Smoke & Gas Fumes

MY THRESHING AND SHELLING EXPERIENCES.

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PART TWO

Primghar, Iowa

1921 Bought Western Sheller I bought a medium sized Western cylinder Sheller on Nov. 30, 1921, from Albert Schroeder, made by Union Iron Works, Decatur, Ill. for $250. It was a simple Sheller and required little repairs and repairing. I built my own special drags which were carried on side of Sheller. I used this Western Sheller and Parrett until Dec, 1929 7 years service. It shelled 402,272 bu.

1922 Sold Spring Sheller Spring Sheller's were in demand because they did not break up cobs. By 1922, this attitude changed. I sold the spring Sheller to John Jochums in January of 1923 for $140. It was in fine shape. So, after 5 years of service it brought within $60 of what I paid for Sheller and engine in 1918. It shelled 221,260 bu.

1922 Sold 12 HP. Portable Gas Engine Cannot recall who bought it or for how much.

1923 I built a 40' by 68' machine shed with a 20' by 40' shop, in which I did much custom repairing and welding for 30 years1924-1953.

1927 Bought a large size Western Sheller for speculation from Pedelty Thresher Co. on Sept. 13, 1927, for $350 and sold it to Alfus Manco, Bigelow, Minnesota, for $425.

1927 Bought a Jeffrey Quad truck, 4 wheel drive and guide, Model No. 14.016Serial No. 72.121 with hard rubber tires from Jake Ohlhausen on Dec. 28, 1927 for $40. It was originally bought and used by Standard Oil Co. (Orvil Wiggins, mgr.) of Hartley, Iowa, to haul fuels to Melvin and Everly, Iowa. I cleaned, repaired, lengthened frame for a new Waukeshaw 4' by 6' motor, built a big cab with sliding doors and glass all around, repainted and striped it, expecting to mount a Sheller on it Many of these trucks were used in War No. I. They could navigate roads impossible for conventional trucks.

1929 Bought New Rumely Sheller I bought a new Rumely cylinder Sheller on Sept. 21, 1929, at Spencer Fair for $625, less wheels and drags. Regular price was $900. This Sheller would out shell the Minneapolis in damp, rough corn of which we had so much due to the rough picking by the old pickers. It would roll husks into small balls whereas the Minneapolis would rope the husks and finally clog. I mounted this Sheller on the (ready to go) Nash truck, built my own drags (2nd set), and started shelling on Dec. 6, 1929. It was the first mounted Sheller hereabouts. There was another at Nashua, Iowa, 169 miles east, where I got the idea.

I redesigned Sheller in 1933 through cylinder shaft with front blower, open cylinder outlet with special gate, longer cob sieve, etc., increasing capacity to 800 bu. It shelled anything from snapped to popcorn. Now I had a big capacity Sheller that could navigate bad roads and yards. There were but few gravel roads. It shelled 1,141,695 bushels from 1929 to 1945.

1929 Sold Western Sheller to Fred Riedeman for $200 on Dec. 8, 1929. for $50 less than cost, after 7 years and shelling 402,272 bu.

1930 Sold Parrett Tractor to Dave Clay for $115.75 on July 22, 1930, after 11 years of wonderful continuous service, farming, shelling, grinding, etc. Mr. Clay sold the Buda motor to Herman Brinkert in 1933 to pull a mounted hammer milla good record.

Whenever a man is successful at a new venture, others soon follow. It wasn't long until machine shops were mounting Sheller's right and left. The Spencer Rohrda machine shop at Sheldon did well at it. Their Sheller's covered a 100 mile radius. Whereas, another who started later went broke. Soon every town had several mounted Sheller's and price cutting became common. I was well established between four towns (nearest 7 miles), in farming, repairing, threshing and shelling. However, they nibbled away on fringes at as low as % c per bushel. My shelling prices ranged from 3c in 1918-1919 to 1c for big jobs in 1932-1933, then slowly up to 2c in Dec. 1943, where it held to this day. In threshing it was (oats by measure) 3c in 1918 to 1930, 2c in 1932-1933, 2c in 1934 to 1934 to 1942, 3c in 1943 to 1949. Barley was 1c more.

