Courtesy of Hollis Cortelyou, Higgins, Texas 79046. The picture is of Advance Separator, the subject of my article, SEPARATORS LTD. After 60 years I am able to identify all the crew members. Will recall names of just a few.
Higgins, Texas 79046
My mother in carriage with my baby brother, Herman (now 65). My brother, Bill, at extreme right. S.R. Buchanan, Separator Boss, standing on top feeder with oil can in hand. I'm the tall man (engineer) standing on separator. My father, A.W., on return elevator (at right) to name a few.
In the November December ALBUM was an interesting article from Ray DeMent, Clinton 111, under the caption
----'Speaking of Separators.' This is a subject that for the most part over past years has rarely been mentioned due to the fact that but few of those who had to do with the intricate cussedness of things mechanical are now operating combines beyond the stars. Mr. DeMent recalls experience with many separators but he missed one, Advance. Before and after the turn of the century due to the popularity of the Advance engine as a power unit a lot of Advance machinery was sold in Kansas and Oklahoma. Mark Leonard, Salina Kansas, for one, sold over a half million dollars of Advance machinery on his territory alone. In our vicinity----Sumner County Kansas-Luther Phillips. Tom Shepherd, myself and others bought Advance rigs.
First I'll describe local conditions. Those who threshed had to run independent outfits consistent of cook car, ten or twelve bundle wagons and a crew of around twenty men all at expenses at that time (1903) of about $80. per day; the price paid for threshing was 9 per bushel; the price of wheat on the market averaged 55 per bushel; Price of a complete threshing rig was $3500. so trouble with machinery could lead to disaster.
I'll relate my troubles with Advance separator which was typical; this was the day of the gear driven wind stacker which was geared for too much speed; it would blow straw into the next township and broken gears was a frequent result. I operated it several seasons and replaced it with a gearless blower. Advance used a pair of forks on a crankshaft behind the cylinder that was a source of trouble at times. I knew two operators who replaced the forks with Rumely raddles. The shoe was driven from the rear of the grain pan; they both ran at the same speed; a shoe broke in two once and had to be replaced. To conclude, one spring a stranger showed up looking for a used threshing out fit, we agreed on a price, and he shipped it to western Kansas.
By 1905 it was noticeable that many . Advance engines were pulling 'Yellow Fellow' Avery separators. Other popular separators were Rumely, Case, Avery, Russell, to name a few. Separators built by Eastern companies hardly met wheat belt conditions as a rule. My next venture was with a 18 H. P. outfit. John Partee and I bought off a local thresher and operated several seasons. I bought my partner out and shortly after sold the Huber to a company of farmers near Enid, Oklahoma. I planned to quit the threshing business but World War I broke out and wheat sold for as high as $1.70 per bushel and threshing went up to 20 per bushel, this made for a fair return. I went back into business.
Experience and observation was on my side by this time. I bought A Case steel separator with Heineke steel feeder and Van Deren Bucket and Belt weigher. To pull it I bought a FRICK 9 x 10 engine, The 'Cadillac' of the tractions. The first season I run 20 days in shocks without a minutes trouble to thresh 40 thousand bushels. By this time costs to run a crew had soared to $150. per day. I was highly pleased with the Case Separator and its 20 bar cylinder. Its surface speed at 750 Rev. Per minute is about equal to surface speed of 12 bar cylinder running at 1200 R.P.M. Lee Clarkson, Keytesvill, Mo., ran my Case Separator 10 seasons, no better operator ever 'tramped the deck.' He can verify all the above.