| September/October 1960

Box 822, Watertown, South Dakota

The year was 1914, and I was running a 25-75 Case Engine, and a 40 x 62 Separator in North Dakota, and over in another field, I saw my first small Gas Tractor and small size Separator (a Belle City) I.H.C. and I don't recall the Tractor make, but it resembled a Mowing Machine with some tanks and a one cylinder Gas Engine. The Separator looked like an oversized fanning mill with a straw carrier attached to it.

This outfit put in 6 weeks on a 40 acre field, and then called our outfit in to finish 600 acres for him, and I thought that was one farmer who would not be in the threshing business the following year. I was mistaken though, for the next year he bought a brand new tractor and a Carger Separator with Feeder, Wind Stacker, and Weigher attached. Two of his neighbors also bought new small Gas Outfits. In 1924 all but three of the farmers we had threshed for in 1914 had their own Gas outfits, and the Big Steam Outfits in that section were doomed, and many of the old Farmer Threshermen could not afford to pull his outfit out for custom work.

In some cases the Thresherman sold part interest in his Steam Outfit to 4 or 5 of his neighbors to keep the little machines out until he had partly worn out his big $5,000.00 machine, but this didn't work out very well, for all the partners wanted their own job done first. The next year would see each with a new small machine and tractor.

Sawing on the John McGee farm in Coshocton County by the McCoy Bros. in 1890 with their Scheidler engine. (Just a different location than pictured above.) Mr. T. R. McCoy started firing on his father's Russell engine at age 13. Later he spent 13 years on the freighters on the Great Lakes as fireman and then got his stationary licenses which he is still working under. Mr. McCoy found these pictures (shown on this page and preceding page) after his father's death and thought we might be able to use them.

These tractors were not the Modern 2-4 and 6 Cylinder types that were developed later, and the farmers found this out and paid plenty for their experience. Many of the old Threshermen cut down from the Big Steamers and bought some of 20-40 and 30-60 Gas and Kerosene type tractors, and the Machine Companies went after these threshermen to buy the 32 x 52 and 36 x 56 size threshers. They bought thousands of them, and never wore out any of them, because the Combine came to replace them.