Renovating a Case Binder

Joe Steinhagen's binder story

| September/October 2000

My name is Joe Steinhagen and I want to tell you a short story about my Case binder acquisition.

It all started when a friend of mine at work (we'll call him Rick because I don't want anybody pestering him for further items that aren't for sale) told me that that he was moving onto his deceased grandfather's farm and there was a lot of antique farm equipment there that he needed to get rid of. He knew of my interest in old machinery, steam engines, threshing machines, and such, and wondered if I wanted to look at it before the junk man arrived. I have heard of these types of stories before, so I didn't put too much stock into anything coming out of it.

Well, about a year after he had mentioned it to me, to my surprise, he said that he was moved in and living at his grandfather's farm. All the relatives had come and taken whatever they wanted and there were two things with beaters on them in the lean-to on the granary that he wanted to get rid of. Rick, not being a farm boy and having no interest in antique farm equipment, didn't have any idea what kind of machines these were. Arrangements were made for my collector friend Jim Pospisil (unfortunately, John Deere) and me to come out and have a look on the following weekend.

This took place in February 1999, so we dressed appropriately and took snow shovels with us, because you never know how deep the snow will be.

After receiving directions, we drove to Rick's place. He lives on the flat, fertile prairies of western Minnesota, and there was a lot of snow. After I introduced Rick to Jim, Rick led us to the lean-to attached to the granary where the machines were stored, and we had to shovel some snow to get the door open. We then peeked inside and determined that a flashlight would be needed to see anything, because the lean-to was much deeper and darker than we had thought it would be. The light from the flashlight revealed a lot of miscellaneous junk piled in front of what were definitely two grain binders way in the back. Now I've always kind of wanted to own a grain binder, because the only way to figure out what makes them work is to work on them.

It was very dark inside as I worked my way to the back, and I couldn't determine what brand they were. I would have been happy if they were IHC, but after climbing over the junk that was piled in front of them and finally finding a name stamped on them, I couldn't believe that they were Case binders. That was the first time I had ever seen a Case grain binder! Closer examination revealed that they were both 10' power binders. One had steel wheels and the other was on rubber, but they both had forward controls. They looked to be pretty much complete, but they had been in the shed so long that they'd settled into the soft black dirt so that the platforms and sickles were on the ground and the transport wheels were down to the hubs in the dirt. I asked Rick if he had the canvasses and he said he didn't know what a canvas was. I described what a canvas looked like and he said sure, they were piled up in the attic of the house, did I want to see them?