Farm Collector


Radisson, Sask., Canada

HAVING BEEN A FARMER and thresherman in Saskatchewan for over 40
years and still interested in the old steam engines and threshers
of bygone days, I decided to write a few lines. It is a cold,
dreary night here 25 below zero with lots of fresh snow and reports
on the radio call for more snow and cold weather. Makes one wish
they had some of the Kansas harvest weather mentioned by Marcus
Leonard in your August issue. Also in the same issue was a picture
of a Huber steam engine owned by Hasenflue Bros., but have not seen
any in operation in many years.

Mr. Jesse Barber of Lavine, Iowa, sure must have had an
interesting life as a thresherman having his 36 different engines.
I would surely like to meet him someday and exchange ideas on the
different makes. Here we have had many kinds such as Case, Gaar
Scott, Avery under mounted and a few Canadian makes such as Sawyer
& Massey, Robt. Bell, Waterloo, Cock of the North and Geo.
White all good reliable engines in their day. My favorite was a
Rumely twin cylinder or a Gaar Scott double simple, but there were
others just as good I suppose.

There were two makes I was never able to see here in Canada,
namely, Wood Bros., and Baker Uniflow. I understand these were very
economical and powerful. We have here in Canada at North Battleford
and Saskatoon, and Yorktob a large collection of old steam and gas
engines, threshers, plows, etc., in the Western Development Museum
at these places. I have visited two of them and can say that the
display of grand old threshing outfits, etc., is well worth seeing
especially by the younger generation who have never seen old timers
in operation. During the Old Time Threshermens Reunion in October
last year, in Saskatoon, being the first old-timers get-together,
it was a huge success. They had plowing demonstrations by Reeves
cross compound steamer pulling a John Deere 12 furrow breaking
plow, a brake test of belt horsepower, a setting up contest,
belting up to separator in the shortest time, in which, what is
believed to be a North American record, was made. A signal
demonstration, an obstacle ace for steam engines and steam engine
races (200 yards) which provided barrels of fun. Also on display
was an old wooden Holt self-propelled combine. This huge machine
traveled about 3 miles an hour and took a 20-foot cut and I was
told, required 4 or 5 men to operate. It was shipped out of Spokane
in 1918 to a large wheat grower in southern Alberta where it was
used for several years and finally brought to the museum. The Women
Members of the Sask. Farmers Union were in charge of the cook car
where they dished out threshermens lunches and other refreshments
including a good old 5 cent cup of coffee which really seemed like
years gone by. Prizes were awarded to the oldest couple on the
grounds and the couple coming the longest distance, which was won
by a dear old couple from San Francisco, California. The
expectations are that another threshermens reunion will be held in
July, which is Saskatchewan’s Golden Jubilee Year and no doubt
will be bigger than ever with entertainment and fun galore for

I sure did enjoy meeting the grand old boys of the threshing
fields of days gone by and would like to hear from any old
thresherman who still likes the smell of the steam and oil, and has
not forgotten the thrill of seeing a drive belt roll, hear the hiss
of 150 pounds of steam at the cylinder cocks.

Thanks a lot for your kind attention and I will go back in my
hole now.

  • Published on Jan 1, 1957
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