1511 Iglehart Avenue, St. Paul, Minn. 55104
September 11th and 12th, 1976 were the dates of the 20th Annual Steam Threshing Days Shows at the E. G. Huppert farm, Beldenville, Wisconsin. The location of the show is just off Highway 35 on a road known as J. West between River Falls and Ellsworth. Leaving 35, one soon arrives at the show site which is less than half a mile east of the intersection.
Upon arriving you find the show area south of the road and a hay field on the north side of the road with no end of parking space. As Ralph Truax and I came to the gate, we found Jeff Place in charge. His wife, Jan, is Ed Huppert's grand daughter, and as they now have two children, they are the Ed Huppert's great grand children.
As to activity at the show, threshing was done with a threshing machine, fully equipped using an oil pull tractor, a 25 HP oil engine and steam engines for power. The small hand feed, slat stacker threshing machine operated by a single cylinder 6 HP gas engine, handles split out bundles very well and it is quite an attraction. A corn shredding demonstration given by Ken Majeske and Arnold Tyler was very well done. Lumber sawing by Hans Schmidt, Ken Majeske, Jerry Merta and Arnold Tyler was in progress using a McCormick Deering tractor.
Hans Schmidt, Ken Majeski and Jerry Merta own several tractors that I will try to mention. They have a John Deere A, model 1937 or 38, a 1935 John Deere model B, a John Deere D, and a McCormick Deering 22-36.
Kenny owns a Rosenthal corn shredder, which is either a two or 4 roll that was used in the demonstrations. Schmidt, Majeski and Merta are neighboring farmers in the Beldenville locality. Not only do they take an active part in the show each year, but they give the show a lift by their constant activity. Arnold Tyler worked with them by helping every way he could. These fellows used the McCormick Deering tractor on the lumber saw, while staging at the same time an exhibit of small gas engines grinding feed, running a hand corn sheller and other small machines. In this collection was a 2 HP International, an Ottowa dragsaw; a 4 HP engine, and a 4 HP United engine, two bun-feed mills and a little Wonder sheep shearing machine.
Among other small engine exhibitors was Tom Enderson with a 1 HP, a 3 HP and a 5 HP Keller engine. Myron Ochterhof had three engines running. Each engine was running three machines. They were belted to three pump jacks, a cream separator, a fanning mill, a corn sheller, a grindstone and a washing machine.
George Wilson, Jr. of Eau Claire, Wisconsin had six gas engines; one Monarch 1 HP; a Sattley 1 HP; two Nelson engines, one upright and one horizontal; about HP; one twin; one single cylinder, also two Maytag engines - one twin and one single cylinder.
Also in the exhibit, was a really miniature gas engine built by his father, George Wilson, Sr. of Rice Lake, Wisconsin. It is constructed with one inch bore and one inch stroke. It fires with a spark plug and starts readily from a whirl of its two flywheels. It's hard to describe its size, but it is about the size of a half-gallon milk carton, but by no means do I consider this comparison accurate.
John Goldsmith of Amery, Wisconsin who brought a 60 HP Ideal one cylinder gas engine to the show in 1975 told me he sold it, when 1 mentioned not seeing it in 1976. However, he did bring some small gas engines. He had a 3 HP Aermotor engine; a HP Duro; an Easy HP; an Elgin HP; a no 1 Eclipse; a 1 HP and a 5 HP Fairmont, and an Eisman engine used for testing magnetos.
Rupert Wheeler of Rice Lake, Wisconsin had 5 gas engines, a Hercules 1 HP; a Monitor 1 HP attached to a pump jack; a Novo 2 HP; a 3 HP Rock Island and a 2 HP engine.
George Wilson of Rice Lake had a 3 HP McCormick Deering. He brought his model Oil Pull tractor. It is powered by a 6 HP Fairbanks Morse gas engine. Painted in all of the colors of the Bi-Centennial, it represents Mr. Wilson's fine creative ability. The tractor pulled a light wagon about the grounds giving rides to youngsters.
Claude Garton of Wisconsin was on hand with his usual fir e display of small steam engines, his miniature sawmill and model threshing machine. Heading Mr. Garton's exhibit is a model Port Huron miniature traction engine which he built, using 2 inch scale to the foot. The engine weights 165 pounds and carries fifty pounds steam pressure. He has an Advance traction engine and separator, miniatures that he built in 1911. He has a Case engine belted to a model sawmill, both miniatures. Other miniatures comprise four steam mill engines, a reversible upright engine on an upright boiler, and a stationary double cylinder engine. All of the engines and the thresher and sawmill are in running order.
Charles D. McCann of 1036 Prospect St., LaCrosse, Wisconsin brought his model steam traction engine to the show. Mr. McCann was accompanied by his wife. They were married February 7th, 1976, the date being his birthday. They seemed very happy and they attended several shows in 1976, including Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The engine is a scale model of a double cylinder Buffalo Pitts and is capable of rating 5 HP in the belt. It took Mr. McCann two & one-half years to build it. The boiler has 22 flues, each one and one-fourth inches in diameter. The boiler has passed inspection in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. The engine is equipped with two injectors and a water pump. Near the stack in front a small engine drives a generator to light the fourteen volt R.R. head lamp and the lights on the rear of the engine. A proportionate flat-topped water tank and a light vehicle used for giving rides both testify of the creativity of the owner-builder.
In 1928, Mr. McCann hired out as a brakeman on the C.B. & Q. railroad. In 1944, the Chicago Burlington and Quebec promoted him to passenger conductor. He was employed by the Burlington Northern the last two years, when he retired in 1973 after forty-five years of service. He wears a RR emblem on his cap and has one placed each side of the head lamp on the engine. And now even though a year has passed since their wedding, I am sure everyone who reads this joins with me in wishing Mr. and Mrs. McCann a happy and prosperous married life.
I recall seeing two steam engines at the Beldenville show; one was Mr. Huppert's 80 HP Case and his Minneapolis engine was also being used.
The collection of old machines on display consists of 50 old kerosene and gas tractors, 105 one-cylinder gas engines, 7 oil pulls, from the largest to the smallest, a 1909 25 HP oil engine. This is in addition to the display brought in by the exhibitors. The old school house is filled with antiques, and it draws interested people of all ages.
Mr. Huppert recalls the time when his father bought a Rumely Oil Pull and a Rumely threshing machine and it was unloaded from railroad cars at a town fifteen miles from the Huppert farm. Ed drove the rig home to the farm. He still owns the engine and separator which they used for many years doing custom threshing.
A well, drilled recently, provides pure drinking water.
And now to mention some of the people who worked at the show besides Mr. Huppert were A. L. Finck in charge of the chicken barbecue, Fred Huppert who with his sons, Darrel and Danny, had several tractors running, and Jerry Huppert, Fred's brother, who was busy starting engines and tractors. This should include the friends and neighbors who helped with the show. Mr. Huppert is grateful for their help. Jeff Place was in charge at the gate. At the speaker and ticket stand were mrs. Jeff Place, granddaughter, Delan Huppert, granddaughter and Mrs. Glen Peterson. At the food stand were Mrs. Jerrv Huppert, Mrs. Bev Tomlen and Kathy Huppert, daughter of Jerry Hupert.
The weather was good and so was the attendance at the 20th annual Beldenville Steam Days Show. It is an event where localities nearby and those from other states join in making it a successful reunion.