| May/June 1963

  • Adam J. Habel, Clarence J. Habel'
    Adam J. Habel, Clarence J. Habel (son), Arrette Neorr (grand-daughter) and James Neorr (great grand-son) 1942.
  • Case Engine
    My father's great-grandchildren, Dan Michael and Rebecca Jane Habel sitting on a miniature Case Engine at the Montpelier Thresher's Meeting in 1962.

  • Adam J. Habel, Clarence J. Habel'
  • Case Engine

1060 Chestnut Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan

He was born in 1857 and, when he died in 1946, was just short of 90 years of age. He farmed a substantial acreage and owned and operated Threshing machinery in a community of good farmland about 24 miles west of Toledo, just south of the Michigan State line. This community was about 8 miles northwest of Swanton, Ohio, where the A. D. Baker Factory was located. My father was a friend of Mr. A. D. Baker, and a loyal user and booster of Baker Traction Engines.

My father operated Threshing machinery for a period of over 50 years, startingin the year 1884 when he bought John Baldwin's one-half interest in the Luke-Baldwin 'Horse Power' Driven Threshing Outfit. He and John Luke were in business for 2 years at which time his brother, Daniel Habel, bought Mr. Luke's interest. The Habel brothers operated their machinery in partnership for 18 years until 1904 when Daniel Habel sold his interest to his next door neighbor, Dallas Cook.

The Habel-Cook partnership was dissolved in 1907 when my father bought out Mr. Cook's interest. From that date, until he quit threshing in 1938, he was the sole owner of his Outfit with the exception of 2 years in the early 20's when he was in partnership with Arthur (Teed) Perkins. One factor that influenced the purchase of Mr. Cook's interest was the fact that my two older brothers, Clarence and Philip, were now old enough to help operate the machinery. They had worked with the Outfit from the time they were real young boys. Clarence as the Water Hauler and Philip as a Hand Feeder. Philip prided himself as a fast, steady Feeder, and wore a heavy re-inforced leather glove on his right hand so that in his eagerness to keep the cylinder full his hand would not be cut by the band cutter.

I, who was 10 years younger than Philip, started as Water Hauler when I was 12 years old, graduating in time to Engine Man and then Separator Tender. My younger brother, Carl, also started as Water Hauler (or Water Monk, as we called him) at an early age, graduating in time to Engine Man. When he was Engine Man he, in the interest of fuel economy, tried to hold his steam pressure to a variation not greater than 5 lbs.

My father, over the years, worked as both Engine Man and Separator Tender. My brothers, Clarence and Philip, also did both. Other men in the community who worked as Separator Tenders for my father were John Schug, Grant Fleming, Simon Krieger, Purdy Cole, Dan Griesinger and Frank Fleming.


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