Rosenthal Cornhusker Company (Part V)

The Rosenthal Cornhusker Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

The Self-Feeder and the Last Years (Part V)

by

Brian Wayne Wells

with the assistance of

Jim McFarlane of Waunakee, Wisconsin

Lyle Sundry of Byron, Minnesota

Gary J. Jones of Owatonna, Minnesota

Jim Esbenshade of Colbert, Oklahoma

John McNamara of Eagle Rock, Missouri

and

Keith Oltrogge of Denver, Iowa

As published in the January/February 2002 issue of

Belt Pulley Magazine

            As noted in Part IV of this series on the Rosenthal Company, one could foresee that the future of ripe corn harvesting would not bode well for the Company if it remained solely as a producer of stationary corn shredders.  (See “The Rosenthal Corn Husker Company Part IV: The Cornbine” in the November/December 2001, issue of Belt Pulley Vol 14, No. 6.) Also, noted in Part IV they were unable introduce their own corn picker into the already overcrowded corn picker market.  What was not noted in Part IV was that they knew from experience that they could not do so.

            As part V of this series was nearing completion, information was received from Keith Oltrogge,  editor of the Massey-Harris collector’s newsletter called Wild Harvest, that indicated the Rosenthal Company experimented with a two-row pull-type corn picker.  Experimentation with this prototype of the Rosenthal cornpicker was conducted on the farm of Herman and Millie (Kohagen) Oltrogge in Bremer County, Iowa, from 1931 until 1933.  Herman and Millie were the grandparents of Keith Oltrogge.  Together Herman and Millie owned and operated a 300 to 400-acre farm located which is ed seven miles east of  Waverly, Iowa (pop. 8,539) on State Road No. 3 straight across the intersection with U.S. #63 number and another ½ a mile on the north side of S.R. #3.   They had a dairy operation, with about 30 head of Holstein cattle being milked at any one time throughout the year.  They also raised about 200 to 300 pigs and 500 chickens.  Approximately half of their arable land was planted in corn.  Since they did not have a silo on their farm, they built a bunker for storing corn silage.  A portion of their corn was harvested as green corn silage; the remainder of the corn was harvested when ripe.  Much of the ripe corn was stored on the farm and fed to the pigs, chickens and dairy cattle.  (Although Keith is a Certified Public Accountant, who practices in the nearby town of Denver, Iowa, he still owns and lives on his father’s and grandfather’s farm.)

            Herman Oltrogge processed much of his ripe corn into dry feed by means of a Sprout-Waldron feed grinder, or burr mill.  (Keith still has this old burr mill on the farm.)  To power the burr mill and to provide mechanical power for some of the other tasks on the his farm, Herman had purchased a new Wallis model “OK” tractor in 1926.  The Wallis tractor was manufactured by the J.I. Case Plow Company, which was a separate entity from the more familiar J.I. Case Company which manufactured threshers and tractors under the Case name.  The J.I. Case Plow Company had originally been spun off from the J.I. Case Company in 1890 as a separate entity under the presidency of Jackson I. Case, son of the original founder, Jerome Increase Case.  However, Jackson Case was succeeded in the presidency of the J.I. Case Plow Company by Henry M. Wallis in 1892.  (C.H. Wendel, 150 Years of J.I. Case [Crestline Pub. Co.: Sarasota, Fla., 1991], p. 14.)  This was the beginning of production of the Wallis tractor.  In 1893, Jacob Price and the T.M. Company purchased the J.I. Case Plow Company; however, production of the Wallis tractor continued under the new ownership.  By 1922, the model OK Wallis tractor had been introduced to replace the Wallis Model K tractor.  (C.H. Wendel, Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors [Crestline Pub. : Sarasota, Fla., 1979] p. 59.)  At its tests in Lincoln, Nebraska, in April and May of 1923, the  Model OK tractor had developed a maximum horsepower of 18.15 on the drawbar and 27.13 hp at the belt pulley.  It was this model of tractor that Herman Oltrogge purchased in 1926 at a dealership in Waverly, Iowa, and put to work on his farm.

            At the same time, Herman’s brother, Louis Oltrogge, also traded in his old Lauson tractor in to the same dealorship on a new Wallis Model OK tractor.  In nearly all farming operations throughout the year, Herman cooperated with his brother.  Louis and his wife, Hilda Kohagen) Oltrogge, lived on a 240-acre farm adjacent to Herman and Millie’s farm.  Hilda was a sister of Millie; thus, brothers had married sisters.  Louis and Hilda’s farm was on U.S. 63 about a ½ a mile north of the intersection of U.S. 63 and S.R. No. 3.  When traveling between the two farms, however, the families preferred to use the field lane that connected the two farms, rather than take farm machinery out on the road.   Louis and Hilda also had a large Holstein dairy operation and raised chickens and pigs.  However, not having a silo or a bunker on his farm, all of the corn on their farm was harvested as ripe corn.

