Letters to the editor

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This partially complete harvester knife sharpener is missing a gear
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This old corn shredder may have been for gotten long ago
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It's 2 1/2 feet tall and 4-foot wide with a gate on a wing nut.

This is a harvester knife sharpener that I have, but I’m missing a gear that goes between the big gear and the small gear. I’m wondering if anyone might have a spare sharpener with the gear that I could use to get one cast.

This is the only one I’ve ever seen, but I’m sure there are others out there of this make. The patent date is July 16, 1872, which was cast on the frame. Any help would be appreciated. – Robert Rauhauser, P.O. Box 324, Thomasville, PA 17364

Steam engine belts: Experience is the best teacher

In the October 2003 Farm Collector on page 22, a caption says that Ed J. Wood’s steam engine belt is twisted to prevent the wind from blowing it off the pulleys. I’ve put a lot of bundles in a thresher. The thresher’s always down wind from the engine to keep the grain from being in the straw and the chaff from the blower pipe.

The reason for the twist in the belt is so the machine will be running in the right direction or rotation. Not all machinery turns in the same direction. It has nothing to do with the wind. – Charles Kleinhans, 3901 Madrona Lane, Medford, OR 97501

Shredder shrouded in mystery

Does anyone know any information about this International Harvester corn shredder that I found in an old building? I would like to know the age of it, its approximate value and any other information someone may know about it. – Earl Melkert, 33807 County Highway 27, Erhard, MN 56534

Cultivating family history

I recently acquired an antique one-row, horse-drawn cultivator. My grand father once owned it, and my father and uncles drove it in their younger years. Since it’s a family heirloom, I’d like to restore it, but I don’t have any idea what it looked like new.

Does anyone have pictures of a restored cultivator such as this? My father says he thinks the brand name is New Departure. There is a number stamped on the seat, 646, possibly a model number. Thanks for your help. – David Weller, 307 S. 16th St., Denison, IA 51442

Editor’s note: A quick Internet search turned up this reference below to a New Departure cultivator. Perhaps this information will point you toward other answers, such as paint color and exact year of manufacture, or maybe another reader has insight to offer. Good luck!

‘In 1872, the Pattee Plow Company made 2 or 3 different styles of plows, but this year introduced the ‘New Departure Tongue-less Cultivator.’ It was invented and patented in 1872 by J.H. (Howard) Pattee. The ‘Pattee’ as it was called, was a popular walking cultivator that would be inclined to ‘collapse’ when turning around at the end of the row.’

– Information taken from Web site about agricultural history in Iowa: www.rootsweb.com/~iapage/mar/ 2-2-FARM.HTM


Occasionally Farm Collector will print answers to readers’ questions when information is available from knowledge able sources.

Question from October 2003 Farm Collector: I know it’s a planter, but for what? It has an opening in the back, it’s 2 1/2 feet tall and 4-foot wide with a gate on a wing nut.

What’s really different is that the planter has six pegs on the wheels to vibrate the seed box. There’s also a lever with 14 different settings to change the vibration levels from very soft to very hard. Can someone please help me find more information about this unknown planter? – Eugene Frey

Answer: Mr. Frey doesn’t have a planter, but a guano distributor. It was used to apply fertilizer to a furrow in preparation for a seedbed for cotton, corn or other row crop. Typical procedure was to initially ‘lay off’ the rows with a ‘gopher’ or similar plow point on a ‘plow stock.’ The fertilizer was then placed in the rows with the guano distributor.

The rows were then allowed to stand for a few days to allow the fertilizer to somewhat ‘age,’ which avoided ‘burning’ the seed when they were planted.

The next step was to go over each row with a spring tooth harrow having two ‘snake eye’ teeth in the center of the tooth configuration, and two or three conventional teeth on each side of the ‘snake eyes.’

At this time, the seed was planted with a one-row planter, frequently called a ‘cole’ planter. Planting was done after the bed was harrowed, while the ground was fresh.

The fertilizer was fed by gravity through an adjustable gate. A rudimentary agitator was required, powered by the wheel, to help prevent caking of the fertilizer. The mechanism described as a vibrator may have been helpful in this regard, or possibly it was to improve the firming of the dirt over the applied fertilizer. – Morgan Adams, 8845 Campground Road, Clermont, GA 30527; (770) 983-3940

Thanks: I would like to thank all of the Farm Collector readers who wrote or called me about my letter to the editor, ‘Seeds of doubt.’ Everyone had the same answer: It’s a fertilizer distributor. I received letters and calls from Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Kentucky. Thanks to everyone who responded. – Eugene Frey, 13215 County Highway 95, Upper Sandusky, OH 43351; (419)273-2825


Stories to share? Whether reminiscing about a tractor, a piece of equipment or early farm practices – or maybe just showing off a restoration – your stories are important to Farm Collector! Submissions are always welcome. Compliments or suggestions? Ideas? Comments? Memories? Questions? We’ll print ’em all, as space allows.

Send letters to: FARM COLLECTOR EDITORIAL 1503 SW 42nd Street, Topeka, KS 66609-1266 FAX (785) 274-4305 e-mail: editor@farmcollector.com Visit us on the Internet at: www. farmcollector. com

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