4541-43 Ave. So., Minneapolis 6, Minn.
This is a story of the time I spent threshing in Flaxton, North
Dakota and also in Montana. This took place over 43 years ago.
In the fall of 1915 we had a bumper crop, the wheat stood 4 ft.
high and I was pulling 5 eight foot binders behind the big twin
city gas tractor. I could have pulled 6 or 8, but that big 4065 HP
pulled our hitches apart behind the tractor so we had to give it
up. The wheat was 4 ft. high and we had the binders elevated as
high as we could but still the bundles came out too long and just
as fast as the binder could take them. We used to cut 40 acres a
day and we had to have 8 men shocking but they couldn’t keep up
with us. Those were the good old days. It was a lot of fun when the
big engine barked.
I must tell you something about this 1900 acre farm in North
Dakota. It belonged to a tall man of Danish decent, born in
Minnesota but was lucky and moved to Dakota while he was young. He
bought lots of land and made out alright. I broke up a lot of land
for him, pulled 8 brakers. His name is Charlie Gad and he is a very
We pulled 12 bottom plows, drags, drill, and what we called a
packer to pack the soil in the stubble plowing in the spring.
I worked for the Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co. building
these big engines from 1912 to and including 1914. I was also
responsible for correct HP brake block test. This was very
important and it was a very interesting job. After this test it was
given a very stiff working test out in the bull pen. From the bull
pen it was loaded on flat cars and shipped to various places in
Montana, North and South Dakota. This Company is now called The
Minneapolis Moline Tractor Company. They are still building one of
the best. In 1912 I assembled the first 60-110 HP Twin City that
was shipped to Russia for digging ditches.
In 1914 I struck out for Montana and North Dakota and did a lot
of road work for farmers who had a lot of tractor trouble. In 1915
I took charge of the Twin City threshing, plowing and braking
outfits in Flaxton, North Dakota. In my spare time I was kept busy
traveling from farm to farm trouble shooting. It was mostly ring
trouble because of all the sand and dirt that went through the
carburetor. This made the life of a ring very short. Also dirt
raises cain with the bearings. I wired to St. Cloud for a jig to
babbit the connecting rods so that took care of that.
Now I will tell you about the threshing in 1915. We used a 40-65
Twin City Tractor and a 4064 Advance Separator. The same fall I
booked over $30,000 in profit for Charlie Gadl I put in 53 days of
threshing, the wheat ran 40 bushels to the acre, oats over 100
bushels to the acre and the barley also ran very heavy. Out of 53
days we lost only 2 days work. An accident happened when a pitch
fork came off one of the men’s fork and went through the
cylinder and knocked out 24 teeth. I wired to Bobells, North Dakota
for repairs and they came the following day so we were back in full
speed in no time.
There are a lot of stories I could tell about threshing but one
in particular I would like to tell is about a man by the name of
Marjus (another Dane). He had what he called a 36 Horse Advance
Engine and a 4064 Advance Separator. We were threshing about mile
apart when it rained something terrible one night and we were laid
up for a week. One morning my farmer came out and asked me if I
thought we could thresh. I said we would try so I ordered the teams
out and loaded. We started running the bundles through in full
speed. Pretty soon we saw our neighbor’s Advance steamer start
smoking and his teams came out and loaded up. They pulled up to the
rig and pitched a few bundles. Soon the separator clogged from the
blower to the cylinder. Mr. Marjus stopped and pulled the straw out
and started up again but the same thing happened. Mr. Marjus lost
his temper then and climbed up on the separator and threw his hat
on the separator and jumped on it and flattened it out. And did he
lingo some terrible words! He told the men to pull in and put the
horses in the barn. He was threshing macarone wheat, same as I was.
Pretty soon Mr. Marjus came across the field to my rig and climbed
on top of the separator and lifted the lid and pulled some straw
out. After this Mr. Marjus came over to my twin city tractor and
asked me how I could run the straw through and he couldn’t. I
told him his steamer had a big heavy flywheel on it and when the
motion of the separator slows down it takes too long to pick up
speed again. I told him to listen to my big T.C. tractor. When the
load goes through the cylinder the governor snaps wide open in a
second. It doesn’t give the separator a chance to slow up.
Well, that settled it! He went back and waited two more days to dry