Roy Keller writes.........


1886 J. I. Case Thresher owned and operated by John Walbrecht.

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Rt. 2 New Plymouth, Idaho

Here is a picture of an 1886 J. I. Case Thresher owned and operated by John Walbrecht, (at left) York, Neb. Mr. Walbrecht's son, Edd, is a very good friend of mine. His home is at Nampa, Idaho at present. Edd and I have threshed a lot here in Idaho although he has threshed more than I. I have been at it for about 38 years and in that time my brother and I followed up the harvest for 11 or 12 years.

My last steam threshing was done in Kansas in 1928. I ran a Nichols-Shepard Engine on a Minneapolis Separator. This engine was a single cylinder and handle. The Minneapolis is in pretty good shape.

My Dad was a thresher man too. He had a lot of old time pictures of his threshing days. There was a cyclone in 1942 and it destroyed everything they had. I would like to have some of his old time threshing outfit pictures.

I started threshing with my Dad when I was ten years old. The first outfit that my Dad had, that I can remember, was a 42 inch Advance Separator. It had a gear blower that sure did growl at times. He pulled it with a 80 HP Case, but some people called it a 75 and my Dad called it 80. It had the short smoke box. My Dad put a Gould Balance Valve on it, also a Watson Throttle Governor and he kept this engine running like a sewing machine; didn't have a click in it.

Dad traded this Advance machine off and got a second hand 44 x 66 Case Separator. Then along about 1918 he bought a new 40 x 62 Case Separator. It had a Ruth feeder on it and all babbitt bearings. Next he bought a 8 roll Maytage corn husker and shredder. I can remember feeding this shredder when it was pretty cold and the wind blowing like it does in Nebraska.

Dad threshed a shredded fodder in the winter from the Platte River to Hastings, Nebraska until 1920. Then we moved out in the western part of of Nebraska in Perkins County so Dad sold the shredder when we left Hastings, Nebraska.

Then in 1923 I was moving across the country from one shock run to the next when I crossed a pasture and decided to stop and fill up with water and coal before I hit the road again. I got the water hauler to pull up to the side of the engine and I turned on the injector, thrower in some more coal and turned on the blower. I went out to the road to let down the fence and when I came back I had about 2 inches of water and about 140 lbs. of steam. She popped off at 150 so I told the water monkey we were ready to go. I crawled up on the side and put some more oil in the lub. and just stepped on the ground when the crown sheet left loose. It blew off the smoke box door and set fire out in the road which was about 60 or 70 feet away. Also, it blew the ash pan down and the firebox door was blown open too, so that was the end of the 80 Case Steamer.

Dad got a 30 x 60 Aultman Taylor four cylinder gas tractor. The 40 x 62 Case Separator was too much for this engine but we got along with it until the next year and then he got a 36 x 60 Nichols - Shepard Separator and that was a good machine. We threshed until about 1931 with this outfit and then the combines took over. My Dad also had a big Minneapolis corn sheller that we pulled with a 22 x 36 Int. Gas Tractor.

I moved out here in western Idaho in 1936 and started threshing here. First I bought a John Deere 28 x 50 Separator and ran it until 1940 and then I purchased a new 28 x 47 Case. I had a 22 x 36 Int. Tractor on this machine so I threshed and hulled clover until 1952. I bought two self-propelled 12 ft. Case Combines and ran them one year. Next I bought a 90 Massey-Harris and had to quit the combining in 1955 because the dust was getting me down. That was the end of my threshing days.