THRESHING RICE

article image
George Bednar cutting grain the good old way. Of course there is a way older than that yet. George says he really enjoys cutting grain with a binder and using horses rather than a tractor. George Bednar, 9200-62nd Avenue, No., Minneapolis 27, Minnesota.

Starks, Louisiana

I ENCLOSE MY RENEWAL for the ALBUM. I have every copy published
except the first one, so have been with you almost from the
start.

Perhaps few readers of the ALBUM ever threshed rice. Here in the
rice belt of Louisiana and Texas it was all threshed until about 10
years ago, but it is nearly all combined at present. There is still
some threshing here and there. I operate the only steam rig around
here.

Rice growing here in the gulf coast country started about 1890
and within two or three years thousands of acres was in rice. Many
people from the north, especially from the state of Iowa, came to
buy the cheap land and help to start the industry. The towns of
Jennings and Iowa were both established by Iowa people. They
brought their farm equipment. Therefore rice growers had the best
machinery of that day right from the start. Primitive methods of
harvesting and threshing the crop were never used here.

Mr. J. F. Percival had a good article on the history of grain
binders in the Sept.-Oct., issue of the ALBUM. He wonders why some
McCormick binders were right hand cut. I do not know but I know
they were the answer to the bull punchers prayer. A good many oxen
were used to cut rice until around five or six years after the turn
of the century. Now with a left hand binder the driver had to walk
on the ‘off’ or right hand side of the team. An old time
bull puncher considered this a disgrace, moreover the oxen were
trained for their driver to be on their left. A new McCormick right
hand was bought for our farm in 1906 and like all right hand
binders sold here it came with two sizes of sprockets for the rear
end of pitman shaft, the larger sprocket to be used with oxen to
speed up the mechanism for the slower travel of the bull team.

I have used a right hand cut a great deal with both horses and
tractors. There is no difference at all except of course they will
not work on the same cut of grain with a left hand at the same
time.

We later had a McCormick left hand. My present binder is a late
Mc-Cormick-Deering power drive with roller chain except the reel.
We have also used two Deering binders. My father bought a Deering
before I can remember that had the Pitman behind and worked the
sickle by a cross arm pivoted some way in the center of the
platform. It was still in use when I got old enough to notice
things. How many old-timers remember that model of binder? It also
had a large spur gear instead of a sprocket on the bull wheel.

In Oklahoma and South Central Kansas in the years just before
World War I, many header-binders or ‘push binders’ as they
were called in that country, were in use. All of the great many
McCormick header-binders I ever saw in that country were right hand
cut.

The largest rig I ever cut with cut a 40 foot swath. This was
not on Paul Bunyan’s farm but in Kingman County, Kansas. Five 8
foot binders drawn by an Aultman Taylor 30-60. I had to help some
of the other operators who could not even thread the machine when
the twine would break.

Here in the rice fields I think nearly every standard make of
engine and thresher was in general use in the steam threshing
days.

My father and uncle bought a new 12hp. center crank Case
traction engine about 1894. It ran on the farm here and in the
neighborhood for many years. No better little engine ever turned a
wheel.

Any standard wheat thresher will thresh rice, but for best
results all the pulleys on the cylinder should be larger, this to
slow down the cylinder somewhat to prevent cracking the grain and
at the same time maintain regular speed on all other parts of the
machine.

My 32×51 Case turns 900 rpm. while it would run 1100 in wheat
but the crank turns 230 the same as in wheat. Of course the older
20 bar Case cylinder turns much slower.

We never used any outlaw or homemade rigs here in the rice
country, but only the world famous engines and threshers built in
the north and so well known to all ALBUM readers.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment