Farm Collector

My Trip To The West Central Minnesota Steam Engine Club Reunion

Alpha, Illinois

I LEFT HOME AT 8 A.M., Friday morning, October 5, in company
with Arnold Post of Lewistown and C. B. Killing of Coal Valley. We
arrived at Ashby, Minnesota, scene of the affair, at 1:30 A.M.,
Saturday morning and sat in the car and slept until the lunch room
opened. We got our breakfast and inquired the way to George
Melby’s farm. The show is put on by George and Ralph Melby and
Kenneth Bratvold, who own 7 of the nicest engines that anybody
would be proud to own.

We arrived in time to help fire up. I was assigned to the 25 hp.
Advance Rumley, a wonderful engine. Mr. Killing to the 25 hp. Gaar
Scott, George’s pet. We registered about 9 o’clock and I
said to the lady in charge, ‘I expect we are the only one’s
here from Illinois.’ She said, ‘No, somebody is here from
Moline.’ I said, ‘It can’t be anybody but Clair
Ringle.’ I met him a little later and he showed me some of his

It was a cold, windy day, not much doing in the forenoon. By 2
o’clock in the afternoon about 2000 people were on the grounds
and that is when the parade started. After the parade the Advance
Rumley was assigned to do the plowing. I knew then my dream had
come true as I had always wanted to plow with a steam engine. We
hooked up to a 10-bottom plow and started plowing-Ralph Melby
steering. The ground was hard and dry, and it sure made the Advance
puff I turned on the 1 inch injector when we started and never
turned it off until we were done. Several engines were belted up to
the prony brake to hear them puff. George’s pet, the 25 hp.
Gaar Scott, made the best showing. It pulled 106 hp.

By 4:30 o’clock the wind went down so the threshing started.
First was the Keystone separator hand feed with an over shot
cylinder hand measure, slat stacker, powered by a 20 hp. Nichols
& Shepard engine belonging to H. M. Jones, of Little Falls.
Next a big Minneapolis 36×60 separator, 1930 model, was pulled in
between two large stacks of oats, which, incidentally, made 60
bushel to the acre. It was powered by a 40-year-old 25 hp. Double
Cylinder Gaar Scott owned by Melby Bros. The Gaar Scott just loafed
along with the big Minneapolis threshing about 10 bushel per

The Ladies Aid of the Lutheran Church in the town of Olaf,
served lunch throughout the day and were forced to supplement their
supply several times that day.

That evening Ralph and George showed some slides and movies, and
after saying good-bye several times we left for Ashby where we
stayed all night and left Sunday morning. We stopped at Willmar to
look over Mr. Pereberg’s engines and also at Neil Miller’s
at Alden, Iowa, who has a large collection of engines.

We arrived home late Sunday night tired and sleepy but well
pleased with our 1300 mile trip.

  • Published on Sep 1, 1957
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