The Little Mill

The grinder solo

The grinder solo.

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5801 E. 5th St. Tucscon, Arizona 85711

I found and bought this corn sheller in Julian, California, in September 1991, while attending the town's annual Apple Harvest Festival.

And by the way, during this event, the town's various shops are squeezing apple cider and some have bakeries where the most scrumptious of apple pies are made and sold. One in particular is 'Mom's Apple Pies.' You can stand outside on the sidewalk and look through picture windows and watch them inside preparing pies. Then if you want, you can go inside and order whole pies or have a slice with or without real French vanilla ice cream.

This store was also operating an old time hand crank apple peeler and corer at the time; I mean a peeler that you dump a whole bushel basket into at a time. And along the road leading into the town from the west, there were roadside stands by nearly every countryside house and church that were selling pies. Julian is an old gold mining town up in the mountains about 60 miles northeast of San Diego, California. There is an old gold mine guided tour that is very interesting, as there is an old horizontal, one-lunger underground, used as a hoist engine. The mine entrance where you pay to go in there is a five stamp mill. The owner of the mining property had five engines in his museum stuck off in a dusty, dark corner, where it was hard to see, and an old storage shed with all kinds of parts like mags, carbs, parts for old cars, etc. that had been given to him. In the yard are various old trucks, cars, even an old cement mixer powered by a one-lunger horizontal, but wouldn't you know it, he wouldn't part with any of those small parts in the shed or the engines. When I told him I was a fan of all those old things, then he opened up his storage shed and showed me all those nifty old parts.

Anyway, getting back to the sheller you would think I had to pay a whole lot for it if I told you I bought it from an antique shop, but I did buy it from an antique shop at less than a hundred dollars. All the wood and metal parts were in good to excellent condition; just needed restoring.

The sheller was pictured with an inquiry in GEM's Reflections section (January 1992 edition, page 2). I received several responses on it and they were all very helpful toward restoration. Three in particular helped me the most with making a stencil for the gold design and the green and red striping. I thank all those who wrote me and I particularly thank GEM and C. H. Wendel, because without them I would not have had the help necessary to restore it. GEM is the greatest magazine in my book! Keep up the good work, C. H. Wendel!

I've had the sheller standing on my covered patio for a year or so just looking at it often, while working on my various other restorations, saying to myself, 'I want it ready for the Pima County Fair.' I said that before the 1992 fair, but didn't make it, so when December 1992 came along, one day I was looking at it too much I took it apart, then I couldn't stop until I finished it, along with the platform and mounting the feed mill. Now the only hard job involved in getting the project functioning is picking and hauling corn to feed it.

I have shown the sheller at the Wellton, Arizona Show and the 1993 Pima County Fair, at Tucson, Arizona, and have had a lot of good praise for the restoration. I would like to find the pulley that bolts onto the flywheel so I could use one of my engines to power it. The old arm gets tired! The grinder mounted next to it I power with either my Fuller & Johnson model N 2 HP or my Fairbanks Morse Z throttle governed 2 HP engine.

I've had this antique disease ever since I can remember, but I got sicker when I developed rusty iron disease a few years ago when I attended the Stanislaus County Fair in my hometown of Turlock, California. When I arrived home I started looking at and asking questions about one-lungers. An ol' flying buddy (I used to fly ultra-lites) told me of a couple of old engines that sounded to me to be cheap, so I checked them out.

The Fuller & Johnson Farm Pump was in running condition, but the Fuller & Johnson NC was rusty and missing a few minor parts. I thought maybe the price was a little high and the owner wouldn't come down even a little, so I let it go a couple of months. In the meantime I went to South Haven, Michigan with my good ol' wife to visit her family and was told of an engine and tractor show at Kalamazoo. Well, I got so sick I nearly died trying to satisfy my disease!

When I got home I decided the price wasn't high for what I was getting, so I jumped in my pickup, hoping they still were there and luckily, they were. I bought them for the owner's price right then and there. I found out afterwards that two others were very much interested in them and I bought them just one week before one of them was going to go buy them. I knew one of the guys and the other one became a friend after I bought two Cushman scooters from him that I then restored. So I consider myself very fortunate for not being too cheap when I see something I want and this disease makes you want more and more.

The Farm Pump engine is restored to correct colors and connected to a shallow well hand pump and mounted on a cart; it pumps water too. I've rigged a device to it that turns the crank for an old White Mountain ice cream freezer, so at some shows it is pumping water and making ice cream, and the public loves it toothe engine rig, that is. The ice cream is for me and my engine buddies!

Other engines I have and are restored are a horizontal Nelson Bros., model 72 Maytag, model WM B&G, and an FH B&G.

I also have an old riding lawn mower that I have restored into a little tractor and it pulls a miniature spray rig for dust abatement. The WM B&G is used to power the old sprayer pump.