CLEAT TRACKS IN THE SANDS OF TIME

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Harold Williams
My 30 hp Advance threshing in 1955. Peter L. Jacobson is the engineer. Courtesy of Harold Williams, Ida, Minna

127 S. Douglas St., Bronson, Michigan 49028

There are probably as many accidents and/or incidents today,
with respect to the percentage of population, as there were in the
earlier years and the frequency of fatalities and injuries are
probably even greater now due to the mad rush of the people of this
era to get nowhere. However, if my memory serves me rightly, when
it comes to the comical aspect of an accident (if there is such a
thing) I believe that the old days have it.

Take, for instance, that time way back to the turn of the
century, when my father and a neighbor went partnership in a feed
grinding mill which they set up in an old vacant house in the woods
belonging to the partner. My father tended his engine while the
partner tended the mill room. One day the partner left the mill
running empty at full speed, while he went out of the back door to
guide a customer around to the unloading chute. My dad was in the
engine shed which was a lean-to with a door leading into the mill
room. At this moment the partners wife came in at the front door to
see her husband, but as there was nobody in the mill room, she
decided to look out in the engine shed. In doing so it was
necessary to pass around the end of the line-shaft which was
bracketed to the floor. The shaft was revolving at high speed so
she could not see the square headed set screw on the end of the
whirling shaft, which was left there as a provision for an
additional pulley when needed. This set screw caught the bottom of
her swishing skirts and with the speed of a demon she was down and
in no condition to promenade Broadway, especially in those
days.

From the engine room my dad heard a resounding thud and a
woman’s frightened scream. He dashed for the mill room where he
saw this woman, unhurt except for being scared and somewhat
bruised, in the act of picking herself up from the floor sans most
of her clothing except shoes and stockings and a few shreds of what
was once a corset. Bewildered, she ran around the big room. There
was no place to hide and there were customers outside. My dad,
mortified so he said (sic, sic) ran out into the engine room and
brought back his old overcoat. He was in the act of putting this on
her when her husband came in at the back door.

Well, according to my father, it took quite a little explaining
in the excitement; and it was only a wad of dirty, torn and
shredded rags whirling merrily around on the end of a swiftly
revolving line-shaft that saved a couple of otherwise harmonious
partnerships, – dad and his partner and, – his partner and his
wife.

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