Secy-Treas. P. O. Box 397, Dekalb, Illinois 60115.
A REPORT OF THE 12th ANNUAL STEAM SHOW AND THRESHING BEE
SPONSORED BY NORTHERN ILLINOIS STEAM POWER CLUB ( A nonprofit
Approximately 10,000 spectators from all parts of Illinois were
on hand to delight in the Northern Illinois Steam Power Club’s
12th annual Steam show and Threshing Bee that was held on the 110
acre Taylor Marshall farm in rural Sycamore on August 8 through 12.
The guest book also revealed visitors from as far west as
California, as far east as Maine and 14 states in between.
With the exception of the first day when rain limited
activities, the weather man was very co-operative offering lots of
warm sunshine. The 17 acre grove of hickory trees proved a
delightful spot to view many of the activities including the sawing
of logs to lumber with the newly acquired Aultman Taylor sawmill
which was bought by the club for this year’s show. Powered by
steam it converted large trees to useful lumber in short order. A
shingle mill was also in operation as was the Flink fan. Dozens of
gas engines were also displayed and attracted much attention.
Over 40 acres of oats were threshed during the four day show
with a variety of separators being put to use. Six teams of fine
horses pulled the wagons which carried the bundles up from the
fields to the separator. This is the main attraction of the
Northern Illinois Steam Power Club’s annual threshing bee and
visitors from Chicago and suburbs delight in seeing the grain fed
into the separators and the golden straw being blown into a large
stack. For many of these city youngsters this was a ‘first’
and they found it lots of fun to tumble in the straw pile.
Directors and members of the club baled the straw each evening
following the day’s activities.
An added attraction this year was the plowing of a
neighbor’s field with an 8 bottom plow powered by a 30 h.p.
Russell steam engine alternating with a 30-60 Aultman Taylor gas
tractor. A 27-44 Twin City and a 20-40 Rumely Oil Pull took turns
pulling the 5 bottom plow. A 10-20 Titan tractor provided power for
the 3 bottom plow and there was also plowing with horses.
Every day at noon there was the deafening shrill of steam
powered whistles that could be heard all over the countryside
announcing time out for dinner. Hearty appetites were satisfied by
a real old fashioned thresher’s dinner served by the Charter
Grove Grange. Wilder Fay’s crew served up some real
mouthwatering barbecued chicken and pork chops.
There was a gigantic line-up of all equipment for a parade held
each afternoon which included all old steam engines, threshing
machines, gas tractors and other antique machinery.
The ladies’ hobby tent had many wonderful hand-made articles
for sale as well as souvenirs and film. Bake sales were held on
Saturday and Sunday. The large exhibition tent had many antiques on
display and for sale.
While mother was occupied with the antiques and hobbies, father
was down at the threshing rig and the kiddies found much enjoyment
in riding the Coon Creek Stage Coach, the pony ring and the other
The average spectator preserved the machinery in film but one of
the members who regretfully missed the first show back in 1957 but
has been present for the last 11, was more interested in. copying
the sounds of the grand old machinery on tape.
Though many months of preparation are required for a show of
this size and scope the tempo increases with the cutting and
shocking of grain. Culmination is achieved when the last bale of
straw is hauled to the barn and the clean-up crew retires for
The 13th annual show sponsored by the Northern Illinois Steam
Power Club will be held in the same location on August 7, 8, 9 and
10, 1969. See you then!