Last of the Thresher Manufacturers?

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Stock and equipment of a Canadian company, believed to be the last active threshing manufacturer, is being liquidated and we are asking readers for information to help round out its story.

The brand name of the thresher was 'Lion,' but it was more commonly known later as the 'Mildmay.'

John E. Schmidt, president of Lobsinger Brothers, Ltd., Mildmay, Ontario, told us the story in response to our inquiry. The firm ran a classified ad telling of the sale of the 100-year-old building and items in it.

The origins of the 'Lion' or 'Mildmay' are unknown, Schmidt said. He regrets that he started to investigate the history after all the old timers were gone. Municipal records for the early years seem to have disappeared.

Schmidt's letter is so interesting we quote from it in full:

'Records indicate that in 1881 the partnership of Spitzig and Herggott were engaged in manufacturing and a few years later the Herrgott Bros. Company was formed, which manufactured threshers and cider mill equipment, and also repaired steam engines. I understand the Herrgotts were in business for about 75 years and made only a few machines a year, with 10 machines being their top production for a year.

The Herrgott Company was bought out in 1939 by Philip and Charles Lobsinger under the name of Lobsinger Brothers, who after several poor depression years and despite the shortages of WWII, started increasing production each year until in 1951 they manufactured a total of 90 threshers in their small factory. Sales were good for the next year despite the decreasing demand for the threshing machine. When other larger thresher manufacturers were going out of business, this company continued, due to its ability to operate on a smaller scale. But time finally ran out on the threshing machine, and after the last threshers were manufactured in 1967, the company continued as a repair business for threshers until the present.

However, it's time to close the doors for the last time, and dispose of the large stock of thresher parts on hand which are now obsolete.

The Ontario Agricultural Museum at Milton, Ontario, has acquired our demonstrator model of the Mildmay thresher which has a clear plastic side, as well as an old handfed thresher. They also took our old cider press and apple butter cookers, which they hope to set up in the future.

It is likely the old factory will be sold shortly and torn down, to end the era of the threshing machine.'