            Bremer County, where the Oltrogge farms were located, had its own Rosenthal dealership in the form of Shumacher’s Blacksmith Shop which had expanded into a short-line machinery dealership.  William (Bill) Schumacher was the owner and operator of this blacksmith shop and shortline dealership located in Denver, Iowa (approximate 1930 population 500-600).  As noted previously, the Rosenthal Company did very little advertising itself, relying largely on “word of mouth” and the reputation of the company for building quality machines.  Thus, it was left to the individual shortline dealers carrying the Rosenthal line to do their own advertising.  Schumacher’s did just that by means of promotional ink pens with their name and the “Rosenthal” name emblazoned on the barrel of the pens.  (Keith Oltrogge still has examples of these promotional pens.)

            Because of his location in Bremer County, it seems likely that Bill Schumacher had something to do with arranging the tests of the Rosenthal corn picker prototype on the Oltrogge farm.  However, because Bremer County is adjacent to Chickasaw County and the Oltrogge farm is only 27 miles south of New Hampton, Iowa (the county seat of Chickasaw County), it is tempting to believe that the Mielke Manufacturing and Sales Co. of New Hampton, Iowa, was also involved in making the arrangements for the testing of the prototype corn picker in conjunction with Schumachers.  (As we know from Part IV of this series, it was William J. Mielke, who would later, in 1943, arrange for the testing of the prototype of the Cornbine on the John and Catherine Landreck farm in neighboring Fayette County.)

            Nevertheless, in the fall of 1931, a prototype of the Rosenthal corn picker was brought to Herman and Millie’s farm by Rosenthal engineers.  They wished to see how the picker would operate under actual field conditions.  Just as with the testing of the prototype of the Cornbine some 12 years later on the Landreck farm, the company also wished to have the corn picker powered by the tractor of the hosting farmer.  Consequently, Herman’s Wallis Model  OK tractor was used to pull the prototype of the corn picker in the corn field on his farm.  Accompanying the engineers and the prototype to Herman and Millie’s farm in the fall of 1931 was Henry Rosenthal himself.  (As noted in Part II of this series of articles, Henry was the son of August Rosenthal.  August was the oldest of the four Rosenthal brothers who had founded the Rosenthal Corn Husker Company.  Also as previously noted, Henry Rosenthal would succeed his father into the presidency of the Rosenthal Company in 1936.)  Henry was not pretentious, nor afraid to get his hands dirty in pursuit of the job at hand.  Herman’s camera caught Henry Rosenthal taking a turn at the controls of the Wallis tractor while it was pulling the prototype corn picker around the corn field.  From the tractor seat, Henry was able to see for himself the operation of the picker as the corn passed through the snapping rollers.

            At the end of the harvest, Henry and the Rosenthal engineers had learned a great deal about their prototype.  They packaged up the prototype corn picker and shipped it back to the Rosenthal factory at West Allis, Wisconsin for further modifications based on improvements suggested by Henry and the engineers.  Due to all the modifications on the prototype, however, the Company felt that more testing of the new modified two-row corn picker prototype was needed before the company went into production with the two-row corn picker.  Indeed, when the prototype reappeared on the Oltrogge farm in fall of 1932, it had changed a great deal in appearance.  The most apparent change was the addition of more streamlined sheet metal and more sheet metal covering the elevator carrying the ears of corn from the snapping rollers up to the husking roller bed.  Once again, Henry Rosenthal accompanied the Rosenthal engineers to the Oltrogge farm. 

