Remembering a scary incident tightening straw walkers on a Wood Bros. separator
Roger Haugen interviewed his uncle Herb Stromberg, and in his uncle’s voice related his story of a close call with a 21-36 Woods Bros. separator and Fordson tractor in 1925, in Memories of Bygone Years, the 1999 edition of the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion booklet:
“It was harvest time and I was 10 years old. Dad and I stayed in the field at noon to grease the separator. He asked me if I would crawl inside to tighten the straw walkers, which were hammering a bit.
“I crawled inside the machine between the straw walkers and sieves up to the front boxes. I had watched Dad do this before so I knew what to do. I was just finished bending the tin on the nuts when I heard the magneto click on the tractor. I was heading for the door when the tractor started. The separator started going, straw walkers started their up-and-down rotation. I had to watch out for them while sliding back and forth on the sieves. There was not much to hold onto when everything was moving. Finally after about five long minutes, I got a hold of the edge of the door. All this time I was also listening to the roar of the blower fan and trying to make sure to stay clear of it. I don’t even remember if there was dust, but it must have been a lot.
“When I crawled out the door the bundle wagons had pulled up and were about to pitch bundles. My dad was standing by a wagon talking to a fellow and he had forgotten all about me. When he saw me, he turned as white as a sheet. He didn’t have anything to say, and I just went home for dinner. If I hadn’t heard the impulse click I may not have had that little extra time and could have been thrashed.” FC