A 1960s Story Finally in Print

Aultman Taylor steam engine

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Sr. Submitted by his son, Ted Smith P.O. Box 680 Norwalk, Ohio 44857-0680

This story was written by my father before the day of Gas Engine Magazine, so that is why he talks about the tractors my grandfather owned. Dad is now 73 years old, and has no idea I found this story and had it typed up for submission to Iron Men Album. Ted Smith.

Dad writes:
'Dear Editor,
'I have been a reader of your excellent magazine for some time. I have a picture I am sending you if you care to put it in the Album. I am a steam fan and also an early gas fan. My father's side of the family has always been engaged in custom threshing, sawmilling, silo filling, building moving, corn husking, road grading and steam road rolling. My father is in his late sixties. He has threshed for 43 years without missing a season. We had to quit in 1947 as there wasn't enough to pay us to keep us going.

'My great-grandfather started with Case machinery. He started with a Case separator and portable Westinghouse engine. He ran this rig for a short time and bought a new Case separator and Case center crank engine. He ran the rig for some time, then his age and health forced him to give up, so his sons took over (two brothers). They traded the old rig off for a 16 HP Huber engine and a new Minneapolis separator. After a while my father bought them out and ran the rig for a while. The old 16 HP Huber was a little light for the big old wooden Minneapolis separator. They claim it was a good machine but pulled very hard. The old saying was it took a 90 horse engine to pull it. My father bought a 22 HP Russell compound which he cursed from the day he bought it. He kept the Russell for four or five years, sold it and bought a 20 HP Aultman and Taylor. The next year he bought a 32 x 54 Western Special Case separator, which he used until he quit threshing. We had the Minneapolis separator for a while and used a 23-90 Baker engine on it to help do the threshing. The 23-90 Baker engine belonged to a saw mill and lumber dealer. As time went on, steam was going out in our locality, so we had to give way to gas. Help was getting to be a problem, and also we had a drought in our section and water became a problem.

'The last couple of years he used steam and I was getting big enough to help him some. In the year 1927 Dad bought a new 25-50 Baker tractor but it was not delivered until May of 1928. From then on it was up to me to help him do the threshing, corn husking, sawmilling, road grading, and moving of buildings (of which we had a lot). We were busy year 'round. The only source of power we had was the old Baker tractor.

20 HP Aultman Taylor steam engine threshing wheat south of East Townsend, Ohio, circa 1925. My dad (Lloyd Smith) and Uncle Lyle are the twin boys sitting on the engine.

Case 32-54 separator threshing same day as the picture above. The man in foreground (hunched over) is W.A. Smith, my great-grandfather.

This picture, taken the same day as those at left, shows the complete outfit working: the 20 HP Aultman Taylor engine and 32-54 Case separator.

'We went along this way for four or five years until we had too much work for one tractor. About that time, the depression was on, and a lot of other threshermen had lost their rigs and were out of business. We had taken over parts of their threshing rings. In 1933 one fellow lost his outfit and we bought his tractor, an Allis Chalmers Model E built by Nichols and Shepard. We bought a used 30-50 Port Huron wood separator which we used for a while. It was big and heavy and we would get stuck in the sand. Finally a Baker salesman made us a good price on a new steel separator, so we bought it. The old Allis handled this 28-52 Baker in good shape.

'I ran this rig until I went in the Army. In 1942 I was sent home to run this rig during threshing season. For some unknown reason, the barn we had this 28' Baker stored in caught fire and burned, destroying the separator. We still had the big Case separator and Baker tractor. Finally in 1947 the old Case separator and Allis Chalmers were scrapped because someone's kids had destroyed so many parts and they were hard to replace. The old Baker tractor was headed for the same fate, so I talked my dad into letting me have it. It was to the point where the grease and oil had been drained out so the tractor could be cut up. One night I took my farm tractor and chain with my oldest son and went to my dad's place, hooked a chain to it and proceeded to pull it home. It had set for 13 years, not being started, and was settled in the dirt pretty deep. After some good strong pulls I got her out and towed her home. In my spare time I took it apart, cleaned it and started painting it. After looking and answering ads in Iron Men Album, I found the parts I needed and restored it. It was a pretty bad looking sight when I brought it home. Now, since I have it restored it looks as good as new. Since then I have acquired another I am going to restore.

Threshing with 25-50 Baker tractor and Wood Brothers separator at Dad's in the summer of 1961. That is me (Ted) on the right fender of the tractor, my grandfather is running the blower, and my Uncle Lyle is pitching bundles. The other children are my brothers, and my sister is on the left fender.

'In 1959 I found a 26 x 46 Woods Brothers separator and did some threshing for myself, my dad and my twin brother. Last winter my brother got another sawmill. The sawmill is a Frick-00. It seems small to me, as we were used to a double mill. Since then my brother found a C.H.K. Huber that he is going to restore. I used the old Baker on the sawmill and it sounds just like it used to a few years back. I also took it this fall to the Richland County Steam show, in Mansfield. I had some disagreement on horsepower ratings. I have literature from the A. D. Baker Company on ratings in catalogues. My father helped sell several of these tractors and also Baker engines in this locality. Originally they were rated 25-50. On May 25, 1929 they were re-rated to a 43-67 from the Nebraska test. I have one of the original tests and also a telegram that Louie Baker sent to my father about the re-rating. Louie Baker was a son of A. D. Baker and witnessed the test with several other men. I also have a Nebraska test book with this rating, 43-67. This rating came along about the same time that the old 25-50 Huber rating took place which made the Huber 40-62. I have the necessary literature to back up these rating statements.

'Back in the early 1930s there were 12 or 13 of these tractors in surrounding counties around us. I have always leaned towards Baker because of the indirect drive rather than the direct drive Huber and other makes used. Even to this day with our modern farm tractors I prefer the indirect drive.

'Well, so much for steam engines and tractors. I got carried away from old times.

'Yours truly, Lloyd W. Smith, Sr.'