ILLINOIS THRESHERMEN’S JUBILEE

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A snapshot of the engines at the Illino is Threshermens Jubilee, Colchester, Illinois. One engine is missing, it being an Advance then in use to finish up threshing at that time
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Courtesy of R. G. Pratt, Wentlea, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich, England
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Gaar Scott 22hp. No. 11265 furnishing steam at 160 lbs. pressure to operate 7x7 Star engine on Star Drilling: Machine during May, 1955. Courtesy of C. M. Reed, 426 Marga ret St., Akron 6, Ohio

Colchester, Illinois

On July 23rd and 24th, the Illinois Threshermen’s Jubilee,
Inc., of Colchester, Illinois, held its first reunion at the Neal
McClure farm. It was estimated that between eight and nine thousand
persons attended the demonstration.

The activity of the first day was started by threshing some very
large bundles of long, wooly rye, using a 16 hp. Russell steamer
and a Huber separator. The blower of the Huber was aimed at the
mouth of the Buffalo-Pitts thresher which was powered by a double
22 hp. Geiser which was very interesting as I doubt if very many
have witnessed a job of double threshing at one operation. Later in
the program all of the 17 engines were tested on the threshers and
the Prony brake, the latter being owned and operated by Bill Sater
of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The 16 hp. double Rumley was used for the
most part at the saw mill.

The second day, oats instead of rye was threshed. The weather
being extremely warm resulted in a lot of unthreshed grain being,
left over and it was necessary to thresh part of four days after
the reunion. As far as is known it is the only straw pile in the
county, but it was a whopper.

In addition to the 16 steamers owned locally, and permanently
located on the grounds, our old friend Milford Rees of Franklin,
Illinois, sent us his under mounted Avery and our friends, Killing,
of Coal Valley, Ill., Roos of Geneseo, Ill., and Flack of Alpha,
Ill., were with us with their miniatures, which were very
interesting and much appreciated as no reunion would be complete
without them.

Cultivating with steam in Suffolk, England in the early
1900’s. The driver of the leading engine is aged over 80 years
and is still alive and in good health. As most of you know there
was an engine at each side of the field to pull the cultivator.
This is an arrangement that most of us in the Western world have to
imagine.

The promoters of a show of this kind are always happy when it is
over with no accidents of any kind. It is an enormous job to plan
and operate a reunion, but I guess the reason we do it is for the
pleasure we and our friends get from it. While it is a known fact
the steam farm engine has become a scarce article, it is surprising
to note that there is no shortage of experienced engineers and
threshermen to operate the machinery efficiently. The majority of
these old-timers are just itching to pull a throttle again or feel
the movement of a good grain thresher under their feet. The
equipment owned by the members of this association, has all been
cleaned, repainted and mechanical repairs and adjustments made
where necessary. And many compliments were heard as to the
appearance and quietness of operation.

The local collection of steam engines consists of three 20 hp.
Advance; one 16 and one 25 hp. Russell, one 14 and one 25hp.
Aultman Taylor, one 30 hp. Huber, one 16 hp. Gaar Scott, one 40
Case, one 22 hp. Geiser, one 16 hp Rumley, one 21 hp. Baker, one 20
hp. Reeves, one 24hp. Port Huron and one 20 hp. Minneapolis. The
nine directors of the newly organized association own a total of 41
steamers but felt that for beginners the cost would be prohibitive
to transport all of them here for the first reunion.

Eight of our engineer friends arrived the day before the show
was due to start and assisted in the final preparations. Among them
was our genial friend Floyd Carter of Monmouth, Illinois. The
little man with the big blonde mustache that we see at all the
reunions. Floyd decided he would pilot the fancy looking 16 hp.
Russell for the two days, and, wishing to be the first engineer to
toot a whistle the next morning, secured some boards and cut
sufficient kindling for his needs. But to his surprise the next
morning, no kindling! Most of these fellows bunked in a tent on the
grounds and apparently some vile plots hatched therein. The 17
engines were duly fired up and 16 of them were soon steaming
nicely, but not Floyd’s. The smoke was pouring out at both ends
but very little out of the stack of Carter, and he sure was getting
kidded by the others about his ability as an engineer. The next
time I saw Floyd he was standing on the front end of the boiler
with a pole, trying to push the heavy building paper out of his
smoke stack. It is only to address him as ‘Smoky’, but it
would be wise to be in a position to move fast.

Let us preserve these fine precision-built engines for future
generations as well as for our own pleasure and enjoyment.

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