02559-0791 (508) 563-5259

e-mail:halemary9@aol.com'

Editor's note: Read more about Harold's days as an engineer for IH and his unique experimental Cub Cadet on page 20.

Editor's note: To learn more about the Great Harvest Brigade, read Harvesting a Field of Dreams,' Farm Collector, October 2003.