Remembering the Allis-Chalmers No. 10 Roto-Baler

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As soon as I got a glimpse of the cover on the August 2017 issue of Farm Collector, I knew I had to write you to tell you of my experience with one of those balers. I was working as a mechanic at C.A. Smith & Son Allis-Chalmers dealership in Topeka. Our area A-C blockman from Kansas City brought one of them to Topeka and made arrangements to demo it at a farm a few miles west of Topeka. The customer had cut a field of prairie hay and raked it into fairly heavy windrows as recommended for the normal round balers. The customer had one of them and it worked well and made nice bales. He had already baled part of the field.

To make a long story short, we worked for about three hours that evening and finally got one round of the field baled. It was a mess. Even though the baler sped up during the wrapping and ejection process, by the time it was done there would be a pile of hay the size of the Allis-Chalmers WD-45 we were using for power (it was not an engine-driven baler) in front of the feeder. Then, if we weren’t careful, the whole pile would go into the baler at once. We managed to kill the tractor several times and then would have to go in with hay hooks to dig the mess out of the baler. Needless to say, the customer was not favorably impressed.

This story in Farm Collector is the first mention of this baler I have ever seen. When I’ve tried to describe it to folks, I think they thought I had been dreaming. One interesting fact about this baler I remembered is that when the baler sped up so much to wrap the bale, the twine went through the guides in the box (and wherever else it went) so fast that the guides had to be made of ceramics. Otherwise, the twine would wear grooves in the guides that eventually got so sharp, they cut the twine.

Harold Parman, Topeka, Kansas

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