| March/April 1963

  • Mr. Hugh Chisholm
    Mr. Hugh Chisholm. (See accompanying story of Mr. Hugh Chisholm)
  • Separator with 1856Ground-hog cylinder
    This separator was built by our former president Mr. Hugh Chisholm, around an 1856'Ground-hog' cylinder. (See accompanying story of Mr. Hugh Chisholm)

  • Mr. Hugh Chisholm
  • Separator with 1856Ground-hog cylinder

This is the history of one of the oldest open cylinder threshing machines in America. This machine has been recently rebuilt by its present owner Mr. Hugh Chisholm of Sarnia, Ontario.

The cylinder, concave and two main bearings, came out in the year 1856 and was purchased by a Mr. John Gillatly of Reece's Corners, a few miles east of Sarnia. Mr. Andrew Gillatly, the great great grandson of the purchaser of this machine had it lying out by the end of his barn, not a chip to be seen off it. This threshing machine had been handed down from generation to generation. How it had escaped the junk dealer no one quite knows.

Mr. Charles Spicer of Corunna told me about this machine and one summer evening we drove out to see it. Mr. Gillatly had never been interested in selling this old machine to anyone. I told him I would like it for the Western Ontario Thresher men's Reunion and asked him if he would like to see the 20 in 4 bar cylinder threshing again. He said he would and I made an offer which Mr. Gillatly accepted. So we put the cylinder and concave in the back of the car and brought it back to Sarnia.

I did the rebuilding job in my basement, building the front part first, then adding the decks and cleaning shoe. Thus this threshing machine is an 1856 and a 1957 model combined the last threshing machine built in Sarnia.

This machine which was used in the Gillatly family for many many years working all winter long run by a tread power has reached its last resting place the Goderich Museum where it is to remain along with many relics of its day. It can be seen working at the Threshing Reunions.


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