Wisconsin Steam Antique Engine Club

By Staff
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Drag sawing firewood in early 1900's.
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Early Case engine and wooden thresher south of Kewaunee in Carlton.
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Dahlke threshing rig and crew about 1916.

The article and photographs on these two pages were sent to us
by Ed Westen, Route 2, Box 127, Kewaunee, Wisconsin 54216. They are
from the show book of the Wisconsin Steam Antique Engine Club,
which holds its shows each year at the Calumet County Fairgrounds
in Chilton, Wisconsin. This is the third year that the club has
published a large show book containing information and pictures
pertaining to the steam engine hobby. The books have been favorably
received by the public and are being placed in libraries and
historical societies as a ‘valuable contribution to the
recorded history of the area and a tribute to the efforts of our
people who are helping to preserve our agricultural heritage.’
Copies of the book are on sale to the general public for $5.95 each
and can be ordered from Mr. Westen at the above address. The
club’s 1986 show is scheduled for August 9 and 10.

Farming has undergone continuous change throughout the years.
The rude pioneer farms that were wrested from the wilderness by our
ancestors have been replaced by super-farms of hundreds of acres
with machinery to match. However, not every change is an
improvement. Many of us remember, with fond nostalgia, the fine
quality of the social life in the years before the Second War, when
labor was traded between neighbors as a way of life; the resulting
social interaction was welcome and valuable.

Threshing, silo filling, hay baling, and firewood sawing were
jobs that required a crew, and the long hours of hard, often cold,
dusty work were rewarded not so much by the obligation of repayment
in kind, but by the opportunity to meet friends and neighbors in a
pleasant interruption of an otherwise solitary, humdrum life. We
looked forward to those excuses to get together with our neighbors
and enjoyed, in spite of the discomforts, those long work days. A
snake or a nest of field mice found under a grain shock could, by
some fertile, active mind, be transformed into the basis for a new
practical joke that was long remembered and often recounted.

There is a difference between a group of men sweating together
in a hay mow and their modern counterparts congregated at a bar or
a bowling alley. In the first case, we were united against a common
enemy, the Depression, and our work together was a way of
conserving a slender income by bartering labor instead of dollars.
This attitude put a finer point on the reason for being together,
and made the socializing especially worthwhile as a means to an
end. Those of us who were fortunate enough to have experienced
those times recall them with fondness. The pictures seen here, some
of which were rephotographed from the picture collections of Ed
Bisely, Frank Schnabl, Walter and Gerhardt Kiekhaefer, Fred
Reckelberg, and Edwin Water street, help us all remember those good
old days!

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