Twin Valley, Minnesota
I SEE OTHERS ARE writing to our Magazine so I thought I would
try it too. We here are right in the Red River Valley, and we did
use to thresh and no monkey work about it. Here are a few of the
engines and machines I have run. I will start with the first one a
Case return flue straw burner, about 14 hp. In the year 1888 I saw
this outfit moving across a field not far from the house. I stood
just outside looking in amazement at the monster. I had never seen
anything like it before. When the engineer saw the kid (me) he let
out a couple of toots on the whistle. Little Johnny made double
quick time into the house and he never saw any more threshing
machine that year.
My parents next moved into town. In 1890 I saw a new Minnesota
Giant engine and a Minnesota Chief thresher, a Buffalo-Pitts engine
(about 14 hp.) and a California Pitts thresher in operation. Also a
Case outfit, return flue center crank engine.
In 1891 I saw the first Minneapolis return flue engine and
Minneapolis Victory thresher. These engines were all straw
The biggest engines in 1891-92 were 18 hp. Buffalo Pitts return
flue center crank engine. These were all sold in our town (Ade) at
In 1895 I had my first experience cutting bands and bucking
straw, and some straw stacking too. I also saw a couple Ames
engines, return flue and center crank straw burners. In 1896 I saw
the first Buffalo Pitts 25 hp. return flue center crank straw
burner and Buffalo Pitts Niagara thresher, Parsons feeder and
blower with a Dakota elevator. There was a Gaar Scott outfit in the
neighborhood and another one came later. Then the Advance came in.
Several of these rigs were sold out of Ada. A few were 22 hp.
simple engines but most of them were the 26 hp. compound and all
were straw burners. These Advance engines were wonderful good straw
burners, easy steamers and were easy to handle and keep up. I know
I have before me the year book No. 25 Advance Thresher Company,
1911-12 showing all their engines and threshers at that time with
dimensions. They made both side and rear mounted. There were quite
a number of 22 simple side mounted Advance engines in the Red River
Valley. I only saw one Peerless coal burner in our territory, it
was a 16 hp. Then the Russell 20 and 25 hp. engines and Russell
threshers. The Avery came in too. The first one I saw in the
neighborhood was a 30 hp. return flue and 40×64 thresher. One 30
hp. Avery undermounted came in that was bought for plowing but was
not used much.
A 20 hp. Avery direct flue was used for several years. A few
Case outfits were in the community. By this time, 20-65, 25-75 and
at least one 80 hp. There was a Collean 30 hp. near the Red River.
At least one Reeves outfit near Ada, a 20 hp. cross compound. It
did quite a bit of plowing in its day.
There was a 35 hp. double Buffalo Pitts direct flue engine. This
was the biggest engine in our neighborhood. It was used a little
for plowing but mainly for threshing. There were Nichols and
Shepard engines and threshers too. The well known Red River Special
and the Buffalo Pitts engines and threshers were the leading
machines in the Red River Valley for many years and on both sides
of the river.
The Buffalo Pitts thresher holds the record for threshing wheat
in Narsnan County. In 1898 a record was set (it was in the local
paper) for threshing 3400 plus of wheat in one day. It was the
outfit of Lausness Bros., near Halstead. It was a Buffalo Pitts 25
hp. return flue straw burner and a 40×60 Pitts Niagara thresher,
Parsons feeder, blower and Dakota style elevator.