All-New Case Steel Thresher

300 Leon Dr. Apt 4 Jonesboro, Louisiana 71251

On a trip to Peoria to the branch offices of machinery suppliers
for repairs, we passed through the metropolis of Allenstown. Peoria
was the capital for the industry for most brands you might wish to
consider for purchasing parts, seek information, or just meet
friends on a rainy or winter day, and a place to go.

We had noticed that threshing was about to commence. Dan
apparently had made mental note of the location of the grove in the
farm pasture, and by the time we returned, the work had begun.

The rig was a new ALL STEEL J. I. Case thresher. The Case people
seem to have gotten the jump on competition again for the change
from the wood thresher to all steel construction. They apparently
had the desire to be number one in the industry while the
competition mudded along with the wood separator.

Now the users weren’t entirely sold on a steel thresher. The
debates on which was the proper materials for the separator were
almost ridiculous such as: ‘There was no way to replace the
exterior sheets without having special tools since the rivets had
to be cut off and replaced in a field repair operation if either
were rusted or worn. The noise factor when in use was almost
unbearable for a human being to tolerate. The horses around the
machine would be skittish and ready to run away whenever the
slightest noise developed. They likened it to beating on a tin wash
tub. The sun deflection would damage your eyes. The tin sheets
could cause strange skin disorders (they had not known of AIDS at
that time or skin cancer). They reasoned the wood used on the older
models would absorb the sun rays, it had to be more pleasant to
work around. So the dealers or company representatives had to take
the new model to the users and prospects to encourage buying; this
is what it was all about in those days.

The users were reluctant to purchase the new model. They could
continue with the original model they had and it might have been
paid for, and if not, at least wait until they could get the first
purchase paid off. Then they could tolerate a pitch from a pushy
salesman. We were about to see this new Case thresher, all steel
machine, being demonstrated. We stumbled into an event.

However, the urge to inquire, be informed, or just plain being
nosy to see what was going on prevailed.

We pulled to the side of the road and crawled through the fence,
and in a few steps we were near the tractor furnishing the belt
power, a newer J. I. Case Model L tractor. There was Mr. Arch who
was the J. I. Case dealer in a nearby town, yes Dan knew him, why
shouldn’t he, they were stalwarts in their state association,
the Illinois Brotherhood of Thresher men, who met annually in
Peoria at the Jefferson Hotel. Yes, they were acquainted and
perhaps respected each other as any good competitor did in those
times.

As we neared the threshing rig there was a very obvious high
pitched sound that other people wanted to ignore deliberately, but
after a minimal exchange of greetings, Arch and Dan finally got
down to facts of the day. Arch approached the subject with Dan,
‘What the hell is that high pitched sound? I have checked
everything on the separator and I can’t find what is making
it.’ Now this was a rarity for an old hand such as Arch to
solicit help in solving his own service problem. That was the
attitude of the older thresher men. They took pride in working out
their own problems and usually did not relish telling competitors
how or why certain problems were solved. It was their copyright.
They weren’t about to give these learned secrets of their trade
to some greenhorn or engineer fresh out of college. Let him get it
the same way he did. He would dispense his knowledge of the secrets
as he desired. But this was different. His new steel thresher was
in jeopardy. After all, he came out to show and sell and it had to
be a good show, for he was obligated to himself to make a good
showing of his chosen work. And the equipment he was selling must
be the premium piece of the demonstration. Maybe he panicked. It
had to be taken care of NOW. The noise was loud enough to drive
anyone to drink.

I don’t remember that Dan studied the situation but a short
time. His mental wheels must have been turning while greeting Arch,
for at that instant, he turned to Arch and asked him for his old
standby, ‘a large pump oil can.’

Arch reached up on the tractor and handed him the oil can. Now
Dan had a keen ear for troubles and he headed for the front of the
feed table chain shaft bearings and pumped several healthy shots of
oil at the bearings on the pipe shaft.

The noise was no more! Arch was a gentleman and gracefully
thanked him, and they discussed it in detail. They both agreed, the
factory engineers were at fault for using a steel pipe shaft in a
cast bearing with no bushing or means of lubrication. Why
didn’t they just drill a hole in the cast bearing so oil could
get to the shaft? Or better still, they sent a new Alemite grease
gun in the tool box. They could have put in an Alemite fitting in
the bearing or at least a cheaper setup with a Zerk fitting that
would have cost less than anything an engineer would know about.
These big companies should push the engineers off their soft chairs
and make them come out in the field with these new machines. They
put it on paper, but they never seem to want to know whether it
will work or not. If they were here they would learn a thing or two
from field experience. The companies pay them too much money
anyway.

Well, we soon left the scene to get back to our own problems in
our hometown and Arch was feeling better enjoying his show.

All apologies to the college engineers.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment