Family Ties Made of Hay Baling Wire

Four generations of a Minnesota family share the old iron gene through collecting hay balers.

| October 2015

  • International baling chamber
    The International’s baling chamber.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Lloyd Johnson
    Lloyd Johnson.
    Photo by Kari Johnson
  • International baler
    The Johnsons had no experience using a baler when they began working with the International. “The first time we set it up,” Doug recalls, “we used up a quarter of a straw stack for one bale until we got the hang of it.”
    Photo by Nikki Rajala
  • international baler belts
    Although engines are mounted on some International balers, the Johnsons’ unit is belted to one of the family’s antique tractors.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • International baler boards
    This view of the IHC baler shows the slotted boards used to aid in tying wire around bales. When the Johnsons got the International, there were no boards with it, so they made their own.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • international baler side
    A side view of the International baler. The International can produce bales of up to 100 pounds.
    Photo by Nikki Rajala
  • international baler illustration
    It is almost impossible to determine the model designation and year the Johnsons’ baler was manufactured, but it could be this Model M, which was in production from 1919-’48. This illustration shows the baler with a mounted engine. The Johnsons’ baler is belt-powered.
    Image courtesy Doug Johnson
  • international baler wheels
    Bale density on the International baler can be tightened or loosened using these wheels.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Case model NCM
    The Johnsons’ handsomely restored 1950 Case Model NCM wire-tie baler.
    Photo by Kari Johnson
  • doug johnson case 20 40
    Doug with his 1917 Case 20-40 tractor.
    Photo by Kari Johnson
  • Case NCM Baler
    The Johnsons once owned a 1950 Case Model NCM wire-tie baler as part of their farming operation. That one got away, but years later they found another and restored into the showpiece it is today.
    Photo by Kari Johnson

  • International baling chamber
  • Lloyd Johnson
  • International baler
  • international baler belts
  • International baler boards
  • international baler side
  • international baler illustration
  • international baler wheels
  • Case model NCM
  • doug johnson case 20 40
  • Case NCM Baler

When Doug Johnson’s father, Lloyd, retired, the rural Shafer, Minnesota, man took up the old iron hobby in a big way. “I’d been collecting for a while by then,” Doug says, “but he just blew me away with everything he was collecting. My dad is 89, and still working at it. He keeps us going.”

Today, four generations of the Johnson family are active collectors. Doug’s brother and sisters (Brad, Sharon and Julie) are collectors, as are many of their children and grandchildren. “Everybody has a little part,” Doug says.

Many pieces from the family collection are housed and shown at the Almelund, Minnesota, Threshing Show, northwest of Taylors Falls, Minnesota. A trio of stationary hay balers – an International, Case and Massey Ferguson – are family favorites. As working units at the show, they’re also reliable crowd pleasers.

IH unit has local ties

The Johnsons’ 1920s International Harvester Co. baler came from a nearby farm museum. “My dad bought it from them about 20 years ago,” Doug says. “We decided not to restore it any more than was required to keep it running. We prefer the old rusty look.”



History on the old machine is spotty, as the owners of the museum have passed away. “He was a local auctioneer who picked up stuff all over the place,” Doug says. “It’s pretty hard now to trace where it came from.”

Everything on the baler was workable when they got it. “There were a few bushing issues that we tightened up,” Doug says, “and the wood blocks for braking were worn out, so we had to make new ones. We oiled it up and freed the works, and it worked as it did before. If something comes up, we fix it, but we want to keep it original.”

Jasonward1991
5/20/2018 2:03:05 AM

We have of those ole cast iron bailers what are thet worth


Dumbass
5/1/2018 5:49:36 PM

I got one what's it worth