More on grain separators

Dear editor:
In the District Living section of the Sept. 15 issue of the Times, there was a story on the threshing bee in La Vallee, where they were using a modern threshing outfit.
Actually, the proper name for a threshing machine, or as many called it, a thrashing machine, is a grain separator. Allow me to tell you of separators that were not so modern.
I was born and lived the first 52 years of my life on the south half of Lot 6, Concession 3, in the Township of Carpenter (my parents came to this lot in 1902). I do not know when the first threshing was done, but at any rate it was done with a horse-power outfit.
The source of the power was a bevelled cog wheel five-six feet in diameter. To this wheel were attached five spokes. These spokes were from 12-16 feet long and heavy in order to withstand a team of horses pulling on them.
In line with the separator, a shaft went from a small cog wheel that fitted in the large wheel. The shaft ran to the separator (I imagine there must have been a gear box to speed up enough to drive the cylinder of the machine).
I would think that a belt would have run from the gear box to the cylinder pulley.
The separator was hand fed. There was a table in front of the cylinder where two men stood there—one to cut the bands while the other fed the sheaf into the machine.
The feeder sometimes got a cut on the back of his hand when he reached for the sheaf too soon. My mother tells of a man who had his hand cut at our place. She put a bandage on it and he headed for the doctor to have it sewn up.
The coming of the steam engine, whether traction or portable, put an end to the horse power. In the “River of Time” book, there is a picture of a portable steam engine driving the separator and it looks as if it was still hand-fed.
With the steam engine, it took three men to operate the outfit—the separator man, the engineer, and the tank man, who had a team of horses to pull the water tank which was on a wagon.
Steam power, and the introduction of the self-feeder (or, as it is commonly called, the feeder), speeded up the amount of grain going through the machine. The addition of the blower replacing the straw carrier was another labour saver.
As well, the way the grain comes from the machine has changed over the years—from the days when it came out at the bottom into a bushel measure to today, where the grain is elevated several feet above the machine, where it is weighed and counted.
Then it is dumped down a pipe to the bin, or bagged to carry or haul to the granary.
From “The River of Time” (Aylsworth Agriculture):
“The grain was cradled and hand bound and threshed with a flail. Some years later, a tread mill, owned by Jim Mulhern, came by and threshed the grain.
“Then a few yeas later, the Lindquist brothers did the threshing with a 10 h.p. thresher until Fred Anness purchased a steam thresher and did all the threshing for Lash, Aylsworth, and Big Fork.”
I hope that you and your readers will find the above interesting, and thanks for printing it.
Maurice MacMillan
Emo, Ont.