Wagner-Langemo Hooverizer Threshing Machine

Minnesota man restores rare Minnesota-made Wagner-Langemo Hooverizer threshing machine

| August 2011

Roger Haugen remembers seeing threshing machines operate in fields, but only worked with them one time. “As a little kid, I can remember running out and jumping on the truck and riding out into the field,” he says. “I only threshed once, and I think that was when everybody was already done with the old threshers, and a guy decided to thresh to get a straw pile in his yard.” 

But that one experience must have left a lasting impression, as he now has five antique threshing machines in his collection of old farm relics. Roger’s interest in old iron goes back to 1955 when his father took him to see tractors at the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag. “I thought, ‘Good grief, why do we have to go down there? We have enough old tractors around here.’”

But it must not have been all bad. “After seeing movies that Dad took, I made the trip to Rollag in 1956,” he recalls. “A friend of mine had bought a 1919 20-40 Case and restored it. I’d seen that tractor parked in the trees for years. In 1959, he sold it to me.“

That was the starting point for Roger’s collections, which today number 15 tractors, five threshing machines, phonographs, radios, cream separators (“Anything dairy,” he says) and more. “Maybe if you came up here you could figure out why I collect all this stuff,” he says with a chuckle.

Stumbling onto a prize

One of Roger’s prize acquisitions is a 1922 Wagner-Langemo 24-41 “Hooverizer” thresher (learn more about the Hooverizer in related article on page 21). “A fellow by name of Alfred Chapman down by Dent, Minn., was rumored to have more than 300 threshing machines in his collection at one time,” Roger says. “When I first went down there, he had more than a hundred, all lined up in a monster parking lot at the edge of Dead Lake. In 1994, I heard he was having them crushed and sent up to Canada, so in the fall I figured I’d better go down there and save some of them.”

On that trip Roger bought a 40-64 Minneapolis threshing machine. His friend, Norman Bjerndahl, was looking for parts for another Minneapolis when they stumbled onto a building with a few more threshing machines inside. “Norman said, ‘I think there are a couple of Wagner-Langemos in there.’ We went in and looked them over,” Roger says. “I didn’t think much about them until I started doing some research and discovered they were kind of rare. I knew once they were gone they’d be gone.”