| July/August 1961

  • Birdsall engine and Case separator
    This picture, taken in the 1890's, shows a 12 hp Birdsall engine and a Case separator belonging to Melge Golterman, St., of Wentzville, Mo. See article by Mr. Golterman, Jr., telling of the experience of threshing in his family.
    Melge Golterman

  • Birdsall engine and Case separator

JR. Wentzville, Missouri

To the best of my memory, the accompanying picture dates from the 1890's. Father is standing at the left rear of the 12 hp Birdsall with the taller individual to the right, his younger brother, Malcolm. They threshed together for many years until Uncle Malcolm retired because of ill health. My father continued on in the business for many years thereafter. Sorry I cannot give you more details of the picture. Before his illness, Father could even name the horses hitched to the water tank. The separator is a Case agitator. Too bad I failed to take notes when Father was able to give the information.

Below is an account of the experiences of my Father, Melge Golterman of Wentzville, Missouri, who operated a steam thresher for fifty-five years.

Father's first experience with threshing goes back to the late 1870's when Grandfather Golterman threshed his own wheat with a separator belted to the Owens-Lane-Dyer Engine.

My father began his custom threshing career at the age of 19, when together with his younger brother, Malcolm, he started out with a used 12 hp Birdsell Engine and a Case 36 inch agitator separator. At first this had a slat stacker, but he replaced it with a blower. However, they continued with the hand feeder until they changed to a larger Case separator at the turn of the Century.

Many interesting stories center around this hand feeder. Back in those days it was the high ambition of young men to feed the thresher. They took great pride in the skill with which they spread the grain as it was fed into the cylinder. A very special time to be on the platform was when the attractive young ladies were coming out with the lunch.


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