P. O. Box 338, Lowell, Oregon 97452
I will try to write a little about my threshing experiences from the time I was about 6 years old to now. I am going on 73.
Around 1900, a big black engine and separator came in the yard to thresh some grain stacks that Dad stacked in the yard so the straw could be blown in the barn. Even before, I can remember the old web stacker and the horse power with 12 horses in it to run the separator. As I was saying, that first engine scared me, so I hid behind the stacks. But before long I got on the engine and later wanted to be an engineer.
About 1908 Dad bought some prairie land and broke it with the steam engine. I hauled water for it. Later I pitched bundles in the separator. Good old days; good meals and slept in the hay in the barns.
About 1915 I got a job in a Ford Garage in Edgerton, Minnesota. Then in 1916 I got a job running a 40-80 Minneapolis gas tractor for grading roads and threshing. It was a poor tractor. It would not burn kerosene good. It had 4 clutches; two of them were under the motor, the low and reverse. Oil would drip on them and slip. It must have had a bent crankshaft because I had to take up the rod bearings every noon and about once a week, a bearing would go out. It pulled a 12-foot grader only in low, then pulled a 40-62 separator.
I also remember about 1909, Dad bought a 4 H.P. International gas engine to grind feed. I got my experience on that. Then about 1910 Dad bought a 1910 Moline car. We had to buy gas in 5 gallon cans from a hardware store. It had no demountable tires. We had to pump the tires up by hand to about 70 pounds. They were 34 x 3.
About 1912 Ben Pitsley of Chandler, Minnesota, made a home made tractor with binder bull wheels. Grain wheels for the front and a 4 H.P. Sears gas engine for power. It pulled a 14 inch plow. He made the differential and the clutch. No reverse and some way he had to turn the steering wheel the wrong way. I asked him why he did this. He said, 'I made a mistake. I got used to it so I did not change it.' By the way, Ben now lives here in Engine, Oregon. I met him a few times.
Back to threshing. About 1923 I ran an Avery 18-36 gas engine for Fred Jaqua near Edgerton. It was the best engine I ever ran at that time. Both of these engines had open gears. Oil them and they would pick up sand and dirt. If you did not oil them, they would start cutting. They had open bearings with hard oil cups.
Later I ran a Flour City, about a 50 H.P. It had one speed forward and reverse and had no hand throttle. I had to set speed by adjusting the governor. I could tell more but it takes too long.
About 1917 I ran a street car in Wichita, Kansas. A nice job but poor pay. During the depression years I tried to farm near Grey Eagle, Minnesota. Poor times and no luck, so I went back to Wichita and worked as a mechanic for the Santa Fe Truck Company. I worked there a few years and then moved to Sweet Home, Oregon. I worked as a yard foreman for the Willamette National Lumber Company. I also ran the chopper plant there.
Later I went to work for the Western Veneer as millwright. When in 1951 they moved to Eugene, they called it Lane Veneer. I worked there until I retired and then moved to Lowell, about 25 miles southeast up the Willamette River.
Oh yes, I almost forgot to tell that when threshing machines went out of business. I ran a few combines.
In 1964 I had a heart attack so now all I do is tinker in my small shop, make a few miniature steam and gas tractors, miniature cars and whatever T get in my mind. We enjoy it here by Dexter Lake. I have a motor boat and go fishing once in a while but never get anything. Fishermen's luck, I guess.