Threshing at Gilmer Johnson

Threshing at Gilmer Johnson's turns to 'Bees Ness'. All hands had hit for the P.M. coffee break. Upon returning to load up more bundles we found one rack taken over by a swarm of honey bees, this putting one wagon out of use. The bees were still

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4541-43 Ave. So., Minneapolis 6, Minn.

This is a story of the time I spent threshing in Flaxton, North Dakota and also in Montana. This took place over 43 years ago.

In the fall of 1915 we had a bumper crop, the wheat stood 4 ft. high and I was pulling 5 eight foot binders behind the big twin city gas tractor. I could have pulled 6 or 8, but that big 4065 HP pulled our hitches apart behind the tractor so we had to give it up. The wheat was 4 ft. high and we had the binders elevated as high as we could but still the bundles came out too long and just as fast as the binder could take them. We used to cut 40 acres a day and we had to have 8 men shocking but they couldn't keep up with us. Those were the good old days. It was a lot of fun when the big engine barked.

I must tell you something about this 1900 acre farm in North Dakota. It belonged to a tall man of Danish decent, born in Minnesota but was lucky and moved to Dakota while he was young. He bought lots of land and made out alright. I broke up a lot of land for him, pulled 8 brakers. His name is Charlie Gad and he is a very nice man.

We pulled 12 bottom plows, drags, drill, and what we called a packer to pack the soil in the stubble plowing in the spring.

I worked for the Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co. building these big engines from 1912 to and including 1914. I was also responsible for correct HP brake block test. This was very important and it was a very interesting job. After this test it was given a very stiff working test out in the bull pen. From the bull pen it was loaded on flat cars and shipped to various places in Montana, North and South Dakota. This Company is now called The Minneapolis Moline Tractor Company. They are still building one of the best. In 1912 I assembled the first 60-110 HP Twin City that was shipped to Russia for digging ditches.

In 1914 I struck out for Montana and North Dakota and did a lot of road work for farmers who had a lot of tractor trouble. In 1915 I took charge of the Twin City threshing, plowing and braking outfits in Flaxton, North Dakota. In my spare time I was kept busy traveling from farm to farm trouble shooting. It was mostly ring trouble because of all the sand and dirt that went through the carburetor. This made the life of a ring very short. Also dirt raises cain with the bearings. I wired to St. Cloud for a jig to babbit the connecting rods so that took care of that.

Now I will tell you about the threshing in 1915. We used a 40-65 Twin City Tractor and a 4064 Advance Separator. The same fall I booked over $30,000 in profit for Charlie Gadl I put in 53 days of threshing, the wheat ran 40 bushels to the acre, oats over 100 bushels to the acre and the barley also ran very heavy. Out of 53 days we lost only 2 days work. An accident happened when a pitch fork came off one of the men's fork and went through the cylinder and knocked out 24 teeth. I wired to Bobells, North Dakota for repairs and they came the following day so we were back in full speed in no time.

There are a lot of stories I could tell about threshing but one in particular I would like to tell is about a man by the name of Marjus (another Dane). He had what he called a 36 Horse Advance Engine and a 4064 Advance Separator. We were threshing about mile apart when it rained something terrible one night and we were laid up for a week. One morning my farmer came out and asked me if I thought we could thresh. I said we would try so I ordered the teams out and loaded. We started running the bundles through in full speed. Pretty soon we saw our neighbor's Advance steamer start smoking and his teams came out and loaded up. They pulled up to the rig and pitched a few bundles. Soon the separator clogged from the blower to the cylinder. Mr. Marjus stopped and pulled the straw out and started up again but the same thing happened. Mr. Marjus lost his temper then and climbed up on the separator and threw his hat on the separator and jumped on it and flattened it out. And did he lingo some terrible words! He told the men to pull in and put the horses in the barn. He was threshing macarone wheat, same as I was. Pretty soon Mr. Marjus came across the field to my rig and climbed on top of the separator and lifted the lid and pulled some straw out. After this Mr. Marjus came over to my twin city tractor and asked me how I could run the straw through and he couldn't. I told him his steamer had a big heavy flywheel on it and when the motion of the separator slows down it takes too long to pick up speed again. I told him to listen to my big T.C. tractor. When the load goes through the cylinder the governor snaps wide open in a second. It doesn't give the separator a chance to slow up. Well, that settled it! He went back and waited two more days to dry up.