464 S. Fifth Street, Sebewaing, Michigan 48759
I was seven years old the first time my Dad took me along threshing. He had two threshing rigs on the road at this time: a 19 HP Port Huron, and an 18 HP Aultman-Taylor, steam engine; two grain separators, one 32 inch Aultman-Taylor and a 30 inch Farquhar; two Bidwell bean machines both 36 inch; one #9 Birdsell clover huller; and an Ann Arbor hay baler.
Most of the threshing at this time was barn threshing. The farmer would haul the grain and navy beans into the barn and then would thresh it. A few years later they started threshing right from the fields. This was a good thing for the farmer but, not so good for the thresher. Everybody wanted to thresh the same day.
The 30 inch Farquhar was a hard running machine and in tough wheat it would really make the old 19HP Port Huron work hard. I can still see the lantern, that Dad had hanging under the front smoke box, swaying back and forth. He used it for moving at night.
Dad did some trading in the past three years. He now has a new 25x45 Crossmotor Case tractor, and a new 28x50 Crossmotor Hart Parr, a used 25x50 Aultman-Taylor tractor and a used 16x30 Hart Parr.
He sold the 19HP Port Huron steam engine but he still ran the 18HP Aultman-Taylor steam engine for a few more years. We also used it in the sawmill.
The boiler was getting bad on the Aultman-Taylor, and was welded several times. We steamed it up to move a house the last time it was run and my brother, Floyd, had just filled the firebox with slab wood. You had to stop the engine on the road to fire it up, and he got back up on the engine platform and started the engine to move down the road. At that moment the firedoor flew open and all the fire and steam blew out right where he was standing a few seconds before. Some of the stay bolts let go in the firebox. That was the cause of the blowout. The good Lord was with Floyd that day! The engine was junked after that.
When I think of the Aultman-Taylor grain separator, I can still see that decal on the side of the machine, a starved skinny rooster. The decal read: 'This rooster fattened on an Aultman-Taylor straw stack.'
It was a very good machine, having a roto-rack straw-rack in it. I feel this type of rack was one of the best. One of the poorest was the rocker type straw rack. The Farquhar grain separator, and the Greyhound grain separators that we had were both rocker type straw racks and we had much more repair to do on them.
The time is 1934 now, and threshing has been good. This season we had five grain rigs on the run. They are as follows: 40x62HP Huber tractor, 28x50 Hart Parr tractor, 18x36 Hart Parr tractor, 20x40 Rumely Oilpull, 25x45 Case tractor, and a Model L Case tractor. This Model L was owned by my uncle. He and Dad shared a 50-50 arrangement. My uncle owned the tractor and my dad owned the grain separator. The grain machines were as follows: 32 inch Red River Special, 33 inch Port Huron Rusher, 28 inch Port Huron Rusher, 28 inch Advance Rumely Ideal, and a 32 inch Aultman-Taylor.
The year now is 1939 and the threshing runs are getting shorter and shorter. There are more threshing rigs in the area now and the combines are starting to take over.
We are now down to three threshing rigs. They are as follows: H. K. Huber, 28x50 Hart Parr, 18x36 Hart Parr, 28x44 Oliver Hart Parr, and a McCormick Deering W-30, 30 inch Red River Special, 28 inch Greyhound, 28 inch Advance Rumely Ideal, 33 inch Port Huron, #9 Birdsell clover huller, eight-row Rosenthal corn husker, and an Ann Arbor haypress.
The old Hart Parrs turned out to be the work horses. They just seem to run and run.
The most popular combine that came in our area between 1940 and 1950 was the little orange Allis Chalmers. What a great little thresher it was. The last grain threshing Dad did was in 1954, for a few neighbors.
There was one thing Dad would always say to us when we had a long move to make with the machine: 'Let her hike along!'
These engines are located at the Sebewaing Municipal Light and Water Plant, where I worked as a diesel electric operator for twenty years, after getting out of the Army.