Dress Rehearsal

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Moving out, morning of threshing day with the 20 HP double Keck Gonnerman.
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Big and li' l threshers getting ready to pose.

Rt #2, Box 30 Tremont, Illinois 61568

Everyone enjoys looking at those old-time threshing pictures
from the good old days the engine belted to the separator before a
house-sized straw stack, the patient horses wait-ing for the racks
to be unloaded, and the ever-present kids with water jugs posed in
front of the whole works.

For years we had kicked around the idea of recreating an
old-time threshing scene as accurately as possible. We always had a
dress rehearsal the weekend before our show why not make it the
real thing?

It was surprising how much enthusiasm there was! ‘Where can
we find the old wide brim straw hats?’ A trip to the local
Wal-Mart solved the problem. Everyone showed up wearing regulation
bib overalls or suspenders and bandanas, and carry-ing pitch forks,
some veterans of actual threshing runs in their grandpa’s
day!

Saturday dawned a picture-perfect, cool sunny day the kind of
day you never seem to get for your show. (It doesn’t sound as
if the old-timers got too many like that either!) Engineer Lloyd
Lehman had arrived a couple of hours before to get up steam on the
20 horse Keck-Gonnerman steam engine. It was a funny feeling, alone
on the farmstead, not a sound save for the birds and the hiss of
the plumbing, watching the gauge creep towards 100 lbs. Then across
the field overall-clad figures carrying forks walking along beside
horse-drawn rack wagons appeared, and work began.

A local newspaper photographer captured the historical
re-creation, from lining up the separator, the ‘hold your
horses!’ holler, and the rhythmic whine as the threshing
machine whirred up to speed and the first bundle hit the cylinder.
The atmosphere was pure nostalgia, some-thing that cannot be
recreated amid parked cars, crowds and flea markets. We made
reprint pictures available to all who participated, so they could
pick out their favorites featuring them or their friends. Finally,
everyone got an 8×10 of the classic ‘All done, ready to move
on’ picture with everyone lined up, including kids and water
jugs.

We recommend this event to any club that wants to get a closer
appreciation of what it is we’re trying to preserve of our
agricultural heritage. And what’s more, it was just plain
FUN!

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment