| July/August 1956

  • Steam engine threshing
    A typical scene of steam engine threshing as it was done on Missouri farms a generation ago. The 1955 St. Charles Fair provided a real-life re-enactment of this memorable scene.

  • Steam engine threshing

135 Eau Claire Drive, St. Charles, Missouri

Please accept my renewal subscription and change my address as shown below. While I class myself as a 'thresher', my only actual connection was 'water boy' with the rigs that threshed on farms near my boyhood home in Garden City, Missouri, about 20 to 30 years ago. The old steamers always fascinated me and I regretted to see them replaced. I always felt a little sorry for the generation only a few years behind mine who would never see this tremendous farm, spectacle. Accordingly it was a great thrill for me when I was able to re-create for the 1955 St. Charles County (Mo.) Fair the 'threshing exhibit' described in the enclosed clipping and photographs which I hope you can use in the ALBUM.

We actually threshed about a wagon load of oats beginning each day at 4 P. M. The bundles were hauled in by truck then reloaded on two wagons, one pulled with a fine team of Missouri mules to give our audience as authentic a scene as possible. The threshing was staged in a natural ampitheater with several hundred spectators daily lining the grass covered hillside. The entire 'rig' had been given a fresh coat of red and green paint by volunteer painters just prior to Fair time. I'm enclosing a photograph and two articles which appeared in our local paper in regard to this exhibit, which I hope you can use in the ALBUM, at least to the extent of giving credit to the men whose well preserved equipment we used.

It is my fond hope that the St. Charles County Fair, one of the finest county fairs in Missouri, will make this threshing exhibit an annual feature so that this great tradition of agriculture can be kept alive and real in the minds of coming generations.


'Beginning 4:00 p. m., Thursday afternoon and each afternoon, through Sunday, on the north east corner of the Fair Grounds, will be re-enacted one of the most memorable legends of agricultural history steam engine threshing complete with the coal smoke, dust, straw, and smell of hot steam and metal that went with it. Hard at work will be the 60hp. 1919 Nichols & Shepard steam engine owned by William Thorough man of Washington, Missouri, and the Nichols & Shepard 'Red River Special' thresher owned by George Brinkmann of St. Charles. On display also will be an A. D. Baker steam engine owned by Bernard McMenamy and a 1926 Rumley 'Oil  Pull' tractor owned by George Brinkmann. The Fair is also indebted to Mr. Brinkmann for providing bundled grain to make this demonstration possible.

'The steam threshing engine, immense and ponderous by today's standards, was the forerunner of the mechanical revolution that has swept through American agriculture in less than a generation. Almost overnight what many old timers (and a few of us youngsters) regard as the most memorable period of farming, has passed into legend.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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