The Rosenthau Corn Husker Company (Part II)

    The Rosenthal Corn Husker Company of

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Part II)

                                                                        by

Brian Wayne Wells

                                                             with the assistance of

Jim McFarlane of Waunakee, Wisconsin

Lyle Sundry of Byron, Minnesota

Gary Jones of Owatonna, Minnesota

Jim Esbenshade of Colbert, Oklahoma

and

John McNamara of Eagle Rock Missouri

As published in the July/August 2001 issue of

 Belt Pulley Magazine

            The Rosenthal Corn Husker Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was a pioneer in the corn husker/shredder market.  As the reader may recall, August Rosenthal had developed the idea of a corn husker/shredder on his parents’ farm in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, and had built the first successful prototype there.  In 1889, August, with the help of three of his brothers–William H, Gustav H., and Carl F.–patented the corn husker and incorporated the Rosenthal Corn Husking Machine Company to mass produce and sell their corn husker/shredder.  (See Part I of the “Rosenthal Corn Husker Company,” May/June 2001 issue of Belt Pulley magazine.)

Within the management of the new company, August served as Superintending Engineer and General Manager, William H. served as Manufacturing Superintendent, Gustav H. served as Corporate Secretary and Sales Manager, and Carl served as General Mechanician.  In addition, the Corporation hired on an attorney, James F. Trottman, who served as General Counsel. With the end of the First World War, the corn husking market was in a state of change.

Corn husker/shredders were dangerous machines and production of these machines could be fraught with liability.  For this reason, many producers of corn husker/shredders fell by the wayside and others merely withdrew from production.  J.I. Case withdrew from production of corn husker-shredders in 1920.  (C.H. Wendel, 150 Years of J.I. Case [Crestline Publishers: Sarasota, Fla., 1991], p. 125.)  Likewise, Advance-Rumley ceased production of its corn husker/shredders in 1928.  (C.H. Wendel, The Allis Chalmers Story [Crestline Publishing: Sarasota, Fla., 1988], p. 43.)

Despite the fact that some competitors left the corn husker/shredder market, some serious competitors of the Rosenthal corn husker/shredder continued to spring up.  One of the most significant competitors was the New Idea Company which introduced its own six-roll model corn husker/shredder in 1927.  (C.H. Wendel, American Farm Implements and Antiques, [Krause Publications: Iola, Wisc., 1997], p. 55.)  In 1935, New Idea introduced a four-roll husker/shredder.  (See the article called the “New Idea Spreader Company of Coldwater, Ohio” in the September/October 1998 issue of Belt Pulley, Vol. 11, No. 5, p. 37.)  Soon New Idea had its own line of husker/shredders, including a two-roll model, a four-roll model and a six-roll model.  When all these events settled out, there were three “big names” left in the corn husker/shredder market, e.g., International Harvester, New Idea and Rosenthal.

Following the successful introduction of the Big 4 four-roll corn husker/shredder in 1903, the Rosenthal Company completely redesigned its two-roll Big Cyclone model corn husker/shredder and called it the No. 1.  The No. 1 was a 1,685 pound machine which the Rosenthal Company alleged could be adequately powered with a 6 to 8 horsepower gasoline engine.  The No. 1 was the smallest corn husker in the Rosenthal line and, although it was clearly designed for single farm usage, it would now have a wheeled carriage for easy transport.  After having lost much market share to competitors because of its adherence to the outdated concept of single farm usage, the company now knew that the corn husker was more akin to the grain thresher that would be used on many different farms throughout a “season” rather than being used on a single farm intermittently throughout the entire winter.  Thus, all corn huskers/shredders in the entire Rosenthal line would now be mounted on wheel carriages for easy transport. Next larger in size to the No. 1 in the Rosenthal line of corn husker/shredders was the Special 4 model.  At 2,400 pounds, the Special 4 had four snapping/husking rollers with 24″ of snapping capacity on the upper portion of the rollers.  It boasted a capacity of 30 to 50 bushels per hour and needed only a 10 to 15 horsepower gasoline engine for adequate power.  The next larger model was the 3,800 pound Medium 4 corn husker/shredder which featured four rollers, each of which was 5’6″ in overall length.  It allowed for 30″ of husking capacity on the lower portion of the rollers for more complete husking of the ears, and advertised a capacity of 400 to 600 bushels per day.

A Rosenthal Special 4 corn husker with a wood frame.  Since 1903, the four-roll Rosenthal had been the leading seller of all the Rosenthal line of farm machinery. Indeed, the four-roll corn husker was the unlike the earlier Rosenthal “Cyclone” corn husker, the Big 4 was manufactured with wheels. Sales of the new Big 4 were so strong that, the Big 4 was making the Rosenthal Company and the Rosenthal brothers very wealthy.

 

As mentioned in the first article in this series, introduction of the completely redesigned 5,800 pound Big 4 model corn husker/shredder was the salvation of the company.  The Big 4 had been introduced in 1903 and, after that time, the company’s prospects had considerably improved.  The Big 4 had a capacity to handle 600 to 1000 bushels of corn per day and required only a 14 to 18 horsepower steam engine for adequate power.

 

The Rosenthal Company rounded out the corn husker line with the production of the Big 8 model.  With eight snapping/husking rollers, the 6,000 pound Big 8 required a 16 to 20 horsepower steam engine for adequate power.  In fact, the Rosenthal Company bragged that the Big 8 could not be clogged when properly powered.  There was no need for spacing out of bundles when feeding the Big 8 because the machine could handle two bundles at once.  Rosenthal advertised the capacity of the Big 8 as being 700 to 1500 bushels per day.  Now the farmer could select the exact Rosenthal corn husker/shredder that was right for his farming operation.

Feeding corn bundles into a Rosenthal Model 80 corn husker.

 

Around the time of the First World War, the Rosenthal Corn Husking Machine Company changed its name to simply the Rosenthal Corn Husker Company.  Although the company still had its primary emphasis on the manufacture of corn husker/shredders, company sales literature just after World War I reveals that the company had also expanded into the production of silo fillers.  Whereas names of the corn husker/shredders, e.g., the Special 4 and Medium 4, were identifiably four-roller corn huskers and the Big 8 was identifiably an eight-roller corn husker/shredder, the reason for the model numbers of the silo fillers is less apparent.  The model numbers appear to be unrelated to the size of the “throat” of the silo fillers.  The throat was the opening in the cast-iron blower casing which determined the capacity of green corn that could be handled by the machine.

Advertising literature from the early 1920s reflects that the Big 13 had a throat size of 8″ x 12″, the Big 16 had a throat size of 8″ x 14″ while the Big 21 had a throat size of 8″ x 19″.  (Regular readers of the Belt Pulley magazine will remember that since 1901, the PAPEC Company had been manufacturing silo fillers.  By the late 1920s, PAPEC was offering a line of four different models of silo fillers.  [See Part I of the series of articles on PAPEC called “The PAPEC Company of Shortsville, New York” in the November/December 1995 issue of Belt Pulley magazine, Vol. 8, No. 6, p. 15.]  More locally, the Algoma Foundry and Machine Company of Algoma, Wisconsin, had, in 1920, just begun production of its OK line of silo fillers.  [See the March/April 1995 issue of  Belt Pulley,Vol 8, No. 2., p. 18.])             Rosenthal silo fillers were unique on a couple of different scores.

First, the silo fillers were “two-stage” silo fillers.  The knives of the silo fillers were not mounted on the blower, as with conventional designs; instead, the four knives of the Rosenthal silo fillers were mounted on their own cutter head and mounted on the main drive shaft of the silo fillers.  Secondly, Rosenthal silo fillers were distinguished from conventional silo fillers by the fact that the drive shaft was mounted across the rear, perpendicular to the feeding apron of the machine.  Because the blower of the machine was also mounted on this same main drive shaft, the blower was then parallel to the feeder table mounted on the left side of the machine as a person looked down the feeder table of the machine toward the throat.

The blower was, of course, turned 90 degrees from the conventional design of silo fillers.  In case the blower was not of sufficient weight to provide for the smooth, steady operation of the silo filler, the Rosenthal Company mounted a flywheel on the right side of machine.  The flywheel was mounted directly on the main drive shaft of the silo filler together with the blower itself.  On either end of the main shaft was mounted a pulley.  On the left side, there was a 12″ drive pulley and on right side, attached to the flywheel, was a 10″ drive pulley.  This allowed for the silo filler to be powered by belt from either side of the machine.

An advertising sign which advertises the entire line of Rosenthal farm machines including the silo fillers.

 

However, the tractor powering the silo filler would have to be parked at 90 degrees from what would be expected in a conventionally designed silo filler.  This meant that bundle wagons loaded with shocks of corn could not be parked across the end of the feeder perpendicular to the feeder apron; rather, they had to be parked parallel to the feeder so that the corn bundles could be placed on the feeder apron from the side, just as the grain bundles are placed on the feeder of a thresher.  Also, just as with a small grain thresher/separator, bundles could be fed from both sides of the machine.  (However, placing the bundles on the feeder from one side would have to be done over the drive belt powering the machine.) With its production of a 12″, a 14″, and a 19″, model silo filler, the Rosenthal Company was clearly aiming at the high capacity end of the silo filler market.

Rosenthal had learned their lesson from their mistaken adherence to the ideal of every farmer having a stationary corn husker/shredder.  (See “The Rosenthal Corn Husker Company: Part I” in the May/June 2001 issue of Belt Pulley [Vol. 14, No. 3].)  They were not now going to get caught on the horns of the assumption that every farmer would have a silo filler.  Instead, they were operating on the assumption that the silo fillers would be used in “rings” like threshers and corn huskers and, thus, high capacity would be the feature that would be in demand.  In fact, the Rosenthal Company bragged in its advertising material that the Big 21 model silo filler could cut and deliver between “15 and 30 tons of silage” in a single hour.

As has been pointed out, this would take quite a large crew to keep the silo filler working at this pace on a consistent basis.  (C.H. Wendel, The Encyclopedia of American Farm Implements and Antiques [Krause Publications: Iola, Wisconsin, 1997], p. 123.) One owner of a Rosenthal Big 21 that probably would have had a very good chance of matching this pace was the experimental farm operated by Purdue University at LaFayette, Indiana.  The experimental farm would surely not lack the manpower and certainly would be keeping records of every detail of the harvest, including the time required for putting up a ton of silage.  (Rosenthal’s advertising literature from the early 1920s features a picture of the Big 21 silo filler, powered by a Minneapolis 20 hp. steam engine, working on the experimental farm at Purdue University.  The silo filler was probably being fed from both sides of the feeder, although for purposes of the picture, the wagon from one side is temporarily absent to allow a clear view of the silo filler.)

The Rosenthal Model Steel 40 corn husker the improved corn husker which once again put the Rosenthal Company back in a financially stable position.

 

After eight years, sales of the Rosenthal silo filler proved to be disappointing, and production of all models was abruptly halted in 1926.  Falling back to their corn husker/shredders–their most reliable sales product–the Rosenthal Company sought to augment sales by making improvements to its line of corn husker/shredders.  As the 1920s began, production of the Big 4 corn husker/shredder was suspended pending a redesign of this venerable old machine.  Temporarily, the Medium 4 and Special 4 corn huskers/shredders filled the gap in the line of four-roll machines offered by the Rosenthal Company.  Then, in 1923, the Rosenthal Company re-introduced the Big 4 as the new Steel 4, which was the first Rosenthal all-steel corn husker/shredder.  The Steel 4 had a steel frame and galvanized steel sides, rather than wooden sides.  All of the steel gears on the Steel 4 were placed in a gear box where they operated under a constant bath of oil.  Internally, however, the Steel 4 remained basically a Big 4 model.  Nonetheless, the new all-steel construction of the Steel 4 reduced the overall weight of the machine to 3,260 pounds as compared to 5,800 pounds for the wooden construction of the earlier Big 4.

Along with the new Steel 4 corn husker/shredder, Rosentahl continued to offer the other models of corn husker/shredders in their original wooden construction throughout the 1920s. As the 1920s progressed, other improvements were made by the Rosenthal Company to its line of corn husker/shredders.  One of the most significant was the “Neverslip Pulley.”  Manufacturers and owner/operators of belt powered machines have long labored over the problem of pulleys becoming worn and belts stretching, then slipping, on the pulleys and causing loss of efficiency.  Cast iron pulleys were particularly susceptible to slippage because of the smooth surface of the “face” of the pulley.  The more slippage, the more shiny the face of the iron pulley became, causing even more slippage.

 

 

At least one company sprang up exclusively to produce a pulley that would “grip when others slip.”  This was the Rockwood Paper Pulley Company of Indianapolis, Indiana.  (See the article “Rockwood Pulleys” in the March/April 1997 issue of Belt Pulley, Vol. 10, No. 2., p. 14.)  The idea behind the Rockwood Pulley was to provide a rough surface on the face of the pulley which was less likely to slip.  Consequently, a Rockwood “paper pulley” was made out of a liquid slurry composed of straw, which was then dried under terrific pressure, which made fiber boards, or “paper.”

These fiber boards were then cut into circles and glued together to form a pulley that was rough and would not slip as often as a cast iron pulley.  Over time, however, even the paper pulley would “glaze over” and slippage would again occur.  The Rosenthals realized what was truly happening with a flat belt on a pulley at high speeds was that air was being trapped under the flat belt as it passed over the pulley.  Since the air could not escape fast enough, the belt was riding on a cushion of air for part of its trip over the pulley.  Thus, no matter how tight the belt was drawn, the area of the belt actually in contact with the face of the pulley would be reduced and this would increase the amount of slippage.  Rosenthal Company engineers determined that if the trapped air between the belt and the face of the pulley could be removed, slippage would be reduced.

Consequently, they set about designing a cast iron pulley with a combination of cross and spiral grooves.  The trapped air under the belt could then make its way out, and more belt surface would be utilized as the belt passed over the pulley.  The new cast iron pulley design was a success.  Thus, the Rosenthal Company began immediately to manufacture the “Neverslip” pulley and installed them on all their own corn husker/shredders.  Later, the Rosenthal Company marketed the “Neverslip” pulley to other businesses for installation on other farm machinery.

Feeding a restored Rosenthal Model Steel corn husker at a recent show.

 

In the late 1920s, the Rosenthal Company introduced its new all-steel version of the Big 8 husker/shredder.  Just as with the Steel 4, the all-steel construction of the Big 8 was accompanied by enclosed gearing on the machine.  There were so many other improvements made to the new eight-roll all-steel corn husker that the Rosenthal Company thought a new name would be appropriate for the machine.  Consequently, the Model Steel 80 corn husker/shredder was born.  At the same time, the Steel 4 was renamed the Steel 40.

Improvements continued to the Steel 40 and the Steel 80 into the 1930s.  Timpkin roller bearings were added to both models in 1931; Alemite grease gun zerk fittings for cleaner lubrication were added in 1934. The Rosenthal Company had just introduced the new all-steel version of the model Steel 80 corn husker/shredder when the Great Depression upset the United States economy in 1929.

As with so many other companies, the Depression drastically curtailed sales for the Rosenthal Corn Husker Company.  For years following the onset of the depression, sales of corn huskers/shredders virtually dried up, forcing the company to re-evaluate its line of five different models of corn husker/shredders.  Thus, as the company economized, it limited its line of corn husker/shredders to only two models–the four-roll Steel 40 and the eight-roll Steel 80.

By 1934, sales of corn husker/shredders began to pick up, as farmers had more economic resources available.  Once again, they began to respond to the magic of the name “Rosenthal” just as they had in the 1920s prior to the economic depression. Indeed, the entire Rosenthal sales network appears to have relied heavily on “word of mouth” advertising and the good impression that customers had of the quality of machines bearing the Rosenthal name.

