An estimated 8,000 spectators visited the George Hedtke farm
near Davis Junction Friday, Saturday and Sunday to see the
demonstration of threshing by the Northern Illinois Steam Power
The peak crowd came Sunday when old time threshing weather, hot
with a brilliant sun, made even the spectators feel like they were
participating in the midsummer work. It was estimated that over
5,000 attended the demonstration on Sunday alone
The program, the second annual event for the club was staged
with 3 engines providing power for three separators. Owners and
operators of the three engines were Newton Gould, of Elburn, with
his Illinois, the last one made by the Illinois Thresher Works of
Sycamore; George Hedtke of Davis Junction with a Case; and Ed Smith
of Cortland, with a Minneapolis engine. The separators were an
Avery Yellow Fellow and two made by Case.
Seventy acres of oats had been cut and shocked in preparation
for the event and although it required some late operations, up
until 8 p.m., last night, the last of the bundles had been fed
through the machines when the demonstration was completed.
The Hedtke farm provided excellent accommodations for the huge
crowd, plenty of parking space being available, and a spacious
room for the lunch tent, operated by the women of the Davis
Junction Church, and the headquarters tent. A half hour out in the
threshing area watching the engines and the separators was usually
followed by a rest period in the shade of the grove where soft
drinks were available.
Two classes of spectators appeared to predominate. One was the
old timers, who remembered when they were active on the farm and
worked in a ring that had a rig ‘just like that one.’
The other group was the younger farmer, who recalled the
excitement of the threshing ring on the horn? farm, but was too
young to participate. He was there with his son explaining how the
separator worked, and comparing it with the operations of the
present day combine. Some of these men pitched a few bundles, just
to see how it felt.
Rupert Jordan, president of the Steam Power Club said the high
interest shown in the demonstration this year indicated that the
club should seriously consider even a better display for 1959.