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Antique Tractors and Threshers

John Deere on parade

This is a John Deere styled D antique tractor pulling an antique John Deere threshing machine in the 4th of July Parade (held on the 3rd of July). Bob Queck is the owner of this fine John Deere equipment.

I had never seen this kind of machine in operation since by the time I grew up this type of harvesting was long obsolete. I had the opportunity to watch Bob set this threshing machine up for an exhibit at the fair. I was amazed at the number of belts that had to be put on. First Bob had to line the tractor up just so for the big main drive belt, at 6 inches wide, roughly 40 feet long and weighing 100 pounds, it was the biggest belt in the whole operation. Next came all the various small belts. It turned out to be quite a lengthy operation to get everything set up right. I was surprised when I was informed that they never left a belt on the machine overnight but they removed all belts nightly just to go through the whole operation the next day!

There were several "experienced" people assisting with the whole operation. Afterwards we all stood around and they filled my head with tales of their threshing days. I found this to be very entertaining, they had found an eager audience.

Visions of Threshing feasts made my mouth water as they wove tails of tables full of crisp fried chicken (in the days before refrigeration the chicken would be butchered in the morning to be on the menu by noon), mounds of mashed potatoes a foot high and fresh pies that were cut in only four pieces.

Cool water for the men on the crew to drink was provided in a very inventive fashion. The water was drawn from the well into jugs which were wrapped in burlap bags. The burlap was wet down(evaporation from this provided the cooling power). The bags were then draped over a pony ridden by a child. It was then the child's job to make the rounds so the men could drink.

Mom's Tales

Mom can remember carrying cool water to the men in the threshing crew when she was a small girl. She would ride a pony around to all the men so they could drink from water jugs suspended from the pony in wet burlap bags fastened with a belt.

The head gear fashion of the day was straw hats. All the men wore straw hats to protect them from the hot sun. Mom told me that at the end of the job the men would always grab somebody's straw hat and run it through the threshing machine. Today I only wear a straw hat as a cool fashion statement!

Mom remembers helping Grandma make tons of fried chicken, heaping mountains of mashed potatoes , gallons of delicious fried chicken gravy for the mashed potatoes and dozens of fresh apple pies.

They did not use a tractor to haul the straw to the thresher but they pulled the loads with horses. The horse closest to the belts would have its tail tied so it would not get caught and pulled off. Sometimes even the horses wore straw hats!

Mom said she could hear her brothers moaning at night from sore muscles. I suppose that styled visions of work danced in their heads all night.

I am glad that in our modern age we do not have to work so hard that styled visions of the days work does not dance in our heads all night.
I am also glad we do not have to farm with horses.

Nice 70 John Deere and 227 corn picker

Dad owned a JD 227 picker in partnership with our neighbor and good friend, Bob Grasty. They always mounted it on Dad's 60 John Deere and Bob would haul the corn away with his M Farmall. They kept the picker at the county fair grounds when it was not in use. One year they went to put the picker on the 60 and it was gone! They went and asked the JD dealer who also stored machinery at the county fair grounds. He didn't know a thing about it. Either someone stole the picker or maybe one of the salesmen sold it by mistake, we will never know. That has been years ago and it is funny how things change. A couple of years ago a friend bought a 227 at a farm sale for $10.00 and has never bothered to go get it. Over the years they have gone from a valuable item to something not even worth the effort to bring home!

Antique Farm Equipment

Submit your own "THRESHING TALES"


The time I pulled my Chevy van home with my WD45

Spotty the Milk Cow

I own a WD45 Allis Chalmers that I use around our place. It is a great runner and usually starts with the first turn of the starter. I like the fully synchronized 4 speed transmission, shifts real easy. According to the serial numbers the rear end is a 1953 and the engine is a 1954.

I have a loader on my WD45 that I use for innumerable tasks. I have used my tractor and loader to scoop snow, pull engines, pull posts, move cars, haul parts and I even used it to install an air conditioner in my home.

I have a 5 foot pull type rotary mower that I use around our farm. The WD45 powers through the tallest grass without a problem. The only drawback is that it is not as maneuverable as the 9N Ford with a three point mounted 5 foot rotary mower (but the Ford ran out of power real fast in tall grass). I have been thinking of mounting a three point conversion on the WD45 which would increase the versatility of this machine.

I used my WD45 to seed about 70 CRP acres. First I disked with my 14 foot disk. I had very few problems pulling the disk, the rear wheels on the Allis had a tendency to spin when the going got tough (she's a little light in the rear, maybe duals would help). I used my seeder wagon to sow the seeds and then disked it lightly with the blades set at a very low angle.

All in all, I am pleased with my WD45 Allis Chalmers. There are times when I wish I had a bigger tractor, but for most tasks the Allis proves to be very satisfactory.

More will be added when I have time.

I Randy D. Stamper am a member
of the Old Iron webring.

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