Reynolds-Alberta Museum Annual Harvest Festival

Nichols and Shepard  cylinder

Content Tools

72 Castleglen Way NE Calgary, Alberta T3J 1T3

Reynolds-Alberta Museum, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada, held their annual Harvest Festival September 2, 3 and 4, 2000. After a week of mixed weather, the forecast called for breaking skies, but windy. Leaving Calgary and heading north for the two and a half hour drive, the clouds were getting lower and the rain steadier, but I convinced myself and family that the next day would be different. Wrong! The mist and rain started at noon and never let up until Monday morning, but the show must go on!

1911 Nichols and Shepard 30-96 2 cylinder simple, serial #11205. Note: scale 76 HP Sawyer Massey next to 'Nick' owner Ernie Bertschi, Camrose, Alberta.

After attending a safety meeting and receiving operator assignments, 1 met with Bill Hamilton and his wife Marjorie at the rear of the 1911 Nichols and Shepard 30-96 HP 2-cylinder simple, serial #11205, our engine for the weekend.

Also steaming up for the show were Ernie Bertschi and Perry Widdifield on a 68 HP Sawyer-Massey, a western ploughing engine built in 1922. As well, Stan Eichorn and Doug Sheppard had a 1914, 16 HP M. Rumely #6795 up to pressure. All these engines and bailers are inspected and certified each year and carry ISO psi, so they perform very well.

We have ploughed stubble with both 'Nick' and the Sawyer with a 12 bottom John Deere plow, and the Rumely pulling a 28 inch Wooden John Goodison separator. This year we were reduced to boiling water two of the three days, but since 'Nick' has a roof, we didn't mind, and a regular run of hot coffee and fresh baked cinnamon buns didn't hurt either.

The crowds were steady all three days, and with the skies breaking up on Monday, this allowed us to get to work. Ernie and Perry put the Sawyer-Massey on the Baker fan, and the Rumely was piped up to a stationary engine, center crank. We lined the Nichols and Shepard up to the 28 inch McCormick-Deering separator and did a threshing demonstration, using dry bundles that were brought out of storage. On the second rack, tragedy hit. We had just started, when it appeared that the separator was plugging up, the foreman calling for more speed. 'Nick' was slowing down quickly, and by the time the throttle was pulled, it stopped completely. The reverse lever was stuck in threshing motion and would not move.

With a solid crowd around us, we searched for the source of the problem to quickly fix it and resume threshing, as the safety was already fluttering. As Bill was closing drafts, and injecting water to try and cool it down, the source was discovered. This engine is equipped with the Stephenson Link Reverse. One of the link brackets had broken at what appeared to be either a bad casting or previous older repair, bending one of the eccentric rods at 90 degrees. Stan quickly had the Rumely chained up to our hitch, and pulled us out of the way. As the Rumely pulled into the belt and continued the threshing demonstration, we pulled the damaged parts off and took them to the shop to be straightened. We finally managed to get 'Nick' moved over to a more suitable spot so it could be repaired properly. Although we never did get to do any field work, a good time was had by all that attended.

Next Harvest Festival will be held on Labour Day weekend, September 1,2, and 3.