| November/December 1969

16-30 Hp. Oil Pull

Courtesy of Peter Bitzan, 521 5th Ave. East, Alexandria, Minnesota 56308

Peter Bitzan

521 5th Ave., Exist Alexandria, Minn. 56308

As a subscriber to Gas Engine Magazine and also the Iron-Men Album for some years, I will say-they are very interesting magazines. Even if I am 73 years old and retired, I still like to read what other gas engine and tractor and steam engine men are interested in. I worked around threshing machines just about all my life.

My father bought his first threshing machine in 1887, a J.I. Case 32 x 52, hand-feed and run by horse power, with twelve horses. When I was about nine years old, my father put a box on the foot platform for me to stand on so I could reach up to the feed table to cut the bands on the bundles for him to feed the machine. As I remember, this was a very dusty job. Then in 1908, I started pitching bundles into my Uncles Minneapolis steam rig. In 1912 I hauled water and in 1913, I was fireman on the Minneapolis steamer and in my spare time, I built my homemade tractor. In 1914, I went out threshing with my own rig, a 20 Hp. Witte engine on 16 Hp., old steam engine wheels and 26 x 46 Case machine. Also, in 1914 my father bought a 6 roll Appleton Corn Shredder and a 9 x 30 in. Roller Feed Mill which I ran with the homemade tractor for eight years.

In 1922, we bought a 16 x 30 Oil Pull tractor which was for custom threshing until 1967. So, you can see I have to go to the Threshermans shows at Rollag and Dalton, Minnesota to smell the smoke and dust every year-otherwise, I don't feel too good.

As my hobby is gas engines, I must tell you I sold gas engines for the Witte Engine Works for Kansas City, Missouri getting 10% on all orders I sent in. When my neighbors and friends had old engines to trade in, I took the old engines as my commission and rebuilt them and sold some, but in 1930 when the REA electric line built in, the engine business was out.

I had about thirty used engines in my sheds until 1960 they started selling good. I've saved about half a dozen to take to Dalton, Minnesota to out Threshermen's Reunion Show.