A Rosenthal sign survives bearing the name of Syverson Implement dealership, the Minneapolis-Moline and New Idea dealer in Wanamingo, Minnesota (1930 pop. 471).  Some literature also survives from Mielke Manufacturing and Sales Company in New Hampton, Iowa (pop. 3,940).  A picture in a 1917 piece of literature alludes to the fact that the Good Bros. dealership of Fostoria, Ohio (pop. 14,351), was a dealer for the Rosenthal Company.  A letter was printed in 1925 from the H.J. Blenker Farm Machinery dealership of Albany, Minnesota (1920 pop. 824), attesting to the dealership relationship Blenker’s had with the Rosenthal Company.  Also, a dealership tag from Stelter Implement of Echo, Minnesota (1930 pop. 403), appears on the Model 40 (Serial No. 6670) corn husker/shredder which is located on the LeSueur County Pioneer Power grounds.  (Serial No. 6670 will be one of the subjects of Part III of this series.)  Thus, we know that some short-line dealerships may have advertised the Rosenthal equipment in the same way they advertised the other brands of equipment they sold.

However, the scarcity of surviving Rosenthal literature and the inability of people at the present time to remember what dealerships in their communities were selling Rosenthal equipment (even as recently as the late 1950s) leads a person to believe that such local advertising of Rosenthal was not very common.  The associations of local dealerships with the Rosenthal name were not nearly as strong in the public’s mind as were other short line companies, like New Holland, New Idea, or even Minnesota farm equipment.  The difference was the degree of advertising.  The impression one gets is that short line dealers were visited by Rosenthal sales personnel and given only price lists, parts catalogues, and ordering forms, but given precious little in the way of advertising literature and signs.

One has the impression that the local short line dealer was informed that all the dealer had to do was contact the company directly when he made a sale and the equipment would be sent to his dealership on the next train from Milwaukee.  As disjointed as this seems, the system appears of have worked.

In 1936, as the nation and the Rosenthal Company was emerging from the Great Depression, there was a generational change in the family’s management of the Rosenthal Company, as the brothers retired and their sons took over.  Henry Rosenthal, the son of August, took over as President of the Company; Lawrence Rosenthal, Gustav’s son, became secretary; and Paul Rosenthal, William’s son, became plant manager.

As sales of Rosenthal corn husker/shredders began to pick up again in 1934, the company found that the Steel 40 remained the most popular seller.  Still, many farmers opted for the Model 80.  Thus, in the mid-1930s, two particular all steel Model 80 corn huskers rolled off the assembly line in the Rosenthal factory at 8229 West Greenfield Avenue in West Allis, Wisconsin.

A Rosenthal Model Steel 80 at work husking corn.

 

The two individual Steel 80s were separated from each other in the production by only about 1,153 serial numbers, and therefore did not ride the same train away from the factory.  Indeed, the first Steel 80 (Serial No. 14493) may have rolled out of the factory onto the waiting railroad car in 1937; while the second Steel 80 (Serial No. 15646) may have followed on the same path in 1938.  Nonetheless, they both were delivered to the same dealership in Spring Valley, Minnesota (1930 pop. 1,712), in Filmore County.

 

 

While it is uncertain today exactly which dealership took delivery of Serial No. 14493 in 1937 and Serial No. 15646 a year later in 1938, it could have been the Biel Implement dealership located in a small building in the center of Spring Valley.  Biel Implement served the Spring Valley area as the dealer for Oliver and New Idea farm equipment.  The building and lot from which Biel operated were so small that very little, if any, inventory was ever held by the dealership at any one time.  Most sales were made first and then the equipment was ordered from the manufacturer.

Feeding bundles of corn into a Rosenthal Model Steel 80 corn husker.

