6101 Harmony Road Preston, Maryland 21655
Mickey Stant shows how this 1870 Heebner & Sons, Lansdale, Montgomery Co., Pa. ground hog thresher was used to separate the grain from the straw. Even though by today's standards it seems very crude, in the mid 1800s it was a big labor saving device. It is being powered by an 1880 6x9 Paxton engine made by the Harrisburg Car Mfg. Co. of Harrisburg, Pa., with Eric Harvey at the controls. My family owns the only two of these engines I've ever heard of. If anyone knows of any others or any of the history of the company, I'd be glad to hear from him.
The Eastern Shore Thresher men & Collectors Association, Inc. held their 36th annual show on August 2, 3, 4, 1996. They really had a good turn-out with a lot of new exhibits and new exhibitors. We had a large and varied assortment of antique tractors, gas engines and steam models. It is good to see a growing number of people becoming interested in preserving this part of our heritage.
Also, I heard a lot of people say this was their first visit and they didn't know anything like this existed. They had never given a thought to how much work was involved in simple day-to-day farm activities of the past.
In addition to shingle sawing, rock crushing, blacksmithing and sawing, one of our newer demonstrations is our 'Evolution of Threshing, from the Flail to the Modern Combine' which was held on Saturday afternoon. This is where we demonstrate how wheat was threshed beginning with the flail and on to the ground hog thresher, wooden hand-fed thresher, self-feeding steel thresher powered by a steam engine, and a 1940s style John Deere steel thresher powered by a John Deere A tractor of the same age. At the end of the line is a John Deere 9600 combine to show how things have changed from the days when you beat the grain out with a stick to today's one step harvesting in a comfortable air conditioned cab. Narrator Clyde Nafziger adds a lot of interesting facts and figures to show just how hard threshing was for our fathers and grandfathers.
Fred Miller (left) and Mickey Stant (right) demonstrate the lost art of flailing wheat to separate the grain from the straw. Jim Frampton awaits his turn to thresh using his homemade steam engine and Ellis Keystone thresher. Lined up behind him are the Frick thresher, John Deere thresher and in the background a John Deere 9600 combine to show today's method of threshing.
1930 8 x 10 Frick traction engine serial #30519, the last traction engine built by the Frick Company of Waynesboro, Pa., which is operating the Frick thresher. It is owned by the Layton family with Mickey Stant as engineer. Outfits such as this threshed a lot of grain in their day. Farmers who owned an outfit would go from farm to farm threshing neighbors' grain. Farmers would help each other out to ensure enough labor when their turn came. The hard work was rewarded by a good crop and a big dinner served by the women of the family. Sometimes there was a friendly competition to see who could serve the best meal and if your wife was the best cook you didn't have to worry about having enough help show up at your farm. Of course, there were a lot of cases where the women were out there in the fields working right alongside of the men.
Jim Frampton hand feeds the Champion No. 3 wooden thresher, made by Ellis Keystone Agri. Works of Pottstown, Pa., No. 7407.
These pictures depict the demonstration which we began in 1995 and is gaining in popularity. We hope to continue this demonstration (weather permitting) on Saturday of our show each year. We realize it is not perfect, but maybe each year we can improve upon it.
This year's show will be August 1, 2, 3, 1997 at our show grounds located on Route 313 between Denton and Federalsburg, Maryland.