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
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
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
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.