464 S. Fifth Street, Sebewaing, Michigan 48759
I was seven years old the first time my Dad took me along
threshing. He had two threshing rigs on the road at this time: a 19
HP Port Huron, and an 18 HP Aultman-Taylor, steam engine; two grain
separators, one 32 inch Aultman-Taylor and a 30 inch Farquhar; two
Bidwell bean machines both 36 inch; one #9 Birdsell clover huller;
and an Ann Arbor hay baler.
Most of the threshing at this time was barn threshing. The
farmer would haul the grain and navy beans into the barn and then
would thresh it. A few years later they started threshing right
from the fields. This was a good thing for the farmer but, not so
good for the thresher. Everybody wanted to thresh the same day.
The 30 inch Farquhar was a hard running machine and in tough
wheat it would really make the old 19HP Port Huron work hard. I can
still see the lantern, that Dad had hanging under the front smoke
box, swaying back and forth. He used it for moving at night.
Dad did some trading in the past three years. He now has a new
25×45 Crossmotor Case tractor, and a new 28×50 Crossmotor Hart
Parr, a used 25×50 Aultman-Taylor tractor and a used 16×30 Hart
He sold the 19HP Port Huron steam engine but he still ran the
18HP Aultman-Taylor steam engine for a few more years. We also used
it in the sawmill.
The boiler was getting bad on the Aultman-Taylor, and was welded
several times. We steamed it up to move a house the last time it
was run and my brother, Floyd, had just filled the firebox with
slab wood. You had to stop the engine on the road to fire it up,
and he got back up on the engine platform and started the engine to
move down the road. At that moment the firedoor flew open and all
the fire and steam blew out right where he was standing a few
seconds before. Some of the stay bolts let go in the firebox. That
was the cause of the blowout. The good Lord was with Floyd that
day! The engine was junked after that.
When I think of the Aultman-Taylor grain separator, I can still
see that decal on the side of the machine, a starved skinny
rooster. The decal read: ‘This rooster fattened on an
Aultman-Taylor straw stack.’
It was a very good machine, having a roto-rack straw-rack in it.
I feel this type of rack was one of the best. One of the poorest
was the rocker type straw rack. The Farquhar grain separator, and
the Greyhound grain separators that we had were both rocker type
straw racks and we had much more repair to do on them.
The time is 1934 now, and threshing has been good. This season
we had five grain rigs on the run. They are as follows: 40x62HP
Huber tractor, 28×50 Hart Parr tractor, 18×36 Hart Parr tractor,
20×40 Rumely Oilpull, 25×45 Case tractor, and a Model L Case
tractor. This Model L was owned by my uncle. He and Dad shared a
50-50 arrangement. My uncle owned the tractor and my dad owned the
grain separator. The grain machines were as follows: 32 inch Red
River Special, 33 inch Port Huron Rusher, 28 inch Port Huron
Rusher, 28 inch Advance Rumely Ideal, and a 32 inch
The year now is 1939 and the threshing runs are getting shorter
and shorter. There are more threshing rigs in the area now and the
combines are starting to take over.
We are now down to three threshing rigs. They are as follows: H.
K. Huber, 28×50 Hart Parr, 18×36 Hart Parr, 28×44 Oliver Hart Parr,
and a McCormick Deering W-30, 30 inch Red River Special, 28 inch
Greyhound, 28 inch Advance Rumely Ideal, 33 inch Port Huron, #9
Birdsell clover huller, eight-row Rosenthal corn husker, and an Ann
The old Hart Parrs turned out to be the work horses. They just
seem to run and run.
The most popular combine that came in our area between 1940 and
1950 was the little orange Allis Chalmers. What a great little
thresher it was. The last grain threshing Dad did was in 1954, for
a few neighbors.
There was one thing Dad would always say to us when we had a
long move to make with the machine: ‘Let her hike along!’
These engines are located at the Sebewaing Municipal Light and
Water Plant, where I worked as a diesel electric operator for
twenty years, after getting out of the Army.