Steam Engine Threshing Steam Engine Repairs

| March/April 1975

Noel, Missouri, 64854

As we grow older and are retired, and we now have time on our hands to while away, it is only natural that our minds go back to the good old days of steam threshing, which seemed more like annual reunions or picnics, usually lasting ten days to two weeks. It was an occasion or event when neighbors helped neighbors to make up a crew of eighteen to twenty-two men. Usually at each new set, one or more were dropped and others added. It was a continuous cycle until the entire community was completed.

The work was dirty and the days were hot and long. However, when the crews were well co-ordinated and the engine, thresher and grain were in perfect condition, the rhythmic puffing of the engine and the humming of the thresher was soothing music to a person's ears. They looked forward to the mid-morning lunch that would tide them over until the whistle blew for the bounteous noon day feast or banquet. They ate with gusto or until they could not hold another bite.

After dinner the crew would soon settle down to a rapid steady pace, to accomplish as much as possible, knowing that they would be brought a mid-after-noon lunch to tide them over until the evening whistle would signal the close of the day and the evening meal or feast. Everyone was tired and ready to hit the hay, bunk or bed for a good nights rest.

The threshing season was also a feast or banquet for the wives. They had their plans made or menus prepared for each day. And their work was from early morning until late at night. Their day was longer than the men's, with no time during the day for rest. They worked from fourteen to sixteen hours a day. Each one tried to outdo the others and dug deep into their larders for good inviting food. The women were highly praised for their accomplishments as cooks. Some of the larger threshing rigs had cooks and cook shacks as a part of the outfit, thereby eliminating the drudgery from the farmer's wives.

With the advent of the many small tractors and trucks, came the small or individual size threshers, which greatly reduced the size of the threshing crew. In many cases the larger grain grower had sufficient man-power for a crew and no outside help was needed. This eliminated the feasts and banquets.


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