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Hollis Cortelyou
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.

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