Farm Day Are here Again

| March 2004

Donna Harris enjoys the ancient art of shingle making. She especially likes working with her father, Mason Harris, and friend Allen Young as they demonstrate how shingles were made with an 1850s shingle mill.

The trio hail from Peterborough, N.H., and spend many weekends each summer making shingles with the mill. Most of all, they look forward to Farm Days, held each year at the Muster Field Farm Museum in North Sutton, N.H.

'Farm Days at Muster Field is one of my favorite events,' Donna says with a smile.

Part of the reason that Farm Days is so enjoyable, Donna explains, is because the popular show is held at the end of August, when the searing heat of summer has nearly given way to early fall-like weather. Judging by the crowds at the show in 2003, Donna isn't the only one who loves the vintage farm show..

Farm Days at the museum is devoted to the exhibition of old farm and homestead implements and demonstrations of their uses. Last year's event, held Aug. 23 and 24, drew dozens of exhibitors, like Donna and her father, as well as hundreds of visitors to the historic 250-acre working farm museum in central New Hampshire.

Just millin' around

The shingle mill was manufactured in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire by the J.B. Smith Co. of Sunapee, sometime in the 1850s. The mill consists of a 32-inch-diameter circular saw blade on a carriage with an indexing vice, which feeds the billet to the saw blade and adjusts its angle so the shingles are cut with the familiar taper.

9/23/2015 7:19:37 PM

Shingle mill question(s) My son has acquired an old shingle mill, really just a stack of parts more or less, and it is wood framed with sliding wood carriage like this one pictured. The carriage of his has a rack gear on the bottom that is driven by a mechanism similar to this one pictured we believe. Some parts are missing for the drive for the carriage, and the clutch to start and stop it, along with the name of the manufacturer. There are two mills in Maine that we know of that are similar but are drive by pitman arms on the carriage. Where is the mill pictured here located and would it be possible for me to get someone to take a few pictures of the drive gear, especially for the carriage? In addition I would appreciate any help in finding more info on these old machines.