 

Thus, pursuant to a sale that had already been made, a new Steel 80 eight-roll corn husker was delivered to a farm family living near St. Charles, Minnesota (1930 pop. 1,311).  However, when delivered, the found he had no tractor or power source which could adequately power the Steel 80.  Consequently, he sold the corn husker/shredder later that same year to Clifton Kamentz of Chatfield, Minnesota (1930 pop. 1,269), who had just started taking over operation of his parents’ farm. Clifton’s parents, August and Ella (Burnap) Kamnetz, owned and operated a 360-acre farm on the banks of the West Branch of the Root River.

Predominately, August and Ella Kamnetz  raised beef cattle, with some diversification into pigs, chickens, and dairying.  August and Ella had seven children.  One daughter, Ethel, married Russell Ober and together they settled in the neighborhood on a farm of their own.  August and Ella’s son, Clifton, became involved in the farming operations with his father.  In 1933, Clifton married Marian Ellis.  Sadly, she died very soon after the marriage.  In 1947, he would meet and marry Rosella Tienter.  As time went by, Clifton assumed more of a decision making role with regard to the farm.

Located in the southeastern Minnesota hardwood forests, the large farm also had its own sawmill.  To power the sawmill, August and Ella obtained an Allis-Chalmers Model E 25-40 tractor.  This was one of the pre-1929 Model E’s and was still painted green, rather than the “Persian orange” which Allis-Chalmers introduced for its entire line of farm equipment in 1929.  (C.H. Wendel, The Allis Chalmers Story [Crestline Publishing: Sarasota, Fla., 1988] p. 299.)  Intended primarily as a stationary power source, the tractor had more than sufficient enough horsepower for all belt work on the Kamnetz farm.  When the 7,095 pound 25-40 was tested at the University of Nebraska on gasoline in June of 1928, it was found to have 44.29 horsepower.  (C.H. Wendel, Nebraska Tractor Tests [Motorbooks International Pub.: Oseola, Wisc., 1993] p. 62.)

 

For harvesting ripe corn, the Kamnetz farm relied on a McCormick-Deering 4-roll corn husker/shredder.  By use of the husker/shredder, the Kamnetz family was able to reap the additional by-product of the ripe corn harvest–the stover, or “shreddings.”  Generally, shreddings were fed to the beef cattle as part of their diet for a rapid gain in weight.  Whatever stover was left in the troughs was then cast out into the pen to be used as bedding.  This was a very efficient use of all products of a farm. However, Clifton had always been dissatisfied with the McCormick-Deering corn husker/shredder and so he began looking around for alternatives.  Indeed his brother-in-law, Russell Ober, talked to Clifton of his satisfaction with the wooden Rosenthal 4-roll husker/shredder which he used on his farm.  Thus, Clifton began to favor the name Rosenthal in his search for a better corn husker/shredder.  This is a prime example of the “word of mouth” advertising put to work here, and very much the way the Rosenthal Company built up and maintained its share of the corn husker market.

