| January/February 1955

  • Case 25-75 steamer of 1909
    Courtesy of J. J. Huston, Holdrege, Nebraska.
    J. J. Huston

  • Case 25-75 steamer of 1909

In nisfail, Alberta, Canada

From the Days of the Steam Plowing Age

(This is Part III)

There were some of the best engines for all around hard slugging which never entered the competition, but those makers had all their head engineers and designers follow every detail. Again, a number of times a Gold Medal winner in the competitions could not, over a period of five years, stand the hard usage of prairie plowing compared to a lower class winner and so, in the end as far as I could see, the great good that came from the whole thing was more perfect design both in engines, boilers and gearing, and more accessibility for making repairs. This was borne out by the attitude of all the gas engine operators. For the first two years an entry never knew whether he would complete the run or not. In four years this had disappeared and was replaced by complete confidence in whatever unit was in operation. The Internal Combustion engine had been developed and was now pushing the grand old steam engine back further each year. One thing all the steam men had satisfaction with was the Brake test. Was it ever grand to see the steam there.

Case 25-75 steamer of 1909 and Case38x58 thresher. The engine is a straw burner.

We turn now for a little, to the experiences of plowing. The more commonly used plows were the Cock-shutt, Parlin and Orendorff, Case Saterley and Reeves steam hoist plows. There were others, but in the Canadian fields these were more commonly seen in the large sizes. In the heavy gumbo we could never use mould boards, but had to use rod bottoms as nothing made would clean as well in black soil. In the third plowing after breaking, the swing was to disc plows from 15 to 20 bottoms. The average load pulled in breaking was 12 to 14 plows cutting 14 inches. If the season was dry, that had to be cut down. The average life of a plow share with 2 new points layed on was 40 days. We used to change shares every 24 hours and always had three sets on hand. Of course a blacksmith had steady work where two engines were going.


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