MY UNCLES

THERMOIL THOUGHTS


| September/October 1976



enough to work close to the machine

Route 1, Box 39, Frederic, Wisconsin 54837

Arvid and Gunard Friberg were my favorite uncles. They were brothers that were interested in threshing and subscribed to 'The American Thresherman.' Occasion ally the relatives gathered at my mother's home place where her brothers lived. On those Sunday gatherings a cousin of mine, Bernard Carlson and I would rummage the piles of papers in the woodshed, in pursuit of American Thresherman magazines and threshing literature.

About the year 1915, Arvid and Gunard had somehow obtained an old return flue steam engine, which they belted to their homemade 'pea and bean thresher.' (See Photo #1.) During the World War I years many farmers raised a patch of navy beans which were stacked on bean poles and later threshed. During the winter months our family would spend occasional evenings around the table hand picking over the beans which in turn were traded at the local West Sweden store for groceries at about . 10 P a pound. Photo #2 is a close up of the first bean thresher they made after its trial run. Gunard is on the left holding an oil can, and Arvid holding a concave. Note the machine was mounted on sleds at that time.

 But steam was just a trial run, too. By 1916 they bought a 25 HP Anderson tractor with a single rear drive wheel. This was used to do custom bean threshing and in 1917 they purchased a 28' Case hand-feed thresher with slat stacker and did custom grain threshing, which in time got to be a big run. Photo #3 is Gunard plowing with the Anderson when new.

This tractor, however, had a tendency to tip when moving over roads and shortcuts of those days. The following year they somewhere obtained a rear wheel to match and made the tractor shown in Photo #4. This picture was taken on the move, going by the West-Sweden store. The proprietor, Carl W. Peterson, can be seen behind the hood of the tractor. This building has been gone since 1960, and only a stump remains of the big oak behind the thresher. Here Arvid is driving, with Gunard to his right. Riding on the thresher is Evald Olson who was one of the spike pitchers at that time. You will note by this time they had installed a self feeder and blower.

Number 5 photo is a view of the rig at work on the 'the old Biederman place.' At that place and for many years later the grain was most often carried to the granary and often upstairs. I recall when I too was drafted for that job with half a dozen grown men. Carrying the grain with plenty 'trade help' was done for the simple reason very few farmers had a team of horses that were cool enough to work close to the machine. Likewise very little shock threshing was done. My dad was a good grain stacker and to set up six or eight grain stacks was just routine, and the thinking was you always got better grain after it had 'sweat' in the stack, so there was no hurry to thresh. Yes, threshing made men out of boys in a hurry. My oldest brother was only 17 the first year he went with my uncle's rig as a spike pitcher. It wasn't until after I got married that I went with the rig for four consecutive years...1936-40. This improvised tractor was used thru 1916 and later sold to Henry Peterson who used it for running a sawmill. If my memory serves me correctly they had replaced the Anderson tractor motor with a 40 HP Waukasha perhaps about 1920.