Farm Collector


R. 3, Eden Drive, Quarryville, Penna. 17566

I was born July 8, 1887. I have voted two or three times or
more. I am going to write about threshing seventy-five years ago in
southern Chester County.

Most of the threshing was done with a two horse tread power and
a small No. I Chaffant threshing machine, made in Lenover, Chester
County. My early job was to move the chaff from the back of the
machine to possibly a hole in the floor, leaving the chaff drop
into the cow yard, – also pigs – not so fussy about being together
in those days. About twenty bushels per hour was the limit.

In 18981 saw that rig thresh one hundred and one bushels in two
hours and thirty minutes. Most farmers had someone thresh enough
for seed and some to exchange for flour at first, then come later
and finish.

On January 3, 1904 my father bought a six horsepower gasoline
engine and that fall we hired that machine and started threshing
and stayed at it for about fifty years. We were working for an
Irish man one year. We came into dinner and sat down. He turned to
Ellis and said, ‘Ellis, if you have anything to say, say
it!’ Ellis answered, ‘Say, what you damn please, you
can’t turn my stomach.’ At supper time, Patrick says,
‘Help yourselves, 1 am at home and 1 wish you were.’A grand
old man to work with and for whom I did work in later years.

I worked that rig in 1904 and 1905. In 1906 we purchased a
larger engine and started baling hay. We didn’t push that too
hard – about six or seven hundred tons a year.

A couple of things happened in 1904. I hired with a neighbor to
bale hay. He used a steamer so there were five of us went to
breakfast and I am sorry to say six of us sat down to the table. I
am sure I could have eaten all on the table and would hardly been

Another time some years ago we pulled in late one evening and
set up. We were ready to go home. The farmer said as a joke,
‘What time will you be here in the morning?’ My brother
told him 5:30. The farmer said breakfast would be ready. We were
and it was. We started baling before daylight, using two lanterns
to see – one at press and one at scales. The engine and press were
all in the barn. It snowed nearly all day.

In the summer of 1907 we bought a second hand Chaffant No. 3
size undershot feed, straight carrier. That machine ran nice and
did good work until one day the wheat was dry and the man at the
end of the carrier just quit. The machine choked up with straw and
that machine never threshed clean again.

We bought a Farquhar in 1908. It was worn out by 1925 because we
used it too much. In 1927 I bought a small Frick 20-34 blower and
bagger. It was a fine little machine. In 1932 wheat was making 40
to 50 bushels per acre or more. We could thresh 100 bushels an
hour. Not many that 1 worked for had many hours work.

In 1955 I sold all and left the farm. When I first worked we put
in ten hours a day for $1.00 a day and furnished two horses and two
men and threshed for 4 cent a bushel.

  • Published on Nov 1, 1971
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