Speckman Threshing Crew
August Speckman Sr. and son Albert, Herman & August Jr. had their own Threshing machine. They did their own threshing until retiring. Albert ran the steam engine - extra help was the neighbors or tramps. Threshing continued until 1941 when Alberts’ son Melvin purchased his own combine - one of the first in the area. Albert and August retired in 1937 and moved to town. Albert is pictured on the steam engine, Herman is pictured on the thresher. August Speckman Sr. is on the water wagon. Pictures are on the Gust Bruss farm. Guss is pictured on the top right picture in the middle of the machinery. The two bottom centered pictures are pictures of a steam boiler explosion. These pictures were taken on September 13th, 1910.
Threshing machines, designed for rapidly removing the husks from grain, were such an advance that soon many farms had them. Unfortunately, farm laborers did not have the knowledge of the hazards of the machines and did not always adopt the necessary vigilance. It should also be remembered that, in summer, the laborers were served beer, often times each man would consume at least six pints in a day in the hot weather.
The Threshing machine was invented by Andrew Meikle ( 1719-1811, a Scottish millwright from Houston Mill, near Dunbar, East Lothian). After two failed attempts, he decided to copy from the flax-stitching machine that was used to beat the fibers from flax plants. He constructed a strong drum with fixed beaters that beat rather than rubbed the grain. He took out a patent in 1788 and probably began manufacturing it in 1789. By 1830, the introduction of the threshing machine had inflamed the villagers of Southern England who felt their way of life was facing extinction.
However, with the Industrial Revolution in America the steam engine helped power the threshing machines. It provided to be useful (the Industrial Revolution) to American farmers as they moved westward. By the 1800s the United States became the world's largest supplier of cotton, as the America's southern states provided the ideal climate for growing cotton.