A Legend In His Own Time


| January/February 1990


'He didn't intend to be, it's just the way he was,' writes Bruce Vander-vest, N8193 Cty. C, Casco, WI 54205, in a letter about the late Jim Rabas, Sr., who died August 27, 1989.

'Jim owned, collected and ran several steam traction engines and related equipment. This did not start out as a hobby, but as a way of life, custom threshing in northeastern Wisconsin. Jim Rabas, Sr., in my opinion, symbolized what rural America was and what old engine collecting is about. I am thankful I was born in time to have known Jim and men like him,' Vandervest continues.

According to newspaper accounts from the Algoma Record Herald, Jim Rabas Sr. purchased his first steam engine, a 75 HP Minneapolis known as 'The Big Jim,' at age 17. With the engine and a separator, he did custom threshing in the Pilsen and Stangelville, Wisconsin areas.

'Jim's favorite place to be was on one of his steam engines pulling a polka band in a parade,' the Record Herald's report continues.



An earlier article from the same newspaper tells more about Rabas: He continued threshing until 1948, then afterwards maintained his steam engines for shows and parades. The longest trip for 'Big Jim' was on the highway from Algoma to Milwaukee to exhibit at the State Fair. For exhibits and transportation, he replaced the metal wheels with large tires.

A founder of the Wisconsin Historical Steam Rodeo, Inc., Rabas is survived by his wife of 52 years, the former Mildred Kirchman, two sons, two daughters, and thirteen grandchildren.














SUBSCRIBE TO FARM COLLECTOR TODAY!

Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.




Facebook Pinterest YouTube

Classifieds


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265