Canadian Museum Salutes Historical JOHN GOODISON THRESHING COMPANY

By Staff
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The Lambton Heritage Museum of Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada, has
just released limited edition one-sixteenth scale models of the
1915 John Goodison grain separator, and their 1913 style 22
horsepower steam traction engine with matching water wagon, in
tribute to the commercial success the John Goodison Thresher
Company enjoyed in the history of agriculture manufacturing in
North America. The family-operated firm operated in Sarnia,
Ontario, (across from Port Huron, Michigan) from 1889 until the

The Lambton Heritage Museum collection of Goodison sale
literature and machines on which the models are based comprise the
most extensive research collection of archival memorabilia and
artifacts available anywhere for researchers.

‘The Goodison firm earned a respected place in the history
of the North American threshing machine industry, as they shipped
their popular threshers by the trainload to the Canadian West
throughout the first half of this century,’ said Bob Tremain,
museum Curator. The firm also earned the distinction of being the
only Canadian manufacturer of steam engines and threshers to
successfully penetrate the American market. They did so through a
series of sales agents and parts depots from within the USA,
enabling them to fill orders all across the Midwest. Efficient
Goodison threshers were also shipped at that time to ‘The
Argentine’ of South America, and others found their way to
eastern Europe.’

The steam engine model is a 1913 style, 22 HP traction unit with
a high dome. The model also features the internal steam pressure
line utilized by Goodison at that time. It is cast entirely in spun
metal, and then hand painted to match original detailing
specifications and colors.

The scale model 36-50 separator is a quality crafted, hand-built
and hand-assembled collectible. True to the original, this model of
a custom thresherman’s separator has a wooden body. Each
machine bears nine belts driving 16 miniature, rotating, brass
pulleys. Highlighting this machine is detailed pin striping, and
‘circus-wagon’ choices of red, green and yellow body
colors. To complete the custom thresherman’s set, a water wagon
is also available, in red.

Museum reference texts indicate the Goodison firm built no
engines in the early days of the firm, but supplied customers for
complete outfits with the Waterous 17 HP ‘Ontario
Standard” single cylinder engines for the East, and the
heavier double cylinder models for the West. In 1902 they began to
build a few portable engines in their own factory and two years
later entered the traction field. By this time the experimental
stage was over and the firm settled on the open bottom locomotive
type boiler with high dome. Solid stub axles and heavy counter
shaft bracket engine was mounted with the cylinder toward the
smokebox. The Woolf single eccentric reverse gear was adopted and a
lever controlled brake acted on a large drum cast on the inside of
the intermediate gear. The clutch was internal expanding with two
large metal shoes.

Only single cylinder, side mounted engines were built and the
original design was never changed. In 1916 the Watson horizontal
governor was adopted and late models had patented adjustable
exhaust nozzles. Two injectors were standard equipment. Early
engines were rated at 18 HP. A few 25 HP engines were supplied to
customers who did sawmill work in addition to threshing but the 9
inch x 10 inch cylinder engine, rated at 22 HP with high pressure
boiler, was the standard engine built for many years. The last new
engine was built in 1927.

The firm had a novel way of numbering their engines: the last
pair of numbers indicated the number of engines built in the year
indicated by the first numbers; thus Engine No. 1823 was the 23rd
engine built in 1918.

In 1920 Goodison began selling Hart-Parr gas tractors and after
a merger in 1918 became Canadian distributors of Oliver tractors
and equipment. The firm ceased manufacturing about 1950, when
expanding petrochemical industry in Sarnia’s ‘Chemical
Valley’ acquired the Goodison property.

The production run was produced especially to museum
specifications by Teeswater Custom Tractor, specialists in quality

The models come packed with a letter confirming a limited
production run. An identification plaque denotes the serial number
within the limited edition of 600 pieces, and a corporate history
accompanies each unit. The models are available from the Lambton
Heritage Museum gift shop see ad in this issue for detailed
ordering information.

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