CLEAT TRACKS IN THE SANDS OF TIME

30 hp Advance threshing

My 30 hp Advance threshing in 1955. Peter L. Jacobson is the engineer. Courtesy of Harold Williams, Ida, Minna

Harold Williams

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127 S. Douglas St., Bronson, Michigan 49028

There are probably as many accidents and/or incidents today, with respect to the percentage of population, as there were in the earlier years and the frequency of fatalities and injuries are probably even greater now due to the mad rush of the people of this era to get nowhere. However, if my memory serves me rightly, when it comes to the comical aspect of an accident (if there is such a thing) I believe that the old days have it.

Take, for instance, that time way back to the turn of the century, when my father and a neighbor went partnership in a feed grinding mill which they set up in an old vacant house in the woods belonging to the partner. My father tended his engine while the partner tended the mill room. One day the partner left the mill running empty at full speed, while he went out of the back door to guide a customer around to the unloading chute. My dad was in the engine shed which was a lean-to with a door leading into the mill room. At this moment the partners wife came in at the front door to see her husband, but as there was nobody in the mill room, she decided to look out in the engine shed. In doing so it was necessary to pass around the end of the line-shaft which was bracketed to the floor. The shaft was revolving at high speed so she could not see the square headed set screw on the end of the whirling shaft, which was left there as a provision for an additional pulley when needed. This set screw caught the bottom of her swishing skirts and with the speed of a demon she was down and in no condition to promenade Broadway, especially in those days.

From the engine room my dad heard a resounding thud and a woman's frightened scream. He dashed for the mill room where he saw this woman, unhurt except for being scared and somewhat bruised, in the act of picking herself up from the floor sans most of her clothing except shoes and stockings and a few shreds of what was once a corset. Bewildered, she ran around the big room. There was no place to hide and there were customers outside. My dad, mortified so he said (sic, sic) ran out into the engine room and brought back his old overcoat. He was in the act of putting this on her when her husband came in at the back door.

Well, according to my father, it took quite a little explaining in the excitement; and it was only a wad of dirty, torn and shredded rags whirling merrily around on the end of a swiftly revolving line-shaft that saved a couple of otherwise harmonious partnerships, - dad and his partner and, - his partner and his wife.

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