THRESHING MACHINES RECALL OLDEN TIMES ON ILLINOIS FARMS


| March/April 1963



Southern Illinois University

A 'Power Progress Show' of farm machinery was held at the Perry County fairgrounds in Pinckneyville recently. At the same time and place the American Thresher man Association, an organization formed to memorialize olden methods of farming, particularly the harvesting and threshing of grain, held its annual meeting. With these two appeals, no further reason was sought to justify spending a couple of hot but enjoyable days at the combined meetings.

Any inquisitive visitor soon learned that trucks, trailers, and low-boys had been arriving with strange cargos for several days. Evidence of that fact was distributed widely over the fairgrounds. He was also told that these carriers had come from many states and from long distances. Some were from as far away as Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

In addition to these arrivals from more distant places, there was a large area of the exhibit grounds covered with the most modern farm power tools, much like those seen on implement dealers' lots. Somehow, these were not so interesting to this old timer as those tools that were 'modern' a few generations ago.

After a preliminary look at random exhibits of the earlier planting and harvesting devices, the visitor came upon the very solid exhibit of threshing equipment. The most attention compelling part of this was the score or so of steam traction engines. These engines had come from widely separated places. One 70 years old, had come on a lowboy directly from Lincoln, Neb. where it had taken part in the centennial observance of steam traction engines moved by their own power on the roadways and over the fields of the United States.

Many of the men exhibiting engines at Pinckneyville were as interesting as their charges. Except for a few young men who apparently are determined to keep the romance of threshing days alive, none were youngsters. Their dress and mannerisms were those of the men following threshers 50 years ago. Come to think of it, one difference was noted, none was a tobacco chewer. One and all appeared to be doing well at reliving the pleasantly remembered days. All in all it was an old men and boys day. A listener often could overhear such remarks as: 'Do you remember?' 'As I recall.' Many of these lookers once were the band cutters, sack holders, or straw stackers, before the blower (cyclone) thresher came.