Steam Engine Threshing Steam Engine Repairs
Noel, Missouri, 64854
As we grow older and are retired, and we now have time on our
hands to while away, it is only natural that our minds go back to
the good old days of steam threshing, which seemed more like annual
reunions or picnics, usually lasting ten days to two weeks. It was
an occasion or event when neighbors helped neighbors to make up a
crew of eighteen to twenty-two men. Usually at each new set, one or
more were dropped and others added. It was a continuous cycle until
the entire community was completed.
The work was dirty and the days were hot and long. However, when
the crews were well co-ordinated and the engine, thresher and grain
were in perfect condition, the rhythmic puffing of the engine and
the humming of the thresher was soothing music to a person's
ears. They looked forward to the mid-morning lunch that would tide
them over until the whistle blew for the bounteous noon day feast
or banquet. They ate with gusto or until they could not hold
After dinner the crew would soon settle down to a rapid steady
pace, to accomplish as much as possible, knowing that they would be
brought a mid-after-noon lunch to tide them over until the evening
whistle would signal the close of the day and the evening meal or
feast. Everyone was tired and ready to hit the hay, bunk or bed for
a good nights rest.
The threshing season was also a feast or banquet for the wives.
They had their plans made or menus prepared for each day. And their
work was from early morning until late at night. Their day was
longer than the men's, with no time during the day for rest.
They worked from fourteen to sixteen hours a day. Each one tried to
outdo the others and dug deep into their larders for good inviting
food. The women were highly praised for their accomplishments as
cooks. Some of the larger threshing rigs had cooks and cook shacks
as a part of the outfit, thereby eliminating the drudgery from the
With the advent of the many small tractors and trucks, came the
small or individual size threshers, which greatly reduced the size
of the threshing crew. In many cases the larger grain grower had
sufficient man-power for a crew and no outside help was needed.
This eliminated the feasts and banquets.
After that came the combines, and only two men for the crew. One
to operate the combine and the other to haul the grain. Operating
the combine is hard work, a lonely life and when necessary, he can
eat a sandwich and drink his coffee on the go. He stops only to oil
and grease the combine, fill the tractor or combine engine with
gas, oil and water, and unload the grain into the truck.
Driving the truck is a mental strain as he never knows how long
he must wait at the elevator to unload, or if he will be back in
time to unload the combine. In some cases it is necessary to have
two trucks to avoid delays.