In 1937, Clifton found an opportunity to purchase the Rosenthal Steel 80 corn husker/shredder (Serial No. 14493) from the farmer near St. Charles, Minnesota.  Although Clifton and his father found that their Allis-Chalmers Model E 25-40 tractor was more than sufficient to power the Steel 80, the tractor was not suited for row crop work.  Consequently, when Minneapolis-Moline introduced its new Model U tractor in 1938, Clifton Kamnetz traded the Allis-Chalmers Model E in to the Duane Egge Minneapolis Moline dealership on the purchase of a tricycle-style ModelU. Meanwhile, the youngest daughter of August and Ella Kamnetz, Tira, married Art Hoffman on December 5, 1941.  (Two days later, while the young couple was on their honeymoon in South Dakota, they heard of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.)  Art and Tira settled on Art’s parents’ home farm, located up out of the Root River Valley, above the “down home” farm of the Kamnetz family.  There, Art and Tira took over the farming operations of the Hoffman farm from his parents, just as Clifton Kamnetz had done on the “down home” farm.  The Hoffman and Kamnetz farms were located close enough to one another that they shared farming tasks–especially during the harvest season.  Given the large capacity of No. 14493, this help was certainly appreciated to keep the machine operating at peak efficiency.  No. 14493 was used on the Kamnetz and Hoffman farms for the ripe corn harvest throughout the Second World War. Although mechanical picking of corn in the fields had been available to the farming public since well before the Second World War, it was only following the Second World War that corn pickers became a very popular alternative to the binding and shocking of ripe corn.  Every farmer was buying his own corn picker, and so it was too on the Kamnetz and Hoffman farms.  As the families started picking their corn in the fields, No. 14493 was stored away in a shed “out back” on the Kamnetz farm and was used less and less.  Indeed, Gary Hoffman, son of Art and Tira, who still lives on the Hoffman farm and who has memories back to 1950, cannot remember the Steel 80 ever being used.  To him, No. 14493 was always the big machine sitting in the building “out back.” In 1988, No. 14493 was sold at auction to a collector, Herman Henselin, of Chatfield, Minnesota.  Later, the Model 80 was sold to Harlan Boe of LeRoy, Minnesota, who used it for a number of years at the annual threshing show he operates during the third full weekend in August on his farm west of LeRoy, Minnesota, in Mower County.  (This year’s threshing show will be held on the Harlan Boe farm on August 18 and 19, 2001.)  In 1999, Harlan Boe sold No. 14493 to Gary Jones, who is a member of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association.  Gary Jones also is the owner of a second Steel 80 corn husker shredder (Serial No. 15464). This Steel 80 (Serial No. 15646) made the same trip across the state of Wisconsin and into Minnesota in 1938 as had Serial No. 14493 a year earlier.  This corn husker/shredder had been ordered by Biel Implement pursuant to a purchase agreement signed by a buyer named Krause for use on their farm.  The Krause family lived on a farm east of Spring Valley, near the county seat of Preston.  The fact that they ordered the large sized Steel 80 suggests that perhaps they also intended to use the corn husker/shredder as a custom machine in their neighborhood.  However, it appears that No. 15646 was used on the Krause farm only sparingly and only for a few years before it was retired to the shed, because when No. 15646 was purchased by Lyle Sundry of Byron, Minnesota, in 1986, he noticed that the Steel 80 was in very good condition–suggesting a history of light use.  Lyle sits on the Mechanics Roundtable of the Olmsted County History Center and is one of the founding members of the Olmsted County Steam Engine Show, where No. 15646 served as a stationary exhibit for a number of years.  In May or June of 2000, Lyle sold No. 15646 to Gary Jones of Owatonna, Minnesota, who also noted that the machine had scarcely been used and remained in very good condition. In the fall of 2000, old No. 15646 was brought back to life husking and shredding corn on the Dan Zilm farm near Clarmont, Minnesota.  (Dan Zilm can be seen sitting on a fully restored Model F Fordson, with a 1920s one-row Nichols and Shepard mounted corn picker attached, in the color picture on the rear cover of the May/June 2000 issue of Belt Pulley.)  During the operation of the Steel 80 (No. 15646) on the Zilm farm, the large corn husker/shredder was powered by a Case Model LA tractor.  As the bundles were fed into the machine two at a time, the crew found that the corn husker/shredder simply could not be plugged.  However, even with a maximum of 55.6 horsepower (C.H. Wendel, Nebraska Tractor Tests, [Crestline Publishing Co.: Osceola, Wisc., 1985] p. 171) delivered to the belt, the Case Model LA had its hands full when powering the Steel 80 under maximum capacity.  (Gary Jones will once again put No. 15646 to work shredding corn for the attendees at the next LeSueur County Pioneer Power Show to be held on August 24-26, 2001, in rural LeSueur/LeCenter.  This time Gary wants to power the Steel 80 with his Case 25 steam engine. With the demonstration of the Krause family’s Steel 80 corn husker/shredder (No. 15646) and the appearance of the Kamnetz Steel 80 (No. 14493) at the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Show on August 24-26, 2001, the public will be able to experience the method of ripe corn harvesting that has faded into the past–a method of harvesting that attempted to save all the by-products of corn harvesting, including the stover.  This would certainly be an excellent salute to the Rosenthal Company–the pioneer company in the field of corn husking and shredding.

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