F. F. LANDIS, From a snap photograph
Of the Frick Company, Waynesboro, Pa.
The writer became interested in this subject, not by his own choice, but through a combination of circumstances. His only excuse or apology for giving some of his experience with and constructions used in a threshing machine of his own design is, that they seem in a number of points to differ from those advanced and used in the threshing machines of today.
Mr. Landis was one of the pioneers in building and designing threshers. He was an advocate of the closed cylinder. He tells why.
Since this is the important end of thresher we thought you would be interested in this early thresher builder telling the story.
The subject is a very old one. We might go away back where there is now no means of knowing anything about it and imagine the first work of the threshing machine being done by pulling off the heads with the fingers in place of the teeth on 'the present cylinder. Then they rubbed them to loosen the kernels, which is done at present by a violent blow and the rubbing of the teeth. We have some very ancient history, which incidentally alludes to threshing which might lead us to believe that the earliest threshing machines are the 'threshing instruments' that performed their work by employing some of the same means found in the present type; at least, the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 41, verse 15, tells us they had teeth, so that if we view the subject in its broadest sense, omitting our present combinations of details, we must conclude that there is nothing new under the sun in the threshing machine.
About fourteen years ago the writer, through circumstances which he at the time did not control, was led into what his experience up to this time causes him to name 'a knotty problem;' but at the start of the work he, like many others, supposed it a very easy task to hull the grain from the chaff, if we relate only to threshing. That is really all there is to it. In a short time a complete (?) threshing machine was constructed according to his own plans, using cylinders of the same construction as those then in general use; first, a 6-bar; next, a 9-bar; then, a 12-bar cylinder, which was the best and cleanest thresher of the three. The 12-bar cylinder, adopted by the writer, for its kind was and still is equal, and perhaps superior, in construction to many in use today. After battling with this (at the time much admired) construction of cylinder for a number of years by modifying the diameters of cylinder, the shape, thickness, length and spacing of the teeth, also the various arrangements and forms of concaves and their teeth, but with all this he never succeeded when threshing at a rapid rate, and often very irregular feeding, to fully satisfy his own demands for clean threshing, and often the grain was in bad condition.
However, the writer is satisfied that his choice of a cylinder was and still is as good as any of the same type in general use today; and, at the time, concluded to O.K. it. Up to that time there was but little complaint from the trade about unclean threshing, and we had little or no grief from that source; but as America is never satisfied, she extended her wheat fields much faster than she could her labor, which demanded machines of much greater capacity and, at the same time, to use no more or even less labor. This condition demanded improved and more rapid methods for handling and delivering the grain into the machine, and also labor-saving devices for disposing of the straw. So we were all obliged to adopt the self-feeder and the pneumatic straw stacker. As soon as they were attached to the thresher, new troubles were developed in the threshing field. The self-feeder demanded greater capacity in the machine, often taxing it to and beyond its maximum. So far in the change of conditions the problem would have remained an easy one-simply enlarging the machine; but the rear end, or wind stacker, is where the battle commenced, and the struggle still exists to some extent today.