Past Operators

article image
Threshing in 1910 with a new 16 hp Russell Engine which belonged to the McCoy Brothers: Charles, John and Howard of Coshocton County, Ohio.

Salina Kansas

on page 14 of the Nov.-Dec. 1952 issue of the ALBUM, I wrote in
part, ‘I sold Ed J. streckfus, salina, an Advance 26 hp
compound R.M. engine and an Advance 36-60 separator with feeder,
weigher and wind stacker.’

The machinery had been a sample and was well adjusted, but after
having been moved to the farm, I drove to it, early the Sunday
morning before the machinery was to be tested in the field Monday,
and carefully checked it to avoid, if possible, any stops or

You will meet Will and Lew streckfus, subjects of this sketch,
here. The Sunday morning in June 1911 I drove to that machinery,
was the first time I remember seeing Will and Lew streckfus. Will
was about 18 years old and Lew about 16.

Ed J. Streckfus, who had been very much the head of the family
since the death of the father, and Mary O’Shea were married the
fall of 1911 and moved to their farm, leaving will and Lew
Streckfus take over the home place.

The same Mary O’Shea, in 1923, sold for me the last new
steam engine I sold, when she said, ‘I do not want Ed to work
with old engines. Sell him a new one.’ Ed J. streckfus bought a
new Nichols & Shepard 25-85 single engine.

Mary Katherine was born to Ed J. Streckfus and Mary O’Shea
in 1923. Mary Katherine Scanlan wrote me recently, ‘She named
her fourth son’ born about two years ago, for me.

Will and Lew Streckfus were worthy, did well, and within a few
years were considered among the good farmers of Saline County and
have been successful farmers since. They were and are men of
enviable reputations. Ed J. Streckfus bought an Advance 36-60
separator, with feeder, weigher and wind stacker, in 1911, an Avery
42-64, with attachments, in 1915, and a Nichols & Shepard 36-56
steel separator, fully equipped, in 1919, and was successful with
them. Ed J. Streckfus was a fast operator and a good one. During
the years he operated those separators I saw him frequently. Will
and Lew streckfus were on the farm those years but were with
Ed’s machinery enough to profit from his experience and
knowledge of machinery. I saw much of Will and Lew streckfus and
when they decided to buy a rig they came to see me.

Will and Lew Streckfus came to see me in 1919, to buy a good
second-hand engine. Threshing machinery business was good in 1919.
The companies were sold out, and even cash orders could not be
filled because the machinery could not be furnished. Nichols &
Shepard Co. had no engine to sell Will and Lew Streckfus. They then
inquired whether or not I knew of an engine for sale.

A customer at Wakeeney, about 140 miles west of Salina, had told
me, ‘A company of farmers bought a Rumely outfit in 1914, had
trouble, and the machinery was for sale.’ I told them about the
engine, that I thought it an undesirable one, but if the fire-box
and engine were in good condition and the price reasonable, if they
wanted an engine there was nothing to do but buy it. Will and Lew
streckfus dealt for it and shipped the engine to Salina.

That was a 25 hp single engine and built by M. Rumely Co. The
boiler was a butt-strap and built under the Canadian
specifications. That was the most clumsily built engine imaginable.
The cast stack was as large as a barrel. The two foot guide wheel
was heavy and acted as a balance wheel. Too much weight was on the
low front wheels and when the wheels were cut to couple to the
separator or back into the belt, the wheels plowed the ground, to
the depth of the plowing. An operator without the strength of a
‘Samson’ had no business with that engine. Lew streckfus
possessed just that.

Will and Lew Streckfus bought an Avery 36-60 second-hand
separator and threshed with it and the Rumely engine, the 1919
season. They did not fancy the Avery 12 bar, high speed cylinder,
which made it necessary to use a small cylinder pulley and the
cause of so much belt slippage.

On January 29, 1920, Will and Lew Streckfus bought a Nichols
& Shepard 36-60 steel separator, Garden City feeder, with 14
ft. carrier, weigher and wind stacker. The separator was the type
built prior to 1925, with offset sills. The heavy steel grain pan
was carried by four hangers on each side. The cylinder was a 16
bar. The concave holders carried five concaves with ten rows of
teeth. The cylinder and wind stacker shafts were equipped with
roller bearings. The shaker wheels and beater pulleys were double
belted, with powerful tighteners on the beater pulleys. No other
make of separator, with like dimensions, was equipped with a wind
stacker of greater capacity.


Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment