The Allis-Chalmers All-Crop Combine

All-Crop Harvester

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1408 N. Van Buren Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

This All-Crop combine changed the way the small grain was harvested on the small farms in the Midwest. These machines were developed in the early 1930s. We purchased our first Allis-Chalmers WC tractor with steel wheels in 1935 and the next year we bought our first model 60 combine. We went modern that year by putting rubber tires on the tractor and after many years of threshing with a Rumely Ideal thresher and a Rumely steam engine, this little combine was quite a change. This put us in a position to do our harvest when the grain was ready to harvest.

This machine had a five foot sickle and an eighteen bushel grain bin. It was driven by the power take off from the tractor. We used this first combine three years and then traded it in on a new model 60. In that three years I combined 1800 acres of grain with this small machine. That took a lot of driving. This combine had some construction faults, and after 1800 acres it was about worn out. We had a pickup attachment to thresh clover that had been windrowed and a recleaning attachment to clean the grain.

Allis Chalmers All-Crop Harvester showing Wisconsin engine with added air clearer stack, hydraulic cylinder to lift header and recleaner.

The grain went into the cylinder, then turned a ninety degree turn onto the straw rack. When we first saw one of these machines we did not think they would work with this ninety degree turn, but with proper adjustment they would thresh about any small grain. These combines were a far cry from the modern self-propelled machines we have today with ten to thirty foot headers and eight or twelve row corn heads.

With the rubber cylinder bars and rubber concaves, along with different sieves, about any grain could be harvested. I combined oats, wheat, rye, barley, timothy, alfalfa, red clover, buckwheat, great northern beans, soy beans, millet, blue grass and milo.

Paul Kesselring using a pick-up attachment to combine windrow grain. Combine has dual wheels, recleaner and auger extension.

After using the second combine for a few years we bought a Model 66 with its larger header and some refinements, including a crank to adjust the cylinder speed. This was before tractors had live PTOs. The shifting of gears led to the purchase of a Wisconsin four cylinder air cooled engine to replace the PTO. This engine had a clutch and a gear reduction to give the 540 RPM for the PTO. The recleaner and dual wheels were added to make this a very versatile machine.

There was a smaller version of the Model 60. It was the Model 40 with a 40-inch sickle and a straight through separator. It could be pulled with a cone plow tractor such as the Allis-Chalmers Model B.

There were about 250,000 Model 60s and 15,000 Model 40s built.

Yes, agriculture has advanced to make farming faster and a more pleasant occupation. One of the things missed was the old time threshing dinner with all that 'good lemon pie.'

Just a parting story: A farmer bought an Allis-Chalmers Model 60 and told his hired man to take it to the field to combine some oats. The hired man put the PTO in gear and started out, but he went down a fence row. When he had combined forty rod of fence he had the post windrowed, the wire rolled up and the staples in the bin!

Well, it made a good story.