The start of a sideways climb by Harry Woodmansee at the 1963 Show of the Old Time Threshers.
This years exhibition of the 'Old Time Thresher and Saw Mill Operators Show' exceeded all of the former years for the number of people attending and for variety of equipment. Exhibitors and equipment came from a four state area. The states of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana being represented.
Each days program began at 10:00 in the morning with the raising of the flag and the playing of the National Anthem followed by a short prayer given by Robert Price of Logansport, Indiana, the Old Time Thresher Chaplain. In respect to the flag of our nation, the raising and lowering ceremonies were performed each day by the Wallen troop of the Boy Scouts of America. As is the custom of 'The Old Time Thresher Show', a scheduled program of events took place each day of the show.
This year, two new improvements were added for the betterment of the show. The first one being a new, four inch, driven well which to help relieve the constantly increasing demands for water. The original well had enough to do in just taking care of the drinking water and for sanitary needs. With the addition of the second well, plenty of water was on hand at all times to supply the engines and for wetting down the grounds. The second, and most noticed by the visitor, was the new Threshermens pavilion dedicated to the bygone days as a lot of us remember them. A plaque was made up and placed on the building which reads as follows:
THIS BUILDING ERECTED BY THE OLD TIME THRESHERS AND SAW MILL OPERATORS, INC. AND DEDICATED BY THE MEMBERS AND OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION MAY 26, 1963.
IT IS THE ASSOCIATIONS FERVENT RESIRE TO PROMOTE MORE GENERAL INTEREST IN -AND TO REVIVE THE MANY PLEASANT MEMORIES OF-THE DAYS WHEN THE STEAM ENGINE WORKED ON THE AMERICAN FARMS. TO THIS PROPOSITION WE PLEDGE TIME AND EFFORT IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THE METHODS AND MACHINES BY WHICH OUR NATION GREW TO ITS EARLY STRENGTH.
The pavilion was put to a very good use as a resting and visiting place for the visitor and as the headquarters for the secretary and treasurer of 'The Old Time Thresher Show'. Each year, as the visitor well knows, the Old Time Thresher Show respects the day of the Lord by holding church services on the grounds on Sunday morning. A sound system was installed in the new building so that everyone could hear the message of the minister. Special thanks are due to Mrs. Jay Gould for the wonderful accompanying music during the services and for the very pleasing music during the noon hour with the Lowery organ.
Something new to the 'Old Time Thresher Show' was the antique display tent. Interested persons from from miles around were invited by radio announcements and the shows own advertising to bring in any antique items that they might have and put them on display in the big tent. The response was really surprising. One gentlemen brought in several items of old and rare farm machinery while others came with old dishes and glassware and other things of an antique nature. The Brindle Brothers of Laotto, Indiana had their old Case engine No. 25 on display. An old, steam powered ditching machine was at the show thru the courtesy of the Buckeye division of the Gar-Wood industries of Findlay, Ohio. Another important contributor was the Allen County Historical Society. They displayed a showcase of rare old items pertaining to the early history of Allen County, Indiana. The grass under the tent was worn down to the dirt by the countless hundreds of people that wondered through the tent. One thing is certain, next years antique display will be bigger and better than ever
What did the 'Old Time Thresher Show' do to entertain the visitor? He was shown threshing with steam power on the large grain separators, plowing with steam and old time tractors furnishing the power, making lumber from logs with the permanent sawmill, four Baker fans in operation at one time, a shingle mill demonstrating the way shingles were made before the coming of modern machinery, a verneer lathe which showed how a log was made in to a thin sheet of wood and a model seperator and engine. One cannot forget to mention the hill climbing and engine balancing acts so ably put on by Harry Wood-mansee, Melvin Lugten and Jack Egbert, each a past master in performing with an engine. A novelty to the visitor was the horse-power brought to the show by Elmer Egbert of Botkins, Ohio. Instead of being operated by horses, teams of ponies were used, much to the delight of the crowd.
To add variety to the 'Old Time Thresher Show', several added attractions were seen this year. On Saturday and Sunday the visitor was entertained by those crazy characters, the Keystone Cops from Findlay, Ohio. No one was safe from being 'arrested' and hauled away in the paddy wagon. Incidently, these 'Cops' were all off duty policemen from Findlay. On Friday evening the crowd was entertained by Nancy Lee and The Hill-toppers from radio station WOWO. On Saturday evening Bud Widmer and his Rube Band from Defiance, Ohio gave a very enjoyable band concert that was well worth listening to. These musicians can play the kind of music to satisfy anyones musical apetite. Saturday and Sunday, Lemo, The Wrasslin Lion was at the show to go thru his paces but, alas, poor Lemo fizzeled out. The noises from the whistles and the show in general made him very nervous and he would not perform. He was, however, quite an attraction to the visitor.
How did the 'Old Time Thresher and Saw Mill Operator show' get it's start? Way back in the year 1951, Jim Whitbey put on a neighborhood threshing show with the neighbors bringing in their horses and wagons to haul the grain from the field to the threshing machine. Jay Gould, the farm service director of Radio Station WOWO, broadcast news of there himself and tended the blower. Fermen Bloom of Churubusco, Indiana came with his model engine and thresher and Bill Eby of Maxim, Indiana was there with his model bailer. At noon time, eggs were fried in a scoop shovel held in the fire-box of the 'Susie Q' a 20 HP Rumely engine. Jim studied for quite some time trying to arrive at a name for his show that got its start in the field north of the house. Finally, he came up with the name 'Old Time Thresher', remembering that quite a few of his first visitors were old time threshermen. Thus the name 'Old Time Thresher and Saw Mill Operators' as we know it to-day.
This year, as has been the custom, Radio Station WOWO co-sponsored the 'Old Time Thresher and Saw Mill Operator Show'. Personal from the station set up a broadcast booth on the grounds and live broadcasts were made throughout the four days of the show. Personal from the studio were on the grounds and the visitor had the opportunity to meet, in person, his favorite radio personality.
The dates for the 1964 show are: Thurs, Fri. Sat. and Sun, Aug. 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th.