            Meanwhile, things had changed on the Oltrogge farm also.  Herman had traded his Wallis tractor in to the same dealership in Waverly where it had originally been purchased in 1926.  In the interim, however, the dealership itself had changed.  In 1928, ownership of the company manufacturing the Wallis tractor had been purchased by the Massey-Harris Company.  Thus the dealership in Waverly became a Massey-Harris franchise dealership.  The tractor that Herman purchased in 1932 was the new Model 25 Massey-Harrris tractor.  The Model 25 had just been introduced in 1932.  It replaced the Model 20-30 tractor in the Massey Harris line of tractors.  The suggested retail price of the new Model 25 tractor mounted on steel was $1,275.00.  (C.H. Wendel, Massey Tractors [Motorbooks Int. Pub.: Osceola, Wisc., 1992], p. 39.)  Consequently, the new prototype corn picker was pulled by the new Massey-Harris Model 25 tractor during the tests in 1932 and also again in 1933.   Once again, Herman Oltrogge was there with his camera to record the events.  Thanks to the pictures that Herman took at that time, we now have a visual record of how the prototype corn pickers looked.  (Keith Oltrogge published two of the pictures taken by his grandfather on the front page of the September/October 1991 issue of Wild Harvest, [Vol. 8, No. 5]).

            During the 1932 tests of the prototype, another member of the Rosenthal family showed up on the Oltrogge farm to review the performance of the prototype corn picker.  Carl Rosenthal was the youngest of the four original Rosenthal brothers who had founded the company in 1896.  As noted in Part II of this series, Carl served as the general mechanician of the Rosethal Company.  In this position, it was natural for Carl to be the person that would come to the Oltrogge farm to check on the testing of the prototype corn picker which proceeding under the guidance of his nephew, Henry, and the other Rosenthal engineers.

            The company, very concerned about the prototype, spent another season on the Oltrogge farm in the fall of 1933, testing the corn picker prototype.  At the end of the tests in 1933, even though the company knew that it needed a corn picker or some other product to diversify its dependent position as a manufacturer of only corn husker/shredders, the Rosenthal Company declined to put the corn picker into production. Without the production of a corn picker, the Company knew it would be hard pressed to stay active in the ripe corn harvesting market.  As noted in Part IV, Rosenthal Company introduced the Cornbine in the late 1940s.  However, sales of the Cornbine had been disappointing even from the start and by 1952, the Company had recognized that Cornbine was a sales failure.  Therefore, the Company ceased all production of the Cornbine in 1952.  Even though, the Company had restricted itself to the very small niche within the ripe corn harvesting market that remained for corn husker/shredders– a niche that would grow smaller as the years passed–the Company labored on to serve that dwindling market share.

            Unlike grain thresher/separators which had developed a self-feeding mechanism to cut the twine bands on each bundle of small grain as it was fed into the threshing cylinder, the Rosenthal Company never had success in the development of any similar self-feeder and band cutter for its corn huskers.  Rosenthal husker/shredders had always been hand-fed machines, requiring a worker on the wagon to pitch the corn bundles onto the feeding table and an additional worker standing at the front of the feeding table to cut the twine bands on each bundle of corn.  This was a slow and dangerous  task.  (See “The Wood Bros. Company” at page 16 of the January/February, 2001 issue of Belt Pulley.)  Nonetheless, the engineers of the Rosenthal Company continued to experiment with a self-feeder and a band cutter for the corn husker.  (As noted in Part VI, William J. Mielke of New Hampton, Iowa, was one of the persons working on a self-feeding mechanism for the Rosenthal corn husker/shredders.)  After much work, the Company finally met with success.  In the mid 1950s the Company put into production a self-feeder they felt confident would stand up to heavy usage in the field.  The Steel 40 corn husker/shredder was chosen for fitting of the new self-feeder.  Production of these new Rosenthal model Steel 40 machines with the new self-feeders was begun in the late 1950s.

            One of these new model Steel 40 Rosenthal corn husker/shredders (Serial No. 14271) with the new self-feeding attachment came off the assembly line at the Rosenthal Corn Husker Company factory in West Allis, Wisconsin.  It was loaded onto a Chicago Northwestern train headed to Minneapolis, Minnesota.  In Minneapolis, the flatbed car bearing No. 14271 was transferred to the Minneapolis St. Louis Railroad and included on a train heading west out of the Twin Cities.  At a stop at the little town of Echo, Minnesota (1950 pop. 490), No. 14271 was delivered to Stelters Implement.  There, Stelters Implement attached one of their name plates to No. 14271 before it was delivered to a local farmer in Echo Township, Yellow Medicine County, located about mid-way up the state of Minnesota.

