I am not sure where you got the information for the ‘Roots of the Rototiller’ in the SIMAR article (Farm Collector, February 2003), but according to Gardening Beyond the Plow, by Garden Way, it is flawed.
H.B. Hiller, of Siemens, came to the U.S. and offered a distributorship to C.W. Kelsey around 1930. Kelsey accepted and rented office space on Broadway in New York and started the Rototiller Co. In 1932, Kelsey took on a SIMAR distributor-ship, moved to a warehouse in Long Island City, N.Y., and incorporated his business as Rototiller.
– Charlie Zuck, 478 Prospect Road, Elizabethtown, PA 17022
Threshing machine question
I am trying to find information on a New Racine threshing machine. The date is 1915 on the Langdon feeder house. Any general information, value, different sizes or any other help would be greatly appreciated.
-Gary Bailey, Box 301, La Veta, CO 81055
Corn sheller/ burr mill query
I would like information about what company manufactured this combination corn sheller and burr mill. It is of cast iron construction throughout the structure. I am also looking for the inside burr, which is missing.
-Quentin Oase, P.O. Box 97, Reeder, ND 58649; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We enjoyed reading Sam Moore’s stories on the Studebaker firm, in part because we have two family heirlooms associated with that company. One is an elegant, 100-year-old lap robe, in perfect condition, that was made by Studebaker. It’s about 4 by 5 feet in size, weighs a ton and is made of what looks like thick mohair. It’s all black on one side and has a very intricate design on the other side. I can’t even describe the design, it’s so unusual, but it’s mottled and makes me think of an animal. In addition to the design, the Studebaker logo is sewn right into the mohair. The robe was given to my mother, who passed it on to me, by a very dear, old neighbor who had a trading post and saddle shop in Spokane, Wash., in the early days of that city.
Our other Studebaker treasure is a photograph of John Mohler Studebaker, who was the youngest of the firm’s founding brothers and the most long-lived. The photo belonged to my father. He had it for as long as I can remember, and I am 71, but I don’t know where he got it.
Both items are displayed every year at the Spokane Interstate Fair held in September. Thanks for a great story!
– Helen A. Ray, Veradale, Wash.
JD hay buck query
– Robert Rauhauser, P.O. Box 324, Thomasville, PA 17364; (717) 792-0278
Corn shucking recollections
I read with interest about shucking corn (Farm Collector, December 2002). I had no idea that it still would be a fun thing. Our wagons had 14- and 12-inch boards to make 26 bushels, then you could add 10-inch, 8-inch and 6-inch boards to make 50 bushels, and you were expected to fill them twice a day. The bangboard was on top of that. We had an elevator to unload, which made it easier. To get that many bushels you didn’t lollygag around. The 8- and 6-inch sideboards on the side of the shucker were put on top of the bangboard to make it easier to hit the wagon, then lowered into place when needed. Shucking gloves had two thumbs on them so at noon you turned them backwards on your hands to make the afternoon. We used new gloves every day. Some people made heavy sleeves to protect their cloth sleeves from the stalks. We were generally in the field just when it was light enough to see the ears and did 80 to 125 bushels of corn.
Open-pollinated corn ears might be any height and made it difficult to pick, forcing us to stoop to get the low ears. Hybrid corn helped to make uniform height. One year I picked some white corn, and sometimes you had to break the shank over your knee. That messed up your bushels for the day. My father, however, demanded as few husks in the wagon as possible, as you would have trouble with rats and mice in the crib. I still have a bangboard around some-where. I got paid 10 cents a bushel, which might seem low, but it was a good wage those days. This was in the early ’30s. Thank God for mechanical corn pickers!
– Glenn Stockwell, Route 1, Box 102, 9220 Alembic, Riley, KS 66531
More about scoop boards
The December Farm Collector, there is a photo of a corn wagon with a scoop board on it. You say the iron rods serve as ground supports. The position the rods are in, they are holding the scoop board up. When the scoop board is lowered, you uncross the rods and let it hang on the rods. You’ll also notice that the rods have big eyes on the lower end that will not pass through the scoop board. There’s a fixture that slips over the top of the wagon box that protrudes through the scoop board with a hole in it that the top of the rods hook into.
– Wayne Weiss, 2226 5th Ave., Boelus, NE 68820