Men & Machines I Once Knew


| July/August 1994



P.O. Box 476 Jamestown, North Dakota 58402

I don't know much about the writing business, but I needed something to do while recovering from a broken leg, so I put pen to paper to tell these stories about the men and machines I once knew.

Bill Neal

At an early date Bill Neal came to Sarles, North Dakota, looking for a job running a steam engine. The machine dealer said, 'You are a little early. Can you set up binders?' Bill said, 'I sure can.' He went to work the next morning, tore crates open and scattered parts around. The boss wondered if he knew what he was doing.

Bill started putting the binder together. About four in the afternoon he came to the office and asked if they could let him have a man to help put on the head as it was a little heavy. Bill set the binder up in one day. Before that the two men had taken two days to do the same job. When the binders were all set up, Hazlitt and Naismith sent him to the company farm, where he shocked until he could get another job.

One Sunday Paul Higgins came to town looking for good engineer, said the man he had had worked on the engine before starting to thresh, and ever since that date the engine would run but had little power. The dealers said, 'We have a man on the company farm who says he is an engineer. If he can run an engine like he puts up binders he should be a good one.'

Paul got Bill and took him to his Nichols & Shepard double cylinder engine.