1945I Quit Shelling Dec. 1, 1945, for definite reasons. I was slowing down, help was a problem, farming and shop required more attention. My 3 Sheller's had shelled 1,765,227 bu. on a $1,410 investment and I still have mounted rig, which could be a collector's item as is also the Oil Pull Model B tractor and Avery separator, all in good running order. I also own an Oil Pull Model S, 30-60 HP., No. 370, 1924, used only 19 short threshing seasons all tuned up and repainted like new. Idle and discarded Sheller's are now common. The custom shelling era like threshing is bowing out while field Sheller's and driers move in.

Road grading Career In 1916, my local Center township bought a new 30-50 HP. Flour City tractor and a new 12 ft. Adams grader. They hired Frank Eddington, an experienced 65 year old grader man, and offered me 50c per hour to operate tractor. We had a corn failure in 1915, my farm mortgage worried me, so I accepted and hired a reliable farm hand at $35 per mouth. We graded until freeze-up, averaging 12 hours daily, with time out for harvest, threshing and wet weather. Frank and I got along fine. However, that tractor was a dud. It was too light, lacked power and required much servicing. Burning kerosene was a headache but the trustees held me to it because of price. There was another in adjoining township to which I was often called to service and to train operators on both. The company offered me a service block in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. This, I flatly declined. In 1921, I overhauled and operated this tractor again for a spell. I'm sure I graded more miles with it than all other operators combined. Once a driver slipped on a flat rock which broke the bull gear.

In 1926, I contracted grading by the mile for the same township and made a nice profit by discing sod while opening up. This enabled us to, move more dirt in less rounds. My 15 year old Rumely handled the heavy 12 ft. Adams grader fully loaded easily. The now 75 year old Eddington was on grader again. He had many years experience behind steam and gas tractors. I told him to sock that blade down. He grinned from ear to ear when he told me that that Rumely was the darndest puller he had ever worked behind. Many times the back wheels of the grader started skidding sideways. Once the grader blade pierced a hidden steel culvert nearly straightening one beam and broke my cable. We repaired this very heavy beam by heating in a forge lowered to ground level and applying a heavy sledge hammer, then reinforcing with heavy plates. At another time the blade hit a big rock throwing the back-end of grader in a wide arch. I was looking back and saw Eddington suspended, hanging on to large control wheels. I'm sure I don't know where he would have landed had he let go. His one leg was badly cut, laying him off several days. While tending separator, my son, Fred, once got his hand under a feeder chain breaking and cutting two fingers. These are the only accidents I can recall. Very fortunate indeed. Besides signs on machines, I often cautioned my help. This was the last grading for Eddington and me. He lived to be 91 years old.

Inventions and Patents In 1929, while mounting the first corn Sheller hereabouts, I applied for a patent on certain innovations. However, there was an infringement on one technical point on one old patent. My second venture was successful. I started making and selling successful self-cleaning wheel cleaners about 1944. I guaranteed satisfaction or money back. None ever came back. Many customers discarded other makes. I applied for a patent on April 8, 1949, which granted was granted and issued to me Aug. 1, 1951, under No. 2,565,276 which is now for sale.

Shopping For A Threshing Outfit While prospecting for a threshing rig bargain in May 1919, I located a 22 HP. Advance steamer with Lefeaver water leg boiler and a year old 36' by 56' Minneapolis separator complete with cover-drive belt and water wagon, belonging to a split-up farmer group near Ocheyedan, Iowa, Iowa, all for $1200. However, the engine's water leg was cracked (caused by lake sand). I was unable to get reliable boiler man until in July. Upon informing their spokesman of this fact, he said, 'Give us $800 and take the thing off our hands.' However, I bought the Oil Pull 'B' and Avery separator instead, 'a fortunate move indeed.' The Advance steamer was later bought by a thresherman friend, John Albert's. The water leg was unsuccessfully welded several times. Otherwise, it was a wonderful engine.

Of Great Interest To Me were the pictures and notes on Basil Buck-master's 20 HP. Huber (Pg. 9, March -April 1959 Iron Man Album). I knew this engine (No. 10,865) from the day that it was unloaded at Hartley, Iowa in July 1, 1916. It was sold to John Baumeister, Jr. by A. O. Baugh-ton of Eagle Grove, Iowa a Huber salesman. I seriously considered buying that engine (my favorite make) in about 1935. However, the mortgagee refused to give me a clean bill of sale. Later on I wanted that engine as an antique. However, due to poor health since 1953, I became negligent. I was disappointed to hear that Bill Albers of Harris, Iowa, succeeded in buying it. Albers sold to J. Kadinger of Sioux Falls, who sold to Buck master of Eureka, Montana.

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