137 Wellington Street West Toronto I, Canada
Have sure enjoyed 'Iron-Men Album' since my subscription started a few months ago.
However, your July-August issue has an inaccuracy in cut lines, or notes under photos, repeated incidentally, which I must correct. The name, Cockshutt, in Canada is like Roosevelt, Vanderbilt, McCormick, Case to you. Cockshutt plows have been known in Canada and over most of the world for well over half a century.
I refer specifically to Page 13 of your July-August issue, with two photos by a fellow Canadian, Carl Fisher, of Briercrest, Sask., - how well I remember that name from the '20's when I was provincial editor of the old Regina Post!
I write to correct the word, Cock-shut, describing plows twice on that page. The Cockshutt Plow Company was started by Ignatius Cockshutt and his brother back in 1877 at Brantford, Ontario, and believe me, they're still there.
I remember, as a young guy on our farm in Alberta, working on an outfit with two Cockshutt 'Brush Breaker' plows powered by a 110 hp Case steamer. These plows were made in Brantford by the Cockshutt Plow Co., and were built to stand the heavy work for which they were designed. They turned a 24 to 30 inch furrow, 10 or 12 inches deep if need be, to get under the willow or poplar stumps. The beam was compounded of three slabs of steel, each one inch thick, and about six inches wide, bolted together with 1 inch steel bolts. One went back at a 135 degree angle to back end of the land; the centre section went straight down to the mould board brace and land, and the third went forward at about a 45 degree angle to strengthen the 'Cutter' which was notched onto the point of the plowshare and kept razor sharp to slice through stumps and willow clumps. I've seen that old 110 Case snap a one inch steel cable, and I've also seen one of those plows slice through and turn over a 14 inch green poplar stump, and turn it over like Buffalo grass sod.
I've also been one of the hands who worked two days to get that same old 110 Case onto solid ground after the engineer let it bury itself in semi-soft grey clay on this same breaking job. It saved us burning a lot of green poplar, because by the time we got enough 6 and 8 inch logs under those 48 x 84 inch wheels for her to pull herself out of the soft spot, the wood was buried deep enough to stay there, be filled over by 'floats', disc harrows, etc., and rot to form plant food that would help produce No. 1 Northern wheat which commonly ran 60 bushels to the acre on newly broken ground.
John Deere made a good imitation, but with all due respect, they would not take the tough going that those old Cockshutts could. Mind you, that's not the only claim to fame for the Cockshutt Company. But it is certainly one to all old timers who remember the opening of the three Canadian prairie provinces, i.e., Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. They made all types of farm implements, binders, mowers, rakes, plows from single walking jobs to 14 bottom gang plows for steam or gas tractors, and all the rest of it. The names I remember clearly back in the early '20's were Cockshutt, Massey-Harris, John Deere, McCormick-Deering, Oliver, and so on.
You should know that the late Col. Henry Cockshutt (same family and head of the Company) was Lieutenant - Governor of Ontario from September 1921 until January 1927. C. Gordon, his nephew, retired as President of Cockshutt at Brantford within the past year or so.
So, when you speak of 'Cock-shut' plows, you are very, very wrong. Ask John Deere in Moline, I11. Some of the old timers there will remember too well the competition they had in the 'good old days' with the Cockshutt Plow Company.
Keep up the good work, and if you're in doubt at any time about Canadian names or companies like that, don't hesitate to write me. I don't know much, but I can always find the answer.