A Case Rides (and drives) Again!

| March/April 1984

Helen Case Brigham, great-granddaughter of J. I. Case, recently enjoyed the opportunity to follow in his footsteps when she took the helm of Thomas R. Gingell's 50 HP Case at the Mason-Dixon Historical Society's Steam Gas Round-Up.

In 1850, Jerome Increase Case the founder of the J. I. Case Company and pioneering inventor/manufacturer of agricultural equipment was traveling the Midwest selling his machines, trading horses and standing behind every deal he ever made.

A letter 'J. I.' wrote to his wife, Lydia, on September 5 of that year from Madison County, Indiana, described how some purchasers of one of his machines abused the equipment so badly that 'they condemn it as worthless ... say they could not thrash 30 bushels of good winter wheat in a day with it and that they will have nothing more to do with it.

'If I can get horses, I will show people that the machine is just as I recommended it to be,' Case wrote. 'It is going to detain me longer than I expected, but I shall make every possible effort to return (home) as soon as possible.'

Five days later, he wrote Lydia again to report: 'The men who had the machine got it so much out of repair that I was not able to put it in order, try it and get away again until this morning. They had completely murdered the reputation of the machine. Could only average whilst thrashing some 30 bushels of wheat per day.

'They utterly refused to pay me for the machine,' Case continued, 'and the neighbors (Hoosiers in full), supposing the machine to be Yankee humbug, advised them to sue me for damages.'