Auction of Large Agricultural Museum Pieces

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R.D. 2, Box 842 West Winfield, New York 13491.

Early Westinghouse thresher hand feed and drag stacker, made in
Schenectady, New York, around 1890, used until 1952. Bought at the
September 1992 Chapman auction by Steve Davis.

The central New York town of Bridgewater was the setting
September 3 and 4, 1992 for the dispersal of Vyron Chapman’s
large agricultural museum. Martin Auctioneers of Intercourse,
Pennsylvania, handled the sale. Their specialty is generally large
carriage, wagon, and tack sales.

Mr. Chapman operates a large potato farm, and for many years has
accumulated early farm machinery. In the winter months a lot of the
machinery was restored in his very large and well equipped farm
shop and then placed in his museum building. This building was
built in the 1930s as the hop barn for what was planned as a
rebirth of the once flourishing hop business. However, it was only
used once before the whole project went under. The building is
still in great shape, largely because solid copper was used to roof
the entire structure, a costly method in any age.

‘The Pennsylvania’ barn thresher, made by Heebner and
Sons, Lansdale, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. A very early
machine bought at the Chapman auction by Doug Satterlee,
Bridgewater, New York.’

Because of Mr. Chapman’s involvement with potatoes, many of
the machines related to the planting, hilling, dusting, and
harvesting of them. He did not however, neglect other aspects of
farming, as evidenced in the auction catalog, which ran to forty
pages! There was truly something for everyone broad axes,
tomahawks, butter workers, washing machines, cook stoves, ice
tools, about 50 walking plows, 40 cultivators, and about 60 wagons,
sleighs, buggies, and related vehicles. An unforgettable sale to
say the least.

I will consult my notes in the catalog and give the prices for
the machinery which would relate to the Iron Men Album. All
machinery in good or restored condition.

Model T ton truck $3650; foot powered metal lathe $350; hand
operated drag saw $50; one row corn planter $45; a Shaw Du-All
tractor $100; dog tread power $260; 3 HP Stover gas engine $150;
Fairbanks-Morse style C, new, still in crate, $400; J. D.
horsedrawn spreader $100; Adriance team mower $50; Wood one horse
mower $300; Crown grain drill $20; unusual team mower with
cutterbar between the wheels $400; Johnston rake-off type reaper
$200; all wooden hay loader $30; wooden land roller $25; two
stationary barn threshers, one a Heebner $110, and one a Leon
Damour $65; a large Westinghouse thresher $75; small Emery Brothers
groundhog thresher $10.

The single and double seat buggies and sleighs generally sold in
the $300 to $700 range. The heavier type vehicles were highlighted
by a real nice J.D. grain wagon at $450, and a Gruber type wagon at
$1400. The walking plows generally fell in the $40-$50 range, as
did a good share of the walking cultivators. The sulky plows went
in the $100-$120 bracket, with riding cultivators in the same
general range.

I attended both days of the sale with wife Sally and good friend
Doug Satterlee and, as usual, we couldn’t resist buying some
treasures to add to the home collection. Even though we only live
five minutes away, it took about six hours to truck it all home, as
we bought some of the larger and most unwieldy items. I’ve
included a picture of my poor and much abused single axle trailer
staggering under the bulk of the early Westinghouse thresher. This,
of course, was only one of many trips, but it was certainly the
most precarious. Would I do it all over again? Sure I would!

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