The Wheat Liberty Bell


| May/June 1976


Box 253, Mound Ridge, Kansas 67107

A hundred years ago our country celebrated its centennial with an international exposition in Philadelphia. Kansas participated in this event with an agricultural exhibit which attracted the most attention. One of the exhibits was a Liberty Bell covered with grasses and broomcorn brush, 8'9' in diameter and 8'6' high. The clapper was made of several gourds totaling 6' in length.

During this bicentennial celebration the Smithsonian Institution is endeavoring to re-enact a similar scene, only on a smaller scale. How does Goessel get involved in this display? Well, in August of 1974, the Smithsonian Institution inquired whether our local historical organization would arrange to plant some Turkey Red Wheat. They asked for 45 bundles, hand tied with straw as was the method of a hundred years ago. This request was accepted and the bundles are ready for shipment. (The first Appleby binder came later, in 1876)

In March, 1975 there was a second request - would the organization construct a Liberty Bell made with wheat. The size would be left to our discretion. The challenge was accepted, realizing, however, that the project would entail an enormous amount of work. It was agreed to make the bell 6' in diameter and 6' high. The wheat for the bell was cut with the McCormick reaper. About a pickup truckload of wheat was used to make the bell.

The bell skeleton was constructed by Wesley Duerksen, a local young man, a tool designer for Hesston Corporation. He used 3/8' hydraulic fluid tubing for the vertical pieces and 1/4' tubing for the horizontal ones. This was covered with chicken wire netting. The vertical tubing (spaced 20 degrees) would not conform to the properly contoured jig, it would always spring back, consequently, all had to be bent by hand. Time consumption for this was about 50 hours.

Following is a description of procedure in the weaving process: The stalks of wheat were broken just above the top joint and the excess leaves removed. The heads were clipped and the straw soaked in warm water for 20 minutes to make it more pliable.






SUBSCRIBE TO GAS ENGINE MAGAZINE TODAY!

Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

Be sure to take advantage of the Square Deal Subscription Program.

  • No Missed Issues.

  • No Renewal Notices.

  • No Additional Cost.

The Square Deal Subscription Program is designed as a paperless transaction with automatic renewals at a preferred low rate.   With advanced electronic notification, a 100% satisfaction guarantee and an easy opt-out plan, the Square Deal Subscription Program is the best value, risk free, eco-friendliest way to subscribe.




Facebook YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265