The 80 Horse Case Steam Engine That Never Had A Chance

| November/December 1991

Rt #2, Box 6890 , Button, Montana 58433-9716

Mr. Ed Seven of Power, Montana has mentioned to me several times an 80 HP Case threshing outfit at Grenora, North Dakota, which is in the northwestern part of North Dakota, not far from the Montana and Canadian border.

Mr. Seven told me that in 1922, a group of farmers including his dad and uncle around the Grenora area got together and purchased a Case engine, along with a 44' Case wooden separator, also a cook car.

According to Mr. Seven, this was purchased as a new outfit for the 1922 fall threshing season. That big outfit would need twelve to fourteen bundle wagons to keep it running at full capacity, and a gentleman by the name of Baker was the engineer. He fired with coal, as was prevalent in that area.

They had a pretty good run that first fall and in 1923 they changed to another type of feeder on the separator for some reason. Ed can remember their making the changeover, as the Seven farm was where the run finished up in the fall of 1922.

As the threshing season was to begin in the fall of 1923, the rig left the Seven farmstead and began the threshing run some distance away. No doubt, not everyone is always ready, and with as many as seventeen farmers having an interest in the Case threshing rig, it could present a problem at times. So, some of the farmers were probably getting a bit impatient, waiting for the big Case outfit to come and do their threshing. There happened to be another smaller threshing rig in the area, with a cross motor Case for belt power, that did a number of jobs that were done the previous year by the Case steam rig.