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Threshing Days Remembered

| September/October 1995

  • Allis Chalmers and Belle City threshing machine
    Bob Caton and his son Matt, with their Allis Chalmers Model U and Belle City threshing machine, bought by Bob's father and uncle 60 years ago!

  • Allis Chalmers and Belle City threshing machine

The following article, written by Connie Glessner, RD 3, Box 346A, Berlin, Pennsylvania 15530, is reprinted from the Autumn 1994 issue of MEMOS, a newsletter published by the Berlin Historical Society of Berlin, Pennsylvania.

With fields of neatly stacked grain shocks flapping in the autumn breeze, memories of threshing days on the farm bring back visions of hard work, hearty meals and a time to socialize before the snows of winter left many families in quiet solitude.

It was a noisy affair, the threshing machine itself clad in sides of tin that rattled as it was hauled in over dirt roads leading to the barn, and then belched dust as the massive belts shook its conveyors.

The actual labor of threshing usually didn't start until midmorning when the dew had dried, but after it began, only the last sheaf of grain, dusk or the dinner bell signaled it to stop.

It was a break in the daily routine on the farm as a gathering of men were kept busy hauling shocks in from the fields, feeding the machine and carrying away the grain and straw.

For Bob Caton, growing up in a threshing family has provided him with some fond memories and a wealth of knowledge about early rural life that he hopes to pass on to his son, Matt. They are fortunate to own the equipment used by Caton's father, Harry, and uncle, Gene Caton, who were in partnership with a custom threshing business between 1934 and 1960. During those years Bob estimates they threshed over a million bushels of grain, working steadily each fall, September through November.


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