Farm Collector


By Staff

Somehow in the passing of events and duties I lost step with my
freelance column, consecutively speaking. Thanks to my friends who
have written or otherwise prompted me to keep scribbling. Before
going to Old Threshers meet at Mt. Pleasant we traded a Waterloo
Boy tractor for a Rambler Station Wagon and so far are satisfied
with our trade. The Midwest Threshers which started some seventeen
years ago hasn’t ceased to grow. In 1966 another large steel
building to house antique farm machinery was added. This building
also houses a 12 x 36 Murry Corliss 100 hp engine, which was
operating under steam from a traction engine. The Midwest Railroad
came up with a three trucker 80 ton Shay. It was often used to
spell off the old Cabbage stack locomotive in hauling passengers
over the tracks that circle the grounds. This Shay is most
interesting and a rare item, purchased from a logging concern in
California. Geo Christian again rode with us to this reunion and
slept in ‘Our Iron-Men’ subscription tent. George meets old
friends from down Illinois way as well as the Dakotas where he has
formerly lived. One of these men whom I had a nice visit with was
Edwin Rosenthal from New Douglas, Ill. He showed me some very
interesting pictures when steam power was in its heyday, and gave
me a nice enlargement of a 35 hp double Minneapolis that he fired
at Pamistrom, North Dakota in 1914. I now have this picture framed.
(See Iron-Men Album, Jan.-Feb. 1958, page 5.) I was helping with
the threshing and baling activities of this show. Here I met Bertha
Briggs from Baxter, Iowa. She had come to see the 24 x 42 Huber Jr.
Thresher with Langdon feeder, slat stacker and measuring buckets.
This machine was purchased new by her father George Christner at
Webster, Wis. in 1920. Thanks to the many willing helpers so
necessary to keep a show going. One ‘ young enthusiast that is
sure to be a helper at this reunion is David Schantz from Rt. 2,
Washington, Iowa. In picture one he is tying wires at the Eli baler
while Bob McLaren from Manilla, Iowa does the feeding. In the next
picture David is emptying the measuring buckets on the 1896 Russell

Geo says if he found a thousand dollars he’d give it back to
the owner if he was a poor man. (Of course he figures anyone losing
that much wouldn’t be a poor man.) Then he was telling about
the Swede who drowned trying to put a cellar under his fish

The next event we attended was at Beldonville, Wis. Here was a
lot of activity and a nice display of old equipment. The steam
powered drag-saw in the picture is owned and operated by Harold
Churchill from Elmwood, was certainly an attraction. Harold is
firing the boiler while Don Fern of Hammond looks on. Working the
sawyers lever is Harold’s grandson. In the center of the
picture is my good friend Wayne Cochrane from River Falls who is
back on his feet after a serious car accident. He feels very
fortunate to be able to attend steam shows again.

On Sept. 19 Alex Edgar from Ayr, Ontario, Canada and his brother
Bob from Montreal stopped over enroute west to visit steam buffs
and take in some threshing Bees. Their collection of ‘old
iron’ includes a 20 hp George While steamer, many tractors, one
rather rare, a 12-24 Beaver, and many gas engines. Sure enjoyed
their visit and it is our hope to attend ‘their’ show
someday at Milton, Ontario.

Come Sept. 25 our annual trek to Lakehead Threshers meet near
Duluth, Minn. These boys have gone all out to put on an outstanding
show in the few years they have collected and have some rare
equipment including a double cylinder Minneapolis steamer belonging
to Oliver Haltli. One of their happy-go-lucky promoters is Nick
Watry pictured hand feeding the over-shot Sterling thresher,
powered by Warren Doan’s 6 hp Frick portable. Can’t tell
you how old Nick is but he’s just a boy when the show is in
session. We were pleasantly surprised on Sept. 29 when Earnest
Hoffers from Toledo, Ohio stopped in with their Chev. pickup
camper. Their son Phillip who was stationed at K I Sawyer Airforce
Base in Michigan had the week-end off to accompany them into
Minnesota and Wisconsin. Enjoyed their slides taken on various
trips, some taken in three dimensional.

Next show in line was at Rollag, Minn. This was our first trip
that we parked on the grounds and slept in our Rambler. The parking
area amidst the trees was filled with campers, everyone parked in
his own carefree way. Here we got a real taste of old style western
threshing. At 5 AM, from remote parts of the grounds, could be
heard a steam whistle, and soon thereafter someone clowning, crowed
like a rooster. From then on workers and guests were steadily
making their way to the ‘cook-shack’ for that ‘all you
can eat’ breakfast at a very modest price. The neat and
spacious log museum with its comforting fireplace has been
completed and additional sheds built to house the added equipment
which includes some very large and rare items. They now have a 120
hp double Rumely steamer #6541 which was bought by Richard Grosz of
Moorehead, Minn, from Mobridge, South Dakota, and has had an
excellent restoration job at Elmer Larsons shop at Moorehead. It is
pictured on the cover of their 1966 Reunion Booklet. Pictured with
a 30-60 Russell tractor is my good friend Ingvard Haugen from
Hannaford, North Dakota, who drove this tractor in the parades
during the show. To his left is Elmer Butze from Moorehead who has
done the fancy and artistic hand painting shown on the 40-80 Gar
Scott tractor, as well as the lettering on many other tractors. O.
H. Loberg from Thief River Falls, Minn, was in charge of a 20 hp
Huber #7181. It was my privilege to steer it for him through the
parade. On the route through the timber we had to stop and rustle
up wood to make more steam. Good thing about a Huber, any wood
length goes and we finished the parade with plenty of steam. My
spouse envied Virginia Osten from Pelican Rapids who was driving a
Massey Harris 4 wd in the parade. You see we have such a tractor
and Alice handles it very well, and has driven these 4 wheel drives
in parades at different shows, namely Archie Stevens, Mt. Pleasant
and at the Duluth thresh bee. One could hardly visit the grounds at
Rollag without meeting up with Selmar Most. He is a local clown in
his own rights and spreads much good will and happiness to this
reunion. He might be found in a booth selling buttons or booklets,
registering guests or he could very aptly take someone for a cup of
that good Norwegian coffee. Somewhat concealed in the booth Selmer
had a cardboard box about a foot square with a yellow paper napkin
the bottom and therein he kept 2 ‘beavers’ that with a
slight prodding you could look at for free. Such was the setting
when Harvey and Esther Obrecht from Thor, Iowa happened along. Thus
curiosity ends in a good laugh when you see two Canadian nickles,
which have a beaver minted on one side.

On our way home from Rollag we stopped at St. Stephens, Minn, to
witness another thresh bee in full session on the W. F. Vauk farm.
Here too was steam threshing using wing feeders. A Birdsell clover
huller in action, powered by a dandy 8 hp steam engine built by
H.P. Lahr of St. Joseph. Log sawing with an 80 hp Case was a steady
pace on some sizeable logs. An unusual attraction was Vauks 35 hp.
Ingeco gas engine belted to a 28′ thresher. Here too, on
display were many antiques.

About mid October, Rudy and Jim Rathert from Forman, North
Dakota, stopped in for a brief visit. Their list of antiques
includes 3 steamers, 21 tractors, 12 gas engines 7 restored cars
and a motorcycle all prior to 1915, plus numerous music boxes
dating back to the turn of the century.

The world is full of willing people: some are willing to work,
others are willing to let them.

Some say every family should have 3 children: if one turns out
to be a genius, the other two can support him.

  • Published on May 1, 1967
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