Steam threshing hasn't disappeared, as the photos from this Quebecois reader attest.
Eric J. Campbell of Shawville in Quebec, Canada generously sent us some pictures of steam threshing taken over the last few years, along with good commentary on each photo. He says:
'Picture #1 is threshing in 1992. That year was the biggest yield of oats I ever saw up here in this part of the country. We were getting ninety-five to one hundred bushels to the acre. We had two steam portables going, a 1911 Case and a 45 HP on a 28-46 I.H.C. separator, and a 1896 Sawyer-Massey portable engine on a 22-38 I.H.C. separator. We threshed 2,500 bushels that day, September 12,1992.
'Picture #2 was taken August 20,1997. We threshed 60 acres of oats that day, 3,500 bushels. We had three mills going all day long. Not a bad day's work.
'Picture #3 is Keith Miller from Eganville, Ontario, running the 1895 model L3, Sawyer-Massey traction engine. We had three engines and mills going all day long.
'Number 4 is a picture of threshing September 9, 2000, with three mills and three engines, two 17 HP Sawyer-Masseys and a 45 HP 1911 Case. The center mill is a Dion built at St. Teresse, Quebec, Canada, about 1949, a 22-32, the smallest they built. It's in excellent shape we never did much threshing with it and it's all restored and painted to look new.
'Picture #5 is another photo of the Case engine with three fellows from Pennsylvania who were up for the threshing. They are, left to right, Elias Beiler, from New Holland, Pennsylvania; Jack Hussey from New Holland, with striped shirt; Orin Higgins with overalls, also from New Holland; and Tom Quinell from Huntington, Quebec, leaning on the belt wheel. These look like Case men to me!
'Picture #6 is of a new wooden water wagon built in February, 2000. I wonder if this is the first wooden water wagon built this century? It is modeled after the Sawyer-Massey wagon built in 1904. It is made of eastern white cedar with white ash frame on top. There are four compartments. The front one has a valve to keep the water from running back when going up hill. The wooden tank sieve keeps the water clean, and it's well worth having, so that no dirt collects in the injectors or check valves. My friend Norman Wiggins and I built the wooden tank in his carpenter shop, and I built the wagon in my metal shop. We thought it might be the first in this century.
'Photo #7, taken in September, is of my 17 HP Sawyer-Massey engine. My water wagon and my 22-32 Dion complete the threshing outfit.
'I sure enjoyed the pictures of the Huber factory you ran in a previous issue. It gives some idea of the work and machinery needed to make those old engines. It would be nice if there were pictures from other makes of engines, as well as other farm machinery and the plants where they were made. There don't seem to be any pictures from Canadian manufacturing plants left up here, where they made steam engines and threshing mills.' FC