3208A 9th Avenue North Great Falls, Montana 59401
The Teton Antique Steam & Gas Threshing Association held its
1989 show and threshing bee the weekend following Labor Day. Unlike
past years, the show was held at the association’s new
permanent location in Choteau, Montana instead of at Ove
Larson’s farm. However, as has been the case in most years, the
weather was not overly cooperative. Saturday was cloudy with chilly
winds, and Sunday morning was downright cold after the light snow
that fell during the night. What kept the weekend from being a
disaster was the location, surrounded by trees and buildings which
blunted the force of the Montana gales.
Both days began around 7:00 a.m. with a sourdough pancake
breakfast hosted by members Gordon and Paula Larson. Hotcakes, ham,
scrambled eggs, coffee, and orange juice formed a typical old time
thresher’s breakfast. Anyone who went away hungry had to either
be sick or not appreciate this type of menu.
New to the show in 1989 was a wooden frame shingle mill. Once we
got it adjusted properly, we were able to produce souvenir shingles
for those who desired them. Member Dan Lannen provided a branding
iron and was kept quite busy producing these, some of which were
given to businesses and individuals who donated money or services
to the association. The mill will be a great asset when we begin
restoration of the Great Northern Railway Depot which will be moved
to the grounds this winter.
Power for the mill came from a John Deere W power unit purchased
along with a Belsaw sawmill from Gene DuBree of Helena, Montana. On
Saturday, the engine gave some trouble, but a magneto change Sunday
morning solved the problem quickly.
Another new feature this year was grain grinding. Rae Ginther
had our hammermill and Letz buhrmill belted to the club’s 1942
LA Case. If only we could get the tractor to start easier, we would
have a superb outfit. Rae sold several bags of flour and could have
sold more but he ran out of wheat to grind.
Threshing took place both days to the extent permitted by wet
straw. Two loads of bundles were run through Rick Corey’s 30 x
48 Advance Rumely separator and produced 104 bushels of oats. Power
was provided by Ove Larson’s 1910 60 HP Case and Carl
Mehmke’s 20-75 Nichols & Shepard. Both engines handled the
load ably and performed equally well on the sawmill. The oats made
over 100 bushels per acre and would have done better had we been
able to cut all of them; however, a wet summer caused part of the
crop to lodge so that our John Deere Canadian Special binder
couldn’t get all of them. We finished threshing on October 15
using Rick Corey’s John Deere R to pull the separator and came
up with a total of 552 bushels of oats off 5.5 acres. Of course, a
wet summer growing season on top of what was formerly an old
alfalfa field made for almost ideal growing conditions.
Tractors galore were in evidence. Ben Wombacher and Harvey Wilt
brought a set of Farmalls (A, B, C, Cub, H and M), as well as a W9.
Carl Hanson had an 830 JD and a G. From Belt, Montana, came Bob
Ryffel with a Cletrac F and a GP JD. A Waterloo Boy R was provided
by Bill Baughman of Cut Bank and Richard Schenk of Great Falls
brought his newly restored Allis Chalmers A. This last was most
often seen spinning the Baker Fan. Others present were A and D John
Deere, L Case, 22-36 and 14 McCormick-Deering, Greg Alzheimer’s
18-36 Hart-Parr, 8N Ford and Bob Stromswold’s Fordson. As
always, the winner of the slow races was the Fordson.
Ed Seven finally found the key to starting the big
Fairbanks-Morse Continental diesel engine while resetting it after
the move into Choteau. We had overlooked the compression release
for the left cylinder. With that in operation, his 22-36
McCormick-Deering spun the diesel over handily. Further work on the
injectors and new rings for the left cylinder should let us put
this engine in full operating condition.
Once our Corliss steam engine is operational (two or three years
down the road), we plan to use its compressor to provide compressed
air to start the diesel correctly.
Another attraction which is always popular is the blacksmith
shop. The two smiths turned out pot hooks, hinges, crowbars, and
various other items of iron for many appreciative patrons. We hope
to enlarge the smithy in coming years and install a line shaft to
operate the triphammer and postdrill on loan to the club.
Flywheel engines are another popular attraction at shows and
ours is no exception. From Great Falls came Bud Witte, Basil
Bellows, and Bill Miller. Each has several nicely restored units to
display. Bud also brings along his trusty guard buzzards that he
builds from old shovels, mowing machine guards, and bicycle forks.
They look quite realistic and really add to the scene.
The 1990 show will be held September 8 & 9. For further
information, contact Tom Railsback, 3208A 9th Avenue North, Great
Falls, Montana 59401, telephone 406-452-9420; or Bill Obernolte,
817 Ninth Avenue Northwest, Choteau, Montana, telephone