HARPER’S HANDSOME HELPER

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Harper's Handsome Helper Courtesy of L. C. Hutton, III, Box 191, Rt. 3, Broadway, Virginia 22815
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- Harper's Handsome Helper Courtesy of L. C. Hutton, 111, Box 191. Rt. 3, Broadway, Virginia 22815 (see story)

Box 191, Route 3, Broadway, Virginia 22815

The powerful but slow steam tractors have long been replaced on
American farms by gasoline and diesel types. Though some of these
giant symbols of the past now stand idle in museums, many of them
are still operated today by hobbyists like Mr. Wilson Harper of
Timberville, Roc-kingham County, Virginia. This year, Mr. Harper
decided to harvest his wheat crop the old way with his antique
steam tractor and threshing machine. The scene was one which has
become quite rare on American farms. Working with Mr. Harper were
two of his sons, Frank and John; neighbor Harold Bear and his son,
Danny; and many other local residents wielding cameras and eager to
relive the past by doing a share of the work.

Mr. Harper is the proud owner of a handsome ‘Peerless’,
made by the Emerson-Brantingham Company of Waynesboro,
Pennsylvania. The tractor has one cylinder, produces fifty
horsepower, and tips the scales about twelve tons. An interesting
feature is the tractor’s set of three whistles, one of which is
from a railroad locomotive.

Mr. Harper acquired his thresher, a 28-inch Case, about two
years ago. Though the machine is decidedly antique, it took an
excellent fifty bushels from the one-acre field.

Mr. Harper is quite enthusiastic about his hobby. He has owned
several smaller steamers before purchasing the ‘Peerless’
locally about 15 years ago. He has been a member of several
organizations for steam enthusiasts, including the Rough ‘n
Tumble Engineers Historical Association of Kinzers, Pennsylvania,
which is the largest organization of its kind in the eastern United
States.

Now that we have better ways of harvesting our crops, it is a
nostalgic pleasure to see and to participate in the old operation
of threshing. Local television station WSVA of Harrison-burg finds
it so interesting that plans have been made to video-tape the
Harper’s buckwheat threshing this fall for television
showing.

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