What Did I Do Now!?!

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Dave Mensch, RR2, Box 70, Freeman, South Dakota 57029,
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A lot of time into the restoration of this Avery ''Yellow Fellow.''
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April 1989: As it arrived at home, before restoration.
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The Yellow Fellow in tip-top shape.

RR #2, Box 70, Freeman, South Dakota 57029

There are times in every collector/restorer’s life, I
suppose, when you think you’ve gone and bought something you
shouldn’t have. Although the Avery thresher I bought at an
auction cost me less than a poor 1V2 engine, that feeling of
‘What have I done?’ crept over me. I had it hauled home and
backed it into the Quonset. I started scraping dirt and grease off
one back corner, soon to realize that this would take a lot more
than a couple of Sunday afternoons.

This job turned out to be too big for a summer project, so work
was stopped until we finished our insulated shop building. In the
meantime, I was able to purchase a second 32′ Avery Yellow
Fellow, made only one month after the first one. This second Avery
was badly rotted and we completely parted it out in the fall of
1989. All the good pieces of wood and cast iron were saved to fix
up the other one.

The shop was finished the winter of ’89-‘9O, but no time
remained to start work. Since the good machine had a 36’ Garden
City Feeder, we decided to remove it and rebuild the feeder from
the parts machine. This was completed by the fall of 1990.

The wife and kids knew something was up when I pulled the Avery
out of the Quonset and backed it into the shop just before
Christmas. Yes, Christmas vacation would not be the same this year!
Just after Christmas I herded everybody to the shop and handed out
the grease scrapers and putty knives.

The thresher was stripped of every part that we could get off.
The straw walkers were removed to put new side curtains on the
grain pan. Raccoons ate part of the straw rack, so this too was
repaired with parts. The Avery IXL straw device was lying behind
the shed of the previous owner, rusted tight. I was able to get
another IXL and made one good one and put it back in the

Both axles were bad, so these too were replaced. The high Dakota
loader was removed and replaced with an Avery Peoria loader, and
conveyer with a Hart weigher, all overhauled.

All in all, there was hardly a part that didn’t need some
sort of work, and after that, there was all the painting to do. I
believe now that the paint cost more than the machine itself.

By March I was beginning to wonder if we would be done by Spring
field work. Just as things were looking grim, Rueben Zeeb of Menno,
South Dakota, volunteered to help me finish it. Rueben, a man of 80
years who once threshed for my grandpa in his younger days with a
20-40 Case Regular, did a lot of painting and helped with the
repair of the external parts. I also would like to thank Forest
Pence of Harvard, Nebraska for giving me a number of parts I was
missing; Ray Albrecht of Marion, South Dakota, for lending parts
from his Avery so I could make some parts; and Donald Hinds of
Centerville, South Dakota, for lending an Avery catalog with a
color picture of an Avery Yellow Fellow.

Most of all I thank my wife, Glenda and daughters, Dawn, Paula
and Crystal for sticking it out.

All in all, the project was both rewarding and fun. We had the
opportunity to do a lot of things that we have never done before. I
think, though, that it’ll be a while before I buy another

Specifications: Serial #9001,1913 Avery Yellow Fellow, 32′
cylinder, 54′ separator, 6′ Avery feeder, extra wide
wheels, Avery Peoria elevator and conveyor, Hart weigher.

The Avery Yellow Fellow can be seen steam threshing during the
fifth annual Menno Pioneer Power Show, Menno, South Dakota,
September 14 & 15, 1991.

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