A 1960s Story Finally in Print

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Allis Chalmers Model E tractor powering 28-52 Baker separator, circa 1938.

Sr. Submitted by his son, Ted Smith P.O. Box 680 Norwalk, Ohio

This story was written by my father before the day of Gas
Engine Magazine, so that is why he talks about the tractors my
grandfather owned. Dad is now 73 years old, and has no idea I found
this story and had it typed up for submission to Iron Men Album.
Ted Smith.

Dad writes:
‘Dear Editor,
‘I have been a reader of your excellent magazine for some
time. I have a picture I am sending you if you care to put it in
the Album. I am a steam fan and also an early gas fan. My
father’s side of the family has always been engaged in custom
threshing, sawmilling, silo filling, building moving, corn husking,
road grading and steam road rolling. My father is in his late
sixties. He has threshed for 43 years without missing a season. We
had to quit in 1947 as there wasn’t enough to pay us to keep us

‘My great-grandfather started with Case machinery. He
started with a Case separator and portable Westinghouse engine. He
ran this rig for a short time and bought a new Case separator and
Case center crank engine. He ran the rig for some time, then his
age and health forced him to give up, so his sons took over (two
brothers). They traded the old rig off for a 16 HP Huber engine and
a new Minneapolis separator. After a while my father bought them
out and ran the rig for a while. The old 16 HP Huber was a little
light for the big old wooden Minneapolis separator. They claim it
was a good machine but pulled very hard. The old saying was it took
a 90 horse engine to pull it. My father bought a 22 HP Russell
compound which he cursed from the day he bought it. He kept the
Russell for four or five years, sold it and bought a 20 HP Aultman
and Taylor. The next year he bought a 32 x 54 Western Special Case
separator, which he used until he quit threshing. We had the
Minneapolis separator for a while and used a 23-90 Baker engine on
it to help do the threshing. The 23-90 Baker engine belonged to a
saw mill and lumber dealer. As time went on, steam was going out in
our locality, so we had to give way to gas. Help was getting to be
a problem, and also we had a drought in our section and water
became a problem.

‘The last couple of years he used steam and I was getting
big enough to help him some. In the year 1927 Dad bought a new
25-50 Baker tractor but it was not delivered until May of 1928.
From then on it was up to me to help him do the threshing, corn
husking, sawmilling, road grading, and moving of buildings (of
which we had a lot). We were busy year ’round. The only source
of power we had was the old Baker tractor.

20 HP Aultman Taylor steam engine threshing wheat south of East
Townsend, Ohio, circa 1925. My dad (Lloyd Smith) and Uncle Lyle are
the twin boys sitting on the engine.

Case 32-54 separator threshing same day as the picture above.
The man in foreground (hunched over) is W.A. Smith, my

This picture, taken the same day as those at left, shows the
complete outfit working: the 20 HP Aultman Taylor engine and 32-54
Case separator.

‘We went along this way for four or five years until we had
too much work for one tractor. About that time, the depression was
on, and a lot of other threshermen had lost their rigs and were out
of business. We had taken over parts of their threshing rings. In
1933 one fellow lost his outfit and we bought his tractor, an Allis
Chalmers Model E built by Nichols and Shepard. We bought a used
30-50 Port Huron wood separator which we used for a while. It was
big and heavy and we would get stuck in the sand. Finally a Baker
salesman made us a good price on a new steel separator, so we
bought it. The old Allis handled this 28-52 Baker in good

‘I ran this rig until I went in the Army. In 1942 I was sent
home to run this rig during threshing season. For some unknown
reason, the barn we had this 28’ Baker stored in caught fire
and burned, destroying the separator. We still had the big Case
separator and Baker tractor. Finally in 1947 the old Case separator
and Allis Chalmers were scrapped because someone’s kids had
destroyed so many parts and they were hard to replace. The old
Baker tractor was headed for the same fate, so I talked my dad into
letting me have it. It was to the point where the grease and oil
had been drained out so the tractor could be cut up. One night I
took my farm tractor and chain with my oldest son and went to my
dad’s place, hooked a chain to it and proceeded to pull it
home. It had set for 13 years, not being started, and was settled
in the dirt pretty deep. After some good strong pulls I got her out
and towed her home. In my spare time I took it apart, cleaned it
and started painting it. After looking and answering ads in
Iron Men Album, I found the parts I needed and restored
it. It was a pretty bad looking sight when I brought it home. Now,
since I have it restored it looks as good as new. Since then I have
acquired another I am going to restore.

Threshing with 25-50 Baker tractor and Wood Brothers separator
at Dad’s in the summer of 1961. That is me (Ted) on the right
fender of the tractor, my grandfather is running the blower, and my
Uncle Lyle is pitching bundles. The other children are my brothers,
and my sister is on the left fender.

‘In 1959 I found a 26 x 46 Woods Brothers separator and did
some threshing for myself, my dad and my twin brother. Last winter
my brother got another sawmill. The sawmill is a Frick-00. It seems
small to me, as we were used to a double mill. Since then my
brother found a C.H.K. Huber that he is going to restore. I used
the old Baker on the sawmill and it sounds just like it used to a
few years back. I also took it this fall to the Richland County
Steam show, in Mansfield. I had some disagreement on horsepower
ratings. I have literature from the A. D. Baker Company on ratings
in catalogues. My father helped sell several of these tractors and
also Baker engines in this locality. Originally they were rated
25-50. On May 25, 1929 they were re-rated to a 43-67 from the
Nebraska test. I have one of the original tests and also a telegram
that Louie Baker sent to my father about the re-rating. Louie Baker
was a son of A. D. Baker and witnessed the test with several other
men. I also have a Nebraska test book with this rating, 43-67. This
rating came along about the same time that the old 25-50 Huber
rating took place which made the Huber 40-62. I have the necessary
literature to back up these rating statements.

‘Back in the early 1930s there were 12 or 13 of these
tractors in surrounding counties around us. I have always leaned
towards Baker because of the indirect drive rather than the direct
drive Huber and other makes used. Even to this day with our modern
farm tractors I prefer the indirect drive.

‘Well, so much for steam engines and tractors. I got carried
away from old times.

‘Yours truly, Lloyd W. Smith, Sr.’

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