| March/April 1970

  • Advance Rumely and steam engine tractor
    My Grandpa, Noah Mill, who moved from Ohio to the sooner state (Oklahoma) and homesteaded in the early days always had a thresher and steam engine ever since I can remember. I grew up on the farm and we lived mile from where Grandpa lived in Oklahoma and
    Chester Pennington
  • Evenson and Harvey threshing machine
    The Evenson and Harvey threshing machine at Winger, Minnesota in 1915. The engine is a 25 hp. Case tandem compound straw burner. The separator is a 36 by 60 Rumely separator. Tom Evenson is the engineer and Tilmar Stai, fireman. Courtesy of John Er
    John Erickson

  • Advance Rumely and steam engine tractor
  • Evenson and Harvey threshing machine

Box 21, Wichita, Kansas 67201.

I am one of the many old, old, old, old threshermen who griped because we do not see the experiences of old-timers the real McCoys who threshed by the pull of the throttle for a many and many a year and from dawn till setting sun and could we say 'Backward turn backward, oh time in your flight Let me dream again of threshing (with steam) again just for tonight.'

No foolen', no time of the year so dear to a youngster than when in the distance we would hear the pretty chime whistle sounding the entry of a season of threshing. In our neighborhood in the southern Ohio Hills is where I was born and the year was 1886, April 20. That was just two years after Frick came out with their world famous Daniel Boone that won the gold medal in every state fair and to note that this engine design was the one that proved most favorable of all engine designs from that time until the gas tractor. It was rear mounted with main shaft and flywheel on back end of boiler just where it was right for all purposes of threshing and plowing.

So, why not let me start by telling my little story of charm and thrills that only a steam engineer has ever known, hoping to 'rile' the blood of other old duffers who loved the smell of steam when steam was supreme! I don't claim the honor of deserving men, like Leroy Blaker who seemed to live to love the music, the look, the smell of the old engine as the sheaves entered the cylinder. Was all hand fed and sometimes a sheaf by accident fell in without the band of the sheaf cut and then did the engine groan! The black smoke rolled causing an overload but steam engine never misfired. Every stroke was a power stroke and soon the speed was back to normal again and that would be cause for another shovel of coal and look forward and see that cylinder roll.

But hold on old fellow threshermen! We are at a scene in the real pioneer days of threshing. The tallow pot lubricated the cylinder besides adding to that most pleasing smell that we say and hope went up to Heaven for in that day and time that is to come we shall breathe again. A smell that was so familiar and so dear to the heart of threshermen in the early pioneer days when songs, compositions, and singing such songs as 'On the Bank of the Wabash' and 'Girl of My Dreams' was tops. And by the way 'Old Duffers' who can thresh and write even better than me, don't fail to tell of the songs you sang of evenings when the the boys and girls gathered round to melodize the glorious end of the day.

For me, I'm glad I grew up in the Hills and to know the joy of a life of a hillbilly. I loved the hill so steep that made the old engine puff slower but stronger on and on up to the top when like a conquering hero the sound of that pretty chime whistle that sounded the 'Glory of Conquering Steam.'


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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