            Agriculture in Minnesota in primarily centered in the southern part of the state.  As one goes north in Minnesota, the rich farm land of the hardwood forest region of the south yields to the pine woods of the north, with its rolling hills, acid soil and fishing lakes.  With the exception of the Red River Valley located along the border of Minnesota and North Dakota,which is excellent land for the production of sugar beets and potatoes, land in northern Minnesota is not suited for agriculture.  Indeed, as one travels north in Minnesota, agriculture becomes less and less a part of the local economy.  Thus, Echo Township is in the marginal agricultural area of the State.  Because of this, our Echo Township farmer was aware of the need to use as much of his corn crop as he could for his small dairy herd in order to make any profit.  Therefore, in the mid-1950s, he was still bundling and shocking part of his ripe corn harvest so he could save the stover, or shreddings, for his cows to eat.  While picking corn was fast and efficient work, it left the corn stalks in the field.  By shredding part of his ripe corn, he could increase the profitability of his small farm.  Thus, when the Rosenthal Company first introduced its new model Steel 40 with the self-feeding mechanism, our Echo Township farmer was one of the first people to realize the importance of this innovation and to purchase it.  For years, he had hired part-time help in order to have another worker on the wagon pitching the bundles up onto the feeder table of his old corn husker while he cut the twine bands on the bundles and fed the corn into the corn husker/shredder.  Now, with the self-feeder and band cutter on the new model Steel 40, corn husking/shredding could become a one-man job.

            Indeed, as a one-man job, the process of corn harvesting by husking/shredding could be stretched over the entire winter by the farmer.  He could go the field only when needed throughout the winter and pick up a wagon load of the shocked corn and shred just enough to get him through a week or two at any one time.  Storage of the shreddings could be limited to that amount needed and the remaining corn could stay in the field.  In this way, in the late 1950s, the process of corn husking/shredding returned to the vision originally adhered to by the Rosenthal Company prior to 1903—that of a husker/shredder on a single farm, put to use periodically throughout the year for processing feed, just as a feed grinder might be used.  This was how our Echo Township farmer used No. 14271 on his farm until he retired in the early 1960s.  At that time, No. 14271 was sold at auction and brought to a farm in Sibley county located south and east of Yellow Medicine County.

            In the late 1960s, No 14271 was again sold at auction to Sylvan John Tesch, of Henderson Township, also in Sibley County.  Sylvan Tesch grew up on a farm located 4½ miles west of the town of Henderson, Minnesota.  He was the youngest of five children in the Tesch family–Verna, Alvin, Lawrence (Shorty) and Earl.  He attended school at District No. 2 in Section 8 of Henderson Township.  (A 1935-36 picture of the students attending District No. 2, shows young Sylvan standing next to his older brother,Earl Tesch.  This picture in located at page 582 in the excellently detailed and indexed history of Henderson, called Henderson: Then and Now 1852-1994 [Crow River Press: Hutchinson, Minn., 1995]).  In 1943, Sylvan married Dorothy Apitz, also of Henderson.  The couple would move from Henderson to Delavan, Minnesota, where he would be employed on a farm.  After about a year in Delavan, the couple would rent a farm nearer Henderson, located between Mankato and St. Peter.  While on this farm, Sylvan would purchase a Ford/Ferguson Model 2N.  This little tractor would stay with him throughout his farming career.  After a couple of years at this farm, he and Dorothy would move to a 200-acre farm near Henderson.  In 1948, they purchased a 160-acre farm three miles east of the home farm where he had grown up–a farm now owned by his older brother, Earl Tesch.  Like so many farms in the Henderson area, a great portion of Sylvan and Dorothy’s new farm was wooded and other parts were too hilly to be arable and thus were used as pasture land.  Because his farm was wooded and hilly, Sylvan soon began raising beef cattle.  Only about 70 acres of the farm were suited to raise crops, on this 70 acres, Sylvan raised oats, wheat, hay and corn–perhaps 20 acres of which were planted in corn. Sylvan milked cows for a while during the 1950s, but soon dropped milking for the cattle raising that he was beginning to understand the best–beef cattle.  His farm which had an abundance of hilly ground was suited to the raising of cattle and he tended to use the pasture land as much as possible but beef cattle need more than grass to fatten in a hurry and become marketable.  They need a diet heavy in calories.  Corn was the perfect answer.  During the 1950s and sixties the cash crops of corn and soybeans fought for room in the farmer’s seasonal planning.  Investment in these two crops could possible yield a good cash income.  Yet there was always the risk that the crops would fail and farmer would then need to fall back on the animals that he had on his farm to make up for the loss.  Soybeans when harvested were good only for sale.  Soybeans could not be used profitably for feed.  Corn, on the other hand was another story.  It could be used as a cash crop when the price was high or else it could be fed to livestock when its price dipped and livestock prices rose.  As the decade of the 1950s rolled over into the 1960s, Sylvan had some options for selling his beef cattle.  Regular readers of the Belt Pulley will remember that the J. A. Hormel Company  of Austin, Minnesota had a local buying station located in St. Peter, Minnesota on the east bank of the Minnesota River.  (See the “St. Peter Implement Company” article on page 16 of the November/December 2000 issue of Belt Pulley Vol. 13, No. 6.)  St. Peter was only 12 miles to the south of Henderson.  Thus, the Hormel buying station was convenient.  However this convenience came at a price.  The prices offered at the Hormel buying station were discounted to take into consideration the costs of transportation of the livestock to Austin, Minnesota.  Sylvan could obtain a better price for his cattle if he delivered his cattle directly to the Armour Company meat packing plant in South St. Paul, Minnesota.  However, South St. Paul was located some 60 miles to the north.  With the newly completed four-lane super highway #169 in the early 1960s, a person could drive most of the way to South St. Paul on fast four-lane highways, but South St. Paul was still about 60 miles north of Henderson, Minnesota and thus the trip would take a significant amount of time.  For a small beef grower, like Sylvan Tesch, making the trip with just a couple head of cattle would hardly be worth the increased profit that he would obtain in So. St. Paul.  In 1963, this situation became worse because of newly enacted state laws involving new licensing regulations and the costs of commercial insurance for livestock in transit.

