Restoration Of A Wheat Threshing Rig


| January/February 1983



The engine/wagon

Greensboro, NC 27406

The engine/wagon assembly was restored over a period of 1 years of part-time effort. The equipment, when obtained, had been sitting outdoors for approximately 40 years since it was discarded for more modern machinery. The wagon was badly deteriorated and the engine was rusty except for areas covered by grease and dirt. The engine was mounted on this wagon for its working life; however, this probably was not a factory arrangement.

The wagon has been identified (by one of the 'experts' who came by at an engine show) as a J. I. Nissen type which was manufactured in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This particular Nissen wagon is known as a 'Linch-Pin' type. A Linch-Pin wagon is one in which the wheels are assembled by use of pins through the axles by access of a mortised hole through the wheel hubs. These wagons were built before the type that has threaded spindles and nuts to retain the wheels. Using this as a guage, it is guessed that this particular wagon was manufactured in the late 1800's or around the turn of the century.

Another engine show 'expert' has identified this Galloway engine as a 1912 manufacture due to certain characteristics like the shape of the water hopper, the ignitor, the Lukenheimer carburetor, and a solid brass connecting rod bearing box similar to the construction used in steam engine bearing assemblies.

For these reasons it is believed the engine was mounted onto the wagon for convenience of mobility.

From 1912 until 1930-31 this engine was used in conjunction with a threshing machine to thresh grain in the Tabernacle Church Community of Guilford County in North Carolina. In those days, threshing of grain was accomplished by caravans of volunteer farmers going from farm to farm to thresh wheat, oats, and barley. The engine was owned by Mr. John Henry Fields along with the thresher. Mr. Fields had a large family of boys and all power, except for the engine, was furnished by mules and horses. My grandfather, Mr. Sam Bowman, also with a large family of boys and girls, had teams of horses to furnish for these caravans. Mr. Fields, Mr. Bowman and their boys would travel from farm to farm to accomplish the threshing. Mr. Bowman would always furnish an extra wagon to haul the 'talley'. In those days money was very scarce, so payment was made in terms of a 'talley' of the threshed product for payment.