Threshing Wheat 50 Years Ago


| July/August 1972



Red River Special steam threshing outfit

Red River Special steam threshing outfit owned by George M. Kestler. Mr. Kestler is standing on top of the separator. The engine is a 25 HP double cylinder rear mounted Nichols & Shepard. The separator is a N & S 44''. This picture was taken about 1919 ne

Melvin Kestler

1339 Evergreen Drive, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301.

Mr. Dewey Green, Sr., of Haxtun, Colorado sent me the following article which appeared in the August 18, 1971 issue of the Haxtun Harvest Newspaper.

'August 11, 1921 - 50 Years Ago'

'The threshing season is well underway in the Haxtun, Colorado district and a number of large outfits are going to capacity, but George M. Kestler, with his (steam) Red River Special (Nichols & Shepard) outfit has set a record which he believes will stand well toward the top in number of bushels threshed in one day. Working in the fields of J. W. Markham south of town last Tuesday, Mr. Kestler moved his outfit four times and threshed a total of 2,670 bushels (over 44 sixty bushel wagon loads of wheat).'

I made Mr. Green's acquaintance at the Antique Engine & Thresher Assn. show which is held on the farm of Mrs. Roy E. Kite of Bird City, Kansas where my Case 65 steam outfit was kept and shown for many years. Mr. Green was well acquainted with my father, George M. Kestler, who died in 1941. Mr. Green attended the Bird City show several times. It was always a pleasure to visit with him and learn more about the days when steam was king on the farms in eastern Colorado. At the time of my father's steam engine activities, I was not old enough to accompany him or be a part of same.

At one time, my father was an engineer on the Burlington Railroad which runs through Haxtun, Colorado. My parents moved to Haxtun in 1914 when I was 4 years old. His first steam outfit was headed by a Case 25-75 H. P. engine with 36' drivers as shown in the plowing picture which was taken about 1915. I saw an engine just like this with wide drivers at the Saskatoon show several years ago. This plowing picture shows a man steering the engine. Later, the engines were steered with a guide with a long steel pole fastened to the front axle with a crazy wheel which was held rigid and followed the furrow through the field and the wheel was released with a trip rope from its fixed position at the end of the field so that the outfit could be turned around.