            Seeking a solution to this problem, Sylvan Tesch and several other Henderson-area livestock farmers gathered in the home of Norris Brandt on December 28, 1963 to hear Lloyd Lampher, Public Relations Director for the Central Livestock Association of South St. Paul.  Lloyd Lampher explained self-insurance and the other benefits of forming a shipping association in Henderson.  As a result of this meeting, the Henderson Livestock Shipping Association was incorporated on January 1, 1964 and Sylvan Tesch was elected a member of the Board of Directors of the new shipping association.  The Henderson Shipping Association allowed members to pool their livestock going to South St. Paul.  The costs of transportation would then be spread over a large group of farmers and the result was more return on their livestock.  By 1980 the Henderson Shipping Association would be making 275 trips to South St. Paul hauling 609 cattle, 123 calves, 777 sheep, 4897 hogs and 444 feeder pigs with a net return of $886,184.94 to the farmers shipping livestock that year.  Henderson: Then and Now (Crow River Press: Hutchinson, Minn., 1995) p. 276.

            Sylvan knew the value of the stalks of ripe corn as a source of nutrition for cattle, and that the use of corn stalks as feed could help offset his cattle’s consumption of the more expensive shelled corn.  However, he also knew that cattle would accept the stalk and husks of corn as food only if the stalk and husks were properly processed.  Thus, to properly process corn stalks for cattle, Sylvan knew that he would need to chop the stalk and husk down to a consistency similar to silage.  The machine that would do this was a corn husker/shredder.  Thus, at the farm auction, he attended in the late 1960s where Sylvan found and purchased Serial No. 14271.  He was aware that the Rosenthal model Steel 40 corn husker/shredder would be a welcome addition to his farming operation by reducing his feeding expenses.  Thus, when No. 14271was put up for auction, Sylvan admired it for its fine condition.  Additionally, No. 14271 was one of the newer models of Steel 40 husker/shredders with the self-feeding feature that would eliminate the dangerous and time-consuming task of hand-feeding.  Consequently, Sylvan remained in the bidding on the husker shredder and, at the end of the sale, he was hitching up the Steel 40 to his pickup for the short drive home.

            Once at home, Sylvan found the Model 40 was a good match for his Model 2N Ford/Ferguson tractor.  Delivering 23.07 horsepower at the belt (C.H. Wendel Nebraska Tractor Tests (Crestline Books: Oseola, Wisc. 1985], p. 124), the Ford 2N had sufficient power to meet the requirements of the Model 40 Rosenthal corn husker.  (Advertising literature from 1941 for the Rosenthal Company stated that only 15 to 20 horsepower were needed to power the Model 40.)  Sylvan Tesch continued to use No. 14271 until 1988 when it was once again sold at auction.  The purchaser this time was Doug Pfarr, who is a member of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association and is a collector and restorer of old farm machinery.  Doug Pfarr brought No. 14271 to the Pioneer Power grounds where at its first Show it was put to use in the field demonstrations at the August Show.  (Part of the 1988 field demonstration was captured on videotape and is available in the second hour portion of Tape #3 of the International Harvester collection of video tapes.  On the tape, No. 14271 is seen being powered by an Allis-Chalmers WD-45, and Kenny Schultz, another member of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association, can be seen throwing bundles onto the self- feeder.  The tape clearly shows how the self-feeder made corn husking/shredding a one-man operation.)    No. 14271 continues to be used in demonstrations at the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Shows to this day.

