J. I. Case And His Thresher Warranty

| September/October 1988

1102 Peach Street, Abilene, TX 79602

(This article is a condensation and rewrite from Stewart H. Holbrook's Machines of Plenty, copyright 1976 by J. I. Case Company.)

There was a bumper wheat crop in Rice County, Minnesota, during the mid 1880's. One farmer had purchased a new Case traction engine and thresher to harvest the grain. The traction engine with its gigantic flywheel was working well, but the separator would not clean the grain and was consuming far too much power.

The farmer complained to the local Case dealer who came out and tinkered with this and adjusted that trying to make the separator perform right. Still it failed to perform satisfactorily. Exasperated, the dealer wired the Case Company about the poor performance. The company sent out their chief troubleshooter certain that he could make the thresher do the job right. After a period of tinkering, adjusting, and swearing, he, too, was unable to fix the thresher. In desperation, he wired headquarters to refund the farmer's money or replace the thresher.

The telegraphed reply was indeed astounding. J. I. Case, himself, wired: 'Am taking next train. Meet me at Faribault.' The old man himself was coming!

Jerome Increase Case was sixty-five years old. His beard was white from ear to ear. From beneath brows black as coal, peered steel-blue eyes. His erect frame was encased in a frock coat. He commonly wore a square-cut derby hat, but on this occasion it pleased him to sport a white tile called the Blaine hat. This was Jerome Increase Case, the founder and head of the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company. The Threshing Machine King was on his way to Minnesota to help a single Rice county farmer. J. I. had NEVER had a piece of Case machinery that he could not fix.