4063 Hwy. C Gerald, Missouri 63037
Farm machines of yesteryear
And the niche they carved in America,
Displayed and demonstrated
By the men who so dearly love them,
From elephantine, stalwart, sibilant,
Almost-alive steam engines
To the generations of farm tractors
And down to the tiny
Wash machine gasoline engine,
Children and many middle-age people of today have never seen farm life as many of us who are 65 and over have experienced. Back then, the tractor was just starting to obtain a decent toehold in replacing the faithful horse and mule. Some may argue that the replacement effort was never one hundred percent satisfied. There are jobs on small farms and forests where the horse or mule still excel especially in the hearts of those who have an incurable love affair with their animals.
As mentioned above, a smoulderingfired steam traction engine almost seems to be alive; its wispily smoking stack and 'breathing' of steam are there, even when the pulley and wheels are at rest. I believe that this is why they too, as the animals, are so lovingly respected and nursed by their owners and admired by, nearly all of us. You can't ignore them; they need tender, loving care.
The early internal combustion tractors made life easier on the farm, due to their maneuverability and almost instant starting capability at least, some of the time. The tractors we oldsters saw as kids were a far cry from those of today. In a chronological line-up as displayed at the Owensville Threshers Association 1994 show at nearby Rosebud, Missouri, held July 15-17, 1994, we see not just a collection of venerable machines, but, in reality, mechanical pages of a rural American history book. A chat with their owners or knowledgeable enthusiasts fills those pages with a grand historical text, progressing through the decades of yesteryear. Shows such as this enable oldsters, experts and parents to blend these mechanical pages into the store of knowledge and appreciation already developing in the minds of thoughtful middle-agers and youngsters. While the youngsters are gleefully watching and listening to those fascinating 'hit and miss' gas engines' unhurried 'putt. . . ch-ch-ch ... putt,' an oldster comes up to the pavilion -and begins to reminisce about the days of his youth when, instead of merely being an idling curiosity, those great old engines were the main source of reliable, economical power for sawing wood, grinding teed, baling hay and for other jobs that now are being done by tractors and/or electric motors. Right there, you have another page for that mechanical history book; the same could be said for those who curiously watch and those who reminiscently explain the action of wheat threshing, lumber sawing and competitive tractor pulls. This friendly interaction has a two-fold benefit; it provides knowledge to inquisitive youngsters and middle-agers, while giving oldsters an outlet to relate memories of yesteryear. Yes, shows like the 32 nd anniversary of Owensville Threshers Association truly provide great opportunity for a blending of the ages.
For an account of the history and objectives of the Association, see the accompanying message by its President, Jesse Smith of Leslie, Missouri. Thank you. God Bless.