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Field Notes

Empty Fuel Can Threw a Wrench in the Works

Jolly Thresherman

If you wanted to embarrass and discredit yourself with the threshing gang, toss your pitchfork along with the grain bundle into the machine. The resulting clatter was the thresher trying to thresh the pitchfork. If it was a private rig, you had to face the wrath of the owner. This bungle could end the day's threshing activities while repairs were made. More rare was a crisis when the machine was started up for the day.

Charley was a custom thresher in northern Illinois during the 1930s. He was meticulous about having his equipment in top-notch condition. He took into consideration where the farmer wanted his straw pile, wind direction and wagon traffic. Using a carpenter's level, he made sure the machine was set exactly right. If a wheel was high, he dug a narrow trench ahead of it. He then rolled the machine into the trench. The process was repeated until everything was precisely correct.

Charley was equally careful about getting the drive belt lined up with the tractor. When all seemed to be in order, he would slowly release the clutch on the belt pulley until full rpm was reached. But on this particular day, there was a loud noise of something inside the late model Case separator.

He quickly shut down the Case tractor and ran to see what had happened. Looking into the machine, everything seemed to be okay. But when he looked on the ground under the blower pipe hood, he was startled to find the shredded remains of what used to be a fuel can.

Unfortunately for this ever-vigilant man, he had stored his empty fuel can inside the access door to the blower fan. With apologies to Aultman & Taylor, Charley was not the "Jolly Thresherman" that morning!

Clyde Eide, Bryan, Texas

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; fax: (785) 274-4385; email:; online at:

Making Deliveries with Dad in a Divco Truck

Divco truck

Regarding the article on the Divco truck in the May 2018 issue of Farm Collector: The article brought back many memories for me, and I am sure for others as well. My father drove a similar truck and was delivering milk in the late 1960s and early '70s for the dairy farm where he worked at that time.

Originally called a Model U (for Universal), the later Divcos of that size were called the Model 100 (that stood for the 100 cases of milk that could be hauled in the back). He later drove a Model 154 when one became available (154 referred to the number of cases it could haul). I believe the "100" was discontinued in 1967. Both trucks were built in the late 1950s or early '60s.

Neither truck had the "stand to drive" feature. Both had the original Continental engines, but these were later replaced with 6-cylinder Ford engines. The Ford 6-cylinder raised the truck's top speeds to about 45 mph.

I went with my father on days I was not in school, usually Saturdays or during long school breaks over the summer. By that time, deliveries were made only every other day and the majority of milk was packaged in plastic jugs or the classic paper cartons.

What my dad liked about Divco trucks was the electric windshield wipers that worked at a constant speed regardless of how hard the engine was working. When not delivering milk, he was working on that farm or the bottling plant, depending on where he was needed. It was hard work, but he did what he had to do to provide for our family. Both trucks were still in service when the business shut down in late 1973.

Timothy W. Sarver, Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; fax: (785) 274-4385; email:; online at:

Meet Writer and Photographer Lee Klancher at Mt. Pleasant!

Lee Klancher

Farm Collector staffers are looking forward to visiting with friends old and new at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, during the Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-Sept. 4. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

Those who visit on Saturday, Sept. 1, are in for a real treat: Writer/photographer Lee Klancher will be signing copies of his newest book from 9-11 a.m. at the Farm Collector tent. Copies of his new book — Tractor: The Heartland Innovation, Ground-Breaking Machines, Midnight Schemes, Secret Garages, and Farmyard Geniuses that Mechanized Agriculture — will be hot off the press that day and available for sale and autographs.

Lee is well known for his lavishly photographed, definitive works on International Harvester tractors and combines and John Deere tractors, among various other topics. Don't miss this chance to meet and visit with Lee!

And while you're there, sign up for prizes donated by these Farm Collector advertisers: Klein Bros. Hardware, one pair of bib overalls; Carpenter Industries, Ford tractor seat covers; Sole Scraper, an outdoor sport Sole Scraper, Sole Scraper hitch and Sole Scraper step brush; SpecCast, Oliver 1955 Power Assist and 1/16-scale Ford Commander pulling tractor (resin).

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; fax: (785) 274-4386; email:; online at:

Giant Fertilizer Distributor Makes a Comeback

fertilizer distributor

This fertilizer distributor was bought at an auction in Elbert County, Georgia. It was built by K-P in Columbus-Savannah, Georgia, and was patented July 31, 1900. K-P named it The Giant. I took it apart, sanded all the metal and painted it. Some of the lettering on the box is still legible.

Wayne A. Beggs, Lincolnton, Georgia

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; fax: (785) 274-4385; email:; online at:

Raising the Bar for Tractor Collectors

sears economy tractor

I enjoyed the Sears Economy tractor article in the July 2018 issue of Farm Collector magazine. John Baum certainly has raised the bar for tractor collecting and the way he displays them at shows. His efforts are appreciated by Sears Economy tractor owners, restorers and those folks who've just discovered the Sears Economy tractor. At shows John does a great job "teaching" about the tractors and is always around to discuss the differences and common features regarding each tractor.

Dave Elmore, Newark, Illinois

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; fax; (785) 274-4385; email:; online at:

Remembering Grandma’s Washer

maytag washer
A selection of antique washing machines from the collection of Lee Maxwell near Eaton, Colo.

Back in the April 2018 issue of Farm Collector, there was a nice article on Patrick Everett's Maytag washer collection. He said, "Most of the stories are lost or forgotten over time." How true — unless you lived through that time.

Back in 1949, my grandmother Allen bought a new Maytag J2 washing machine with the famous Maytag 72 twin-cylinder engine. It was bought in Winsted, Connecticut, from Park Place Hardware and Appliance.

maytag washer

She lived in a house that had a walkout basement and she had a washtub sink. The Maytag washer was in the room and she would have the long exhaust hose go out a partially opened window into a bucket of water.

I loved to watch her do her wash and sit by the washer. She always did two loads and it was a thrill for me at age 15. She used it until 1965 when she died. It makes me sad to know the washer went to the dump in running condition. I am so lucky to have the manuals and paper to this wonderful memory.

maytag washer

I would greatly enjoy seeing pictures of all gas-powered washing machines. Maytag washers are the most plentiful and popular, but I would like to see others as well. Briggs and Stratton made many models of stationary gasoline engines specifically for washing machine use.

William Rogers, Hannacroix, New York

Send letters to Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; fax: (785) 274-4385; email:; online at:

Like Clockwork on Wash Day

A reader shares his wash day childhood memories.


I can still see and hear my mom call my dad and say, “Joe, come start this confounded washer” when she could not get enough kick to start the Maytag engine. It only happened every week on wash day.

Jim Glascock, Cedar Grove, Indiana

Send letters to: Farm Collector Editorial, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; fax: (785) 274-4385; email:; online at:


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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