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| January/February 1984

  • Idler Pulley

  • Idler Pulley

Route 3, Box 3722 Grayling, Michigan 49738

Went to see Charlie Vilas the other day, back in the town of Hadley, Michigan. He had some old pictures there from the home of his parents and one of them really caught my eye. It was an old sepiatoned print and not too clear, but with a magnifying glass I could make out some most interesting details. Would take half a book to get down the whole story related to this I'll just touch on the high spots.

By the way Charlie Vilas used to go with his dad, Frank Vilas, on a steam threshing rig. They threshed near our neighborhood. I remember they were the first to have a one lunger gas engine and a pump jack on their water wagon to load it. That was real progress! I've pumped a few loads of water by hand. I still have one of those old horizontal, hand powered pumps up at our mill so I can walk by once in a while and give it a kick.

I took the old picture home and went to work on it to try and get a good copy. Tried out several light sources and film and paper combinations. Just hope it will reproduce in the GEM.

Back somewhere, around 1905 to 1910, two young Hadley farmers got together in a buzz-saw business. Of course, most everyone around there burned wood for home heating and cooking. A lot of folks, my folks included, got together a good pile of poles and logs each winter. Then they called someone with a machine for a date, alerted a half-dozen neighbors, and a wood-buzzing bee was in order.

Finn Stimson and Fred Truax were the wood buzzers North of Hadley for a number of years. Really, they were farmers but farmers do branch out according to their special aptitudes. I do know that Fred owned a Huber steamer because he sold it to Dan Max field, though I'm not sure if he threshed or not. And Dan has always lived across the road from our family farm, South of Hadley. He took care of our grain for years until combines. His steamer still sits in his yard and the separator is in the barnI'd believe, ready to go. Fred spent his later years working in a garage in Lapeer. I didn't talk to either Fred or Finn about this, too long ago. And can't find all the real details I'd like just some but the picture tells much. Most buzz machines back then went from farm to farm with the aid of a team of horses. Same with Fred and Finn's for awhile ... until self-power.


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