1915 Threshing

| September/October 1991

  • Reeves threshing rigs

    Mary Ann Sindelar
  • Nichols and Shepard

    Mary Ann Sindelar

  • Reeves threshing rigs
  • Nichols and Shepard

Above is a very interesting picture. Even though I was not quite seven years old when it was taken, October sixth in 1915, I'm standing on the tractor wheel by the engineer.

The picture is of two Reeves threshing rigs threshing on the same straw stack. One was a steam rig and the other was a gas tractor. Dad had two threshing runs next to each other and one finished on October the fifth the day before this picture was taken. He talked the crew into coming over to help finish this run.

Not only were the engineer, thresher man and stacker man involved, there were 12 or 14 bundle wagons, 8 to 10 grain wagons, five or six field pitchers and the water boy there too. Quite a group of men on an 80 acre oats field.

Note that the tractor is closer to the thresher than the steam engine is. A hundred foot belt on the tractor put it fifty feet from the thresher, while a one hundred fifty to two hundred foot belt was required for the steam engine, which placed it seventy five or more feet away. Steam engines have a way of making more sparks rigs have to be set with the wind and there is more fire hazard. Often log chains were hooked to the tongue of the thresher and laid towards the engine so that the engine could pull up quickly, hook on the chain and pull it away from the straw stack. Sometimes, hot bearings would cause a fire, also.

Note the man standing on the left thresher, my dad's brother, with his two sons standing on 10 gallon cream cans by his side. You probably have guessed it, they were filled with water, the only fire extinguisher of the day. In Dad's many years in the threshing business, he never lost a machine in a fire.

Dad was sure the tractor was the first one in a county or two area. Our engineers called it 'The Moss Back' because of the difficulty many times in starting. Most of all of the first tractors had priming cups over the cylinders making it easy to prime. Canned ether was carried in the winter for priming purposes. Many of the early cars had priming cups also.


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