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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 20, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Tuesday, August 20, 1974 THE LETHBRIDOE HERALD-3 Photographs by WALTER KERBER Mick said the fireman in charge of the operation of the steam engine was the first member of the threshing crew to get up in the morning. This usually happened before 4 p.m., depending on the weather. Making the steam engine operational involved cleaning the pipes which run throughout the boiler. These flues carried the fire to heat a greater area of water for the production of steam. The firebox had to be cleaned of ashes and klinkers in the morning. The water level in the boiler was checked and if warm from the day previous, it would take one to hours to build up a head of steam. Mick said the fireman was supposed to be able to blow the whistle by 5 a.m. At the same time, all the horses were to be ready for work and then breakfast would be served. Work always started at 6 a.m. George, who drove his first team of horses on a steamer crew in 1915, said straw was the main source of fuel when he worked. The fireman would use up to 13 hay racks of straw left over from the threshing operation in a work day. Arlo Jurney of Calgary, whose father homesteaded in the Vulcan district in about 1905, is the club's treasurer and thresherman. The secret to operating a threshing machine is knowing how to set the machine to save as much grain as possible in the separating operation as it is with today's modern combines, says Arlo. But the display isn't limited to the real McCoy. John Kvill, a school principal from New Norway, attracted a flurry of attention with his scale model steam engine and threshing machine. The pair of models, which were constantly operated by John or his son Randy, took nine years to build. The work paid off for John last g I I I I I ABOVE: Mick Smeltzer inspects the flues. Preaching, plowing and lots of puffing LANGDON The earth shook and the wind blew and the crowd reacted with awe as four giant steam engines hissed out of the past to live two glorious days at Pioneer Acres near here. Pioneer Acres is a dream of Calgarians Keith Evenson and Ken Taylor that was realized with the first exhibit of antique farm machinery. It comes to life annually on Mr. Taylor's farm, 15 miles east of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. The men formed. Pioneer Acres Plowmen and Threshermen's Club in 1971. Incorporated under the Alberta Society's Act in 1972, the club boasts 75 members from Alberta and Saskatchewan and is still growing. The stated aim of the club is to attract interested persons to restore and display machinery used on farms in Western Canada, from horse drawn equipment to almost present-day units Doug Hartley of Calgary, president of the club, says Pioneer Acres is a show for the club members that is open to the public. The "reunion" draws about people from all walks of life and of all ages, from those who planned an outing to those on holidays who just happened by. The display of equipment ranged from an eight-horse team, through a variety of tractors, steam engines and threshing machines, both real and model types. There were two large trailers loaded with stationary engines. And everything worked. B. D. (Dude) Cote of Strathmore added the final touch to the exhibition with his display of tools used to keep all the antiques running in their heyday. Priding himself on the fact that he had to buy only one of the pieces of equipment, Dude says all the tools were donated by farmers in his district. Saturday was the warm up day. About 750 adults paid the entry fee to see competitions of plowing for both horse and tractor and slow races between tractors. Sunday was the big day. About 2.500 crowded the grassed exhibition grounds throughout the day. A covered seating area, which was used in conjunction with a food booth operated by the Cheadle Lions Club during the day, was used for an interdenominational church service to start the festivities. And while the preachers extolled the virtues of the Good Book, members of the club were readying their prized possessions. All the steam engines were smoking from tall stacks, stationary engines used for a variety of purposes in the early years were being primed and the only Model T Ford truck was driving around the grounds. Mr. Taylor, manager of Pioneer Acres, claims the antique farm machinery is difficult to obtain and parts for the machines which are being restored are even more difficult to get. He says thousands of steam engines and early tractors were used as salvage by the government during the Second World War and farmers readily parted with them because it was cash in the hand for equipment which didn't work anyway. Two main competitions were judged during the two-day show. Harry Garriott of Calgary, with a 1911 Mogul tractor, won the trophy for the best mechanical historical exhibit. Ralph Loosore of Three Hills won first prize for the best team of horses. He displayed eight Belgian work horses from his horse breeding farm, including one borrowed mare. 1 1 i I Continued on Page 4 ;