Farm Collector

Lynn L. Langsworthy writes. . . . . . . .

4 Terrace Street, Alfred, New York

In the November-December, 1958 issue of the Album you show an
early Iowa scene near Eldora, Iowa, courtesy of Vic Wintermantel,
Bellevue, Pennsylvania. I cannot tell you who the men in the
picture are but the rig is a Westinghouse 12 or 15 HP Tracttion
Engine and about a 32 Westing house Thresher of near the 1800 or
1890 Vintage. These were very popular rigs in New York State for
many years and were light and well adopted to the western New York
and Penna. hills. The engines were very economical but not too good
as tractions because of their comparative light weight. The
Westinghouse Company was organized in 1834 by Geo. Westinghouse,
Sr. and they started in Mineville, Montgomery Co., N. Y.; moved to
Central Bridge, Schoharie Co. in 1836 and in 1856 the Company was
enlarged and moved to Schenecttady, New York where they did a
wonderful job of making fine threshing machinery until 1916.

In 1924 They reorganized at Shortsville, New York under the
title, ‘The Pioneer Threshing Company, Inc.’ where they are
still making completely equipped threshers. They are one of a very
few and, perhaps the only, makers of portable no ncombine threshers
today. They have not made steamers since 1916.

In my 17 years experience I used a St. Johnsville or Williams
Thresher, Westinghouse and Case. As engines, I used a 6 HP Rogers
Portable Steamer, S. W. Wood & Sons 16 HP Traction Engine and,
at last, an Avery Gas Tractor.

A friend, Mr. Jack England, gave me a magazine to read and I
don’t want to miss any if I can help it. Being an operator of
old steam engines I was indeed thrilled to see and read so much
about them again. I think it is very interesting as it tells so
much about the good old threshing days of years ago.

My father and I operated many Huber threshing engines and Huber
road rollers, also the 20th. Century engine built in Boynton,
Pennsylvania.

My nostalgia for steam threshing inveigled me into driving 277
miles in late September, 1958 to the Dean Fullerton Farm near
Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, where the Tri-State Historical Steam
Engine Association sponsored a Threshing Day. Five beautiful
engines were there among which was a Frick Double, a 16 HP Huber,
50 Case, a large Advance Rumely, 22 A.D. Baker (a beautiful
specimen) and, what I might dub, a hermaphrodite 6 HP Case-Huber. I
might add, the latter had no clutch or reverse gear but it had
steam, a whistle and a fondling owner who could smile and really
pull the whistle cord!

September rain made the forenoon a rather glum affair but the
ladies at the counter in the Fullerton repair shop started the sun
shining in the ‘innerman’ (and woman) by serving lunches,
coffee and pop. As you might say, this sorta got the ‘Old
Timers’ to diggine the chaff out of their eyes, rubbing the
‘600 W’ off their noses and whisking the dust from their
bandana neckerchiefs until they could almost smile About 2:00 P.M.
Old King Sol completed the transformation and the smiles changed to
sparkling eyes and broad grins. An old Frick, 24X42 Thresher
(another hermaphrodite with both wind stacker and raddle carrier)
was hauled out of a shed and a ‘Frick Double’ was belted to
it in a nearby field. ‘Ann Arbor’ was put behind the
raddles and gulped down the straw and regurgitated symetrical
wire-bound quids to the Huber 16’s black puffing guffaws. That
Huber had a White Engineer, and believe it or not, a part of the
time, at least, the Frick had a crow at the throttle! And, he
wasn’t black either, for was Pawl F. in person.

‘Down by the Old Mill Stream’ Hutton was busy feeding
that A. D. Baker engine seasoned oak slabs and edgings and, believe
you me, that Baker really hissed and barked at that sawyer, whoever
he was. Didn’t learn his name but he didn’t seem to give a
durn how mad that A. D. got at his vulturous old saw! Just pushed
his feed lever a little harder at those petrified oaks. Why, I can
hear that circle of steel whine this very minute! Also, the sawdust
smelled ‘oaky doak’ to me.

Speaking of smells-remember that aroma of combined steam,
cylinder oil and soft coal smoke? Why, to the average ‘Old
Timer’ that gets right into yer human separatin system, travels
down yer mittened shakin forks, past yer rocker-knees and never
pans out on the tail board until its passed through the sieves of
your shoes.

As I said before, they had a beautiful Case there-something to
crow about, an Advance Rumely (all mogues beautifully painted and
striped) but they didn’t seem to have anything for the latter
two to hitch to. Spose the day was too short. Or, they’s
probably moved the cow barn and the concrete engine repair
shop-food counter, women and all or else they’d a leveled some
of those Penna. hills. Fer my part, I think that’s be a
Reasonable project for them. Those hills are too numerous and too
steep anyway.

Well they had one traction engine there that I wished I’d
have had when I was a kid. Twas that one a feller down there made
about as big as a pint of cider. I almost missed it while I was
down by the sawmill. When I came back to our Rambler I half
expected to find my wife asleep on the reclining seat but,
no-sir-ee, she was sittin up straight as a ramrod, wide awake as an
owl (eyes about as big, too) and she says to me, ‘did you see
that baby steamer go up around the barn and out to the threshing
lot?’ I answered, ‘no, I didn’t know they.’d had a
pregrant steamer round the place. Was it black and white, red or a
gandy belted? Was it a Case, Frick, Huber, Baker or Advance-Rumely?
Was anybody leading it on a rope and could it suck?’
‘Leading it on a rope?’ she says, ‘why, it was puffin
up that muddy lot jest like them big fellers, snortin, blowin,
smoke an steam and as for suckin, as you call it, it could cause it
had an injector on it and I think a stummick pump and it could cry
cause it had a whistle on it that blew just like the papa steamers
did.’ ‘I snum.’ I answered and I pulled my throttle
wide open, hooked the reverse lever in the last notch forward, and
churned my mud cleats as fast as my agin biler plates would allow
toward that threshin field. But I was almost too late. The Fairy
God Father had given that little iron baby an emetic and was pullin
the fire. But it still had a little life left and responded with a
lively kick as someone pulled the throttle and lustily cried out as
a lad pulled the whistle cord. It looked to me like a Russell, but
my wife said the feller named it after himself and I didn’t get
his name.

So much for the Burgettstown Threshing Day. Mr. Fullerton very
thoughtfully invited us to drive our Rambler into the shop after
the evening movies and slides so we had a refreshing sleep in our
chuck-wagon, got our breakfast on our Coleman equipment and, after
a parting look at the mute ‘iron-men’, we backed out of the
shop and wended our way New Yorkward.

  • Published on May 1, 1963
© Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved - Ogden Publications, Inc.