Painswick, Ontario, Canada
First of all, let us say, please do not apologize for increasing
the subscription cost of the ‘Album’- we’re sure you
will not have any complaints a magazine as unique as the
‘Album’ is worth the price. Besides, everything must go up
occasionally just like wages and cost of living.
We certainly do enjoy the magazine, and came upon it quite by
chance. A friend loaned us a couple of old copies, so we wrote
inquiring about subscriptions, not knowing if you were still in
We would not fall into the ‘Old Timers’ category, but
can just recall the end of the steam traction era as it finished in
this part of Ontario in the Twenties. The last steamer I can
remember working, came to our farm with a stone-crusher and broke
up a large pile of field and old foundation stone my father had
sold to the Township for road building.
We were fortunate enough to get in on the threshing and silo
filling bees in the district in the Thirties and Forties. There
were two outfits – one a McCormick-Deering 15-30 with a 36′
McCormick separator and the other a 28-50 Hart-Parr with a 36′
We had the latter outfit thresh at my father’s farm. I will
always remember the owner of that outfit, He was a real Iron-Man, –
but not steam. His first set that I can recall was a 15-30 Case,
about a 1922 model (complete with roof) and a steel 32′ Case
machine. About 1927 he traded the Case tractor on a brand new 28-50
Hart-Parr and a 36′ Goodison wooden thresher. That was an
excellent machine with very good capacity and of course the big
Hart-Parr just laughed its way along with it.
I can well remember the first time I fed that machine. I rode
about three miles on a bicycle to relieve a brother for other
duties – (I was sixteen years old) and as he had been feeding, I
had to take his place. It was a barn threshing with large sheaves
of winter wheat and we fed right through from one o’clock till
six with Ho ‘coffee breaks’ and as hard as the work was I
enjoyed it because feeding was a pretty important job.
That night as I rode the bicycle down the road after a
tremendous supper with all the trimmings, I was happy, in spite of
blisters on my hands the size of half-dollars.
Our Iron-Man thresher ran a dairy farm as well as his threshing
outfit, and also had a sawmill behind the barn which he pulled with
the Hart-Parr or sometimes with an old Eagle. The neighbors drew
logs in during the winter and he would work them up in the
springtime. He used to take this portable mill around the district
and set up in a timber stand for most of the winter.
Like his Hart-Parr, he finally wore out and threshed his last
barn out in about 1954.
The memories of hard work and good companionship linger on. The
spirit of the old threshing is in part re-lived at the reunions and
steam shows – but one has had to partake in the real era of the
threshing outfits to thoroughly enjoy the old wine of memories.