Besides the faithful steam engine and thresher,
the lasting impression of any threshing scene has to be the
threshing belt. Long and strong, the humble threshing belt was
literally the tie that bound farming equipment together. After all,
without a belt, you weren’t going to get anything threshed, nor
were you going to run a host of other equipment depended upon day
after day to keep the farm running.
In this day of highly mechanized combine harvesters, it’s easy
to forget the importance of a good threshing belt. At one time,
belt-making operations dotted the country, as dozens of companies
fought for the top slot in the market for threshing belts.
Chief among these competitors were United States Rubber Co., New
York City, N.Y., and Hettrick Manufacturing Co., Toledo, Ohio,
whose ads appeared in almost every issue of the venerable farming
publication The American Thresherman.
The ads shown here appeared in the August 1924 issue, where,
predictably enough, both companies touted the superiority of their
belts. Hettrick liked to call particular attention to offering both
red and black belts, while United States Rubber stressed the
dependability of its “Sawyer” line of belts. Which ever belt a
farmer chose, the work obviously got done.
As late as 1956, International Harvester Co. continued to
produce a belt-driven thresher. The next year, it was no longer
offered, and as the old thresher finally gave way to modern
machinery, the storied threshing scene, and the belt that made it
possible, became a thing of the past.
About the only time you’ll see a belt in action these days is at
a farm show, and anyone new to the concept is amazed at the length
and strength of this simple piece of equipment.
Belt-making equipment, especially the old belt lacers used to
clip the ends of a belt together, has become collectible, and those
lucky enough to have working knowledge of belts and belting are in
high demand at the hundreds of farm and threshing shows now held
across the country.
Farm Collector periodically reproduces some of the most
spectacular advertisements used to promote farm equipment and farm
products in days gone by. To submit a vintage advertisement for
possible publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm
Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit
high-quality digital images by e-mail: