| July 2002


'Horrible mess' of a corn cutter retrieved, restored

Brad Reive's grandfather bought a used Noxon corn cutter in 1921 in Essex County, Ontario, Canada, to use on his new farm in the Highgate area of nearby Kent County. After a neighbor, Robbie Wilson, borrowed the old cutter in the 1950s, the Reives almost lost track of it, but thanks to a chance conversation a few years back, it's home again.

Brad says his uncle sold the grandfather's Highgate farm more than 40 years ago, but Brad's father, George Reive, stayed in touch with their old neighbor. 'Dad and I happened to be talking to Robbie a few years ago, and he indicated he had this cutter. We asked the price, and he said that he never purchased it, so we still owned it.'

That revelation prompted a quick foray to Highgate by Brad and a collector friend, Bruce McCann. They walked past the dismembered cutter three times without seeing it in the brush -'You have to remember that I had never seen this cutter; it was old and obsolete long before my time!' Brad says.

Eventually, Robbie came out to help them with the hunt and finally turned it up. When Brad first saw it, he didn't think it was a candidate for any sort of restoration. 'What a horrible mess! I loaded it up and took it home, thinking that I would more than likely scrap it.'

The unit was made by the Noxon Brothers Manufacturing Co. of Ingersoll, Ontario. Brad tracked down some Noxon product literature that dated from 1890 and that now is on file at the University of Guelph, Ontario, but his particular unit was not listed in the post-1890 documents, which makes him think it was built prior to that year.

According to Linda Amichand of the McLaughlin Library at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Noxon was in business from 1875 to 1981 and made cultivating, seeding and harvesting machinery. Not all of the Noxon documents now at the library have been catalogued, she added.