            As noted in an earlier article in this series, the Rosenthal Company, in the late 1940s, had made a valiant attempt to bring corn husking/shredding to the field with the innovation of the Cornbine.  (See “The Rosenthal Corn Husker Company Part IV: The Cornbine” in the November/December 2001 issue of Belt Pulley, Vol 14, No. 6.)  However, when this innovation proved to be unsuccessful, Rosenthal fell back on the shrinking market share in the farm equipment market that was left to the stationary corn husker/shredder.  The Company did this with the realization that it would never again be able to capture a larger share of the farm equipment market.  Indeed, the market share left to the company would probably continue to decline.  The development and introduction of the self-feeder for the Model 40 was an attempt to slow the decline of the Company’s market share.

            Inevitably, the role for the Rosenthal Company in the United States economy was at an end.  Accordingly, the Company began to look for a way to sell its assets.  Shortly after the introduction of the self-feeder, the Company ceased production of all corn husker/shredders and sold its factory facilities in West Allis, Wisconsin.  Henry Rosenthal, who had served as President of the Company (see “The Rosenthal Corn Husker Company Part II,” in the July/August 2001 issue of Belt Pulley, Vol. 14, No. 4, p. 21), took over the parts business of the Company and moved it to Munkwonago, Wisconsin (1950 pop. 1,207).  He was also able to buy out the entire inventory of cornhusker parts from the International Harvester Corporation and the New Idea Company.  (International had ceased making corn husker/shredders during the Second World War, and New Idea had ceased production of corn huskers prior to the war.  However, both companies still operated a parts business until the sale of their parts inventory to Henry Rosenthal in the late 1950s.)

            In the 1960s, Henry Rosenthal sold his combined corn husker parts business to the McFarlane Manufacturing Company of Sauk City, Wisconsin.  Regular readers of the Belt Pulley will remember that the McFarlane Company was founded by Earl McFarlane in 1917.  (See “The Belle City Manufacturing Company: Part II” in the July/August 1999 issue of Belt Pulley, Vol. 12, No. 4., p. 21.)   Originally founded as the McFarlane & Westmont Tractor Company, the company changed its name a short time later to the Wisconsin Tractor Company devoted to manufacturing the Wisconsin tractor.  (C. H. Wendel, Encyclopedia of Farm Tractors [Crestline Publishing: Sarasota, Fla., 1979], p. 283.)  By 1924, production of the Wisconsin tractor had ceased and Earl purchased the interest of his business partner John Westmont and established the current McFarlane’s as a farm machinery wholesale distributor and as a retail dealership.  By the end of the Second World War, McFarlane’s was acting as a wholesale distributor, or blockhouse, for a number of “shortline” farm equipment companies, including the Belle City Company.  Earl McFarlane died in 1961, leaving his company to his three sons, Bob, Jim and Chuck McFarlane.  Henry Rosenthal continued to work at McFarlane’s until his death in the 1980s.  (In preparation for this article, the present author asked Jim McFarlane if he had any pictures of Henry Rosenthal.  Jim McFarlane responded that he did not have any pictures of Henry, because Henry Rosenthal had always consciously avoided the camera.  He was just that shy.  Consequently, the pictures that Keith Oltrogge has of Henry Rosenthal on his grandfather’s farm in the years of 1931 through 1933 may be some of the very few pictures of  Henry Rosenthal.)

            With the death of Henry Rosenthal came the end of the Rosenthal name in the farm equipment business.  Although McFarlane Manufacturing Company continues to this day, its sale of Rosenthal cornhusker parts is an extremely small portiion of their business, limited only to restorers of Rosenthal corn huskers.  It is hoped that these old restored corn huskers will be exhibited frequently and demonstrated at shows around the nation in order to offer the general public an opportunity to go back to a by-gone era when farmers tried to save all the by-products of a ripe corn harvest including corn stalks in the form of shreddings.

One thought on “Rosenthal Cornhusker Company (Part V)”

  1. I just stumbled across a Rosenthal serial#20318, I think it’s a Steel 80, it’s rusty, but obviously red and the serial# and painted warnings are still legible, and all the bearings still turn as it was stored inside, it has a 1987 article showing it in use on the “Bluie Bush Rd Farm ” in southern Mi. Mostly I need manuals and info to restore it

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