I Never Saw One Of Those Before!

By Staff
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R #1, Box 165 Washington, Iowa 52353

As long as I can remember, my dad kept saying someone ought to
fix up that 1927 Gleaner combine that he had taken off a Fordson
tractor and parked in the maple grove in 1938 or ’39. About
five years ago, when I showed some interest in restoring the
combine, he did drag some parts to his place, from the farm where
it sat. But even at age 75 he was too busy to work on the project

Over the years he had stripped much of the angle and flat irons
to use on other projects, so many parts were missing. Southeastern
Iowa weather had even rusted away part of the cylinder bars. I
asked for help from anyone I met at swap meets and finally got some
leads at the Waukee, Iowa Swap Meet and at the Old Threshers at Mt.
Pleasant, Iowa. In the fall of 1985, on the way from the Chickasha,
Oklahoma Auto Parts Swap Meet, I checked out some of my leads in
Kansas and Nebraska. One fellow had parts from three different
years of Gleaners, but not enough for one combine. At Oak, Nebraska
I bought a 1927 parts machine.

The winter of ’85-’86 I worked over my 1922 Fordson
tractor. Someone who had been there before me, years ago, had
overhauled and re-worked it and then worn it out again. My boys had
taken it apart 15 years ago and then left it in a pile in the
corner of the shop. First I sent out the block to get the main
bearings and rods babbitted. I went all through the tractor from
one end to the other. The only bolts I did not have out were the
ones that held the radiator together. Finally it was cleaned up and

In September 1986 I drove to Nebraska and brought the combine
home. Bill Overturff had a good boom on his tractor. We got the
separator unit and the header inside a 6×16′ covered livestock
trailer, got the door shut and put the bin in the pickup bed. When
I got home I was discouraged with what I had. I called another good
lead in Kansas that I had had for six months and was told he had
sold a Gleaner combine and tractor just two weeks earlier. Now the
machine I had began to look better than the rusted out ones my dad
had, and besides, he was convinced he would restore his, himself,
someday so I decided to fix what I had. Someone had cut and
reworked the mounts and made the Gleaner to fit a GP John Deere so
I had to re-do them. My dad let me copy some parts he had that I
was missing. Almost all the wood in the machine had to be replaced.
A fellow Fordson collector sent me Xerox copies of the owner’s
manual and parts list, showing how to mount the machine. I had
taken some photos of a mounted machine the same as mine which was a
great help in putting it together. My daughter’s father-in-law,
in Kansas, had a 1942 pull type Gleaner, and from him I got a
chaffer to rebuild, a reel, guards and other parts. I even got some
new parts from Gleaner dealers, like sprockets and clips that were
still the same as early 50’s self-propelled models with
raddles. The owner of the local welding shop where I have my lathe
work done gives hobby work a low priority, so I reminded him that
December was the slow time for farm repairs.

The winter of ’86-’87 was a mild one in southeast Iowa
so I was able to work on the Gleaner while keeping up my hog
farrowing operation. I had it pretty well together by late January
and early February. I put all the chains on it, got it all to turn
over and then ran it with the Fordson. Since the tin work still had
the original galvanized metal, it did not need to be painted but I
spent more time than I would like to admit, painting on the
mounting and angle irons with a 3/4′ paint brush. I finally cut
a stencil and put the Gleaner logo in the appropriate places.

After that, anyone who came around who was interested in old
machinery got the grand tour. On Labor Day weekend of 1987, I took
it to the Old Threshers Steam Show at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa and had a
good time showing it.

Here are some of the specifications I found on the Gleaner
Harvester thresher:

Years made; 1925, 1926 (640 made), 1927 (500 made), 1928.

Mounts only Fordson tractors. In 1922 a Fordson cost $395. From
1918-1927 50% of tractors made in USA were Fordsons.

Fordson weight-2700 lb. Approximately 20 HP.

Gleaner weight-2600 lb. (Shipping weight). Cost, approximately

Cylinder rasp 18′ wide, 1200 RPM.

Width of cut 8’3′. Separator width 24′, length
13′, bin capacity 30 bushels. Most of the bearings were ball or

No canvas, no gears, no universal joints, no auxiliary motor.
Under normal conditions and average yields, one man can harvest an
acre of grain in less than thirty minutes.

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