DALTON STEAM ENGINE SHOW Dalton, Minnesota

Jackson Lumber Harvester

Content Tools

Route 4, Stillwater, Minnesota

Lloyd Larson's 'Jackson Lumber Harvester' is shown in the picture sawing lumber at the Lake Region Pioneer Thresherman's Association Show at Dalton, Minnesota, on September 18-20, 1959. The sawmill is powered by Johnson's 22H.P. Special Avery Under mounted Steamer, formerly owned and rebuilt by Clinton D. Jackson, inventor and founder of the world-famous 'Jackson Lumber Harvester'. Although the 'Lumber Harvester' is seemingly a small mill, it took all the horse power any of these steam giants could 'dish out' in stride, without the sign of a rattle or groan of any kind. It converted this rip-tide of power into thousands of feet of accurately cut lumber to the astonishment of many old-timer sawmill men.

The unique feature of these Jackson mills is that the sawyer rides the carriage and goes back and forth with the log as the boards drop off in clock-like precision, maintaining quality, accuracy and production in proportion to the power available .... all this in a trailer sawmill! (One old timer remarked, 'It's jeweled like a watch and runs like a new sewing machine.')

It has not only precision bearings on the mandrel, as many up-to-date mills do, but a total of 74 ball and roller bearings. The main frame is fabricated by the electric arc process into a single homogeneous mass while it is being held in a steel jig embedded in concrete. It is so held until entirely cooled. This, together with the many precision bearings and the strategic design used by Jackson, is the key to its remarkable success.

Some of the shows in 1959 at which this remarkable mill proved its amazing performance were:

Wisconsin State Fair, Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, Aug. 18-24, 1959, Diesel powered 
(Wilson Wright, Operator)

John Horton Show, Edgerton, Wisconsin, 
Sept.5,6,7, 1959 (Sy Havey,
Operator)

Seventh Annual Show, Hesper, Iowa,
Sept. 6,7, 1959 (Rosendahl Bros.,
Operators)

Lake Region Pioneer Thresherman's
Ass'n, Inc., Sept. 18-20, 1959 (Lloyd
Larson, Operator)

Pioneer Threshing Days, Dresser,
Wisconsin, Sept. 26, 27, 1959 (R. E.
Lee, Operator)
Central North Dakota Threshers Reunion,
New Rockford, North Dakota,
Oct. 3, 4, 1959 (J. L. Lyman,
Operator)

Zumbro Valley Pioneer Threshers
Reunion, West Concord, Minnesota,
Oct. 17, 18, 1959 (Axley Bros.,
Operators)

Clinton D. Jackson, of Mondovi, Wisconsin, is a welding engineer and practical engineer. Under supervision of Quincy A. Hall, Bureau of Inspection and Tests, St. Paul, Minnesota, Mr. Jackson made welds for the Army Corps of Engineers that broke on the vertical test at 132,000 lbs. P.S.I. This test is said to be the most difficult welding position.

As a teenager, Jackson's first love was the steam engine. When he became proficient as a welder, he was in great demand for repairing the boilers on the steam engines that he loved. There was also a demand for high-class welders to repair refrigeration plants and boilers in many milk plants throughout the dairyland. In 1930, he helped weld a patch in the firebox of a Kewanee firebox boiler which had 96 stay bolts in the patch. This was in the Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

A lot of welding was required in the boilers which furnished the steam to run sawmills. Through this contact Jackson says, 'I became interested in out-moded machinery of the average sawmill and decided to do something about it.' Mr. C. J. Telford, Sawmill Specialist of the Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin, once said of Jackson, 'I attribute Jackson's success, where so many failed, to the fact that where those of us only familiar with sawmill machinery tried to improve what we had, Jackson, with a wide range of knowledge in many lines of machinery, made up his mind what was needed and set out to cut it out of whole cloth .... with a persistence to try it out personally before giving it to the public. His ability to do just that made the successful end inevitable.'

Mr. Jackson, being a steam engine collector and enthusiast, has demonstrated a model of the 'Jackson Lumber Harvester', powered by brother Willard Jackson's 5 H.P. model Case Steamer, at several Steam Shows during the past season. Among these were:

Gilbert's Oxen Show, Stillwater, 
Minnesota, Oct. 11 and 18, 1959

Steam Engine Days, Mondovi, Wisconsin,
Oct. 24, 25, 1959

Mr. Jackson, when asked about all
this, modestly said, 'Steam's the Stuff.'