Ed. L. Halle Recalls THE DAYS GONE BY


| May/June 1957



Otto Fennier's Huber in distress

Courtesy of Ed. L. Halle, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Ed. L. Halle

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

IT WAS IN 1892 AND 1893 that the last portable threshed at our place in the town of Friendship. I remember this engine very well. The crankshaft was in front of the dome, just back of the smoke stack, the flywheel was fairly large and had curved spokes. The crosshead guides were 4 bar locomotive type, held together on the out end by a yoke bracket.

ACT 1. This is the Otto Fennier's Huber in distress. Happened at the West Branch of the F. D. L. River in 1914. The horse shoe on the grease box symbolizes the luck had by the riders of this Huber. Their lives, hung on the last few inches of the rear end of the bunker frame. She. will be in worse shape before she gets out of this. It is Saturday afternoon.

Old wood cuts in newspaper files of the Fond du Lac 'Journal' for 1868 and 1867-68, show Russell portables and these fit the picture that I have in my memory of this old engine but remember that I was too young to read so I don't know what make it was same holds for the separator, hand fed, of course, with integral apron stacker. The rig was owned by Bob Grallop, farmer, thresherman and saw miller a fine, orderly, responsible man. I, threshed for him when I had a rig years later, of which more later.

In 1894, the 'Lamb Boys' (the 'red Lambs'), 7 boys, sons of Peter and Mary Lamb. Not one of them ever went to school a day in their lives. Old Peter, a devout man educated them himself. When he first settled in the town he built his buildings a quarter of a mile from the road so the children wouldn't come in contact with the wicked world. There was Joe, Henry, Tom and John (twins), Willie, Mike and Dick, and Mary. Henry and the twins, and Dick had the threshing outfit. Henry was boss and fed the separator. Tom ran the engine, John was separator man, and Dick hauled water.

I remember very clearly the day in the fall of 1894 when the Lamb boys pulled their new rig into the yard, a Rumely self-propelled 10hp. Link reverse (the first ones had the Stephen-son link motion) and Rumely separator all painted and striped brand spanking new, with separate stacker, the whole a grand and exciting thing to a young kid of 6 quite unforgettable. As soon as the separator had been set between the stacks and Tom had backed into the belt and the threshing job started, I got myself a large piece of stove wood and fixed myself a grandstand seat in back and to the left of the engine. I was curious about the crankshaft and flywheel being on the back end of the boiler. After Tom had gotten his fire fixed and his holes in the barrel, he came over to where I was sitting and asked me how I liked it. I told him that his engine was built wrong. I wanted to know why they put the engine on top of the boiler backwards. Tom explained that this was a self-propellor, 'it goes along the ground by itself', and as a result it was necessary to have the flywheel in back because of the gearing. His explanation satisfied me somewhat. Soon he came around again and asked if I thought I could get used to it. Now the Rumely had a cover over the crank to keep the mud carried up by the drive wheel, out of the brasses. I told him that I didn't like that feature because I couldn't see the engine work. 'Well,' he said, 'we can fix that.' He stepped over and turned the cover over so the crank and rod could be seen. It's an odd thing but from that time on when that engine was running in the belt that cover was always open. As a matter of fact, this was true even on the twenty horse which they brought out later until somebody started away from a setting having forgotten about the cover and it was torn off.