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North Dakotans build self propelled threshing machine
"It works and threshes just like the real thing," says Lome Lund of the 1/3 scale model of an original Sageng self-propelled threshing machine which he and two other North Dakota farmers built last winter.
"We've run full-length wheat, oats and barley through the machine but found it works best if you cut straw into shorter lengths so we usually bring a tin snippers along," says Lund who demonstrated the one-of-its kind threshing rig at threshing reunions last summer.
So far as he knows, it the first and only working scale model of the original "belt-less" and self-propelled Sageng thresher.
Halver Sageng, a Dalton, Minn., farmer and Lutheran minister, built 21 of the unique threshing machines between 1908 and 1912 before going bankrupt. There are no known original Sageng threshers in existence.
The original was powered by a 70 hp motor and equipped with a 36 in. cylinder and a double set of straw racks. "It had a lot of threshing capacity and must have done a good job," says Lund. "It was designed primarily for stack threshing. When you got done stacking, you could just put the machine in gear and back up. You didn't have to reset the belts or anything. Being self-propelled, it was a one-man operation during a time when most other threshers required four men to operate. The Sageng was also unique because it had two swing feeders, one on each side of the blower, which conveyed grain bundles into the machine. Also, the feeder and blower were located on the same end of the machine.
"This latter feature of having straw fed and blown out the same end posed some challenges for us in building the scale model because the straw has to make a 180? turn. When straw falls off the top straw rack, it tends to lodge on the bottom rack. That's probably why, on conventional threshing machines, the feeder and blower were on opposite ends so the straw could go straight through," says Lund, who teamed up with his son Keenan, of Nome, and Alfred Stiedl, of Fingal, to build the working 1/3 scale model. Not one of the three had ever seen the real working machine.
The trio used an old blueprint, and three old photos which they enlarged, as a guide in building the "authentic as possible" scale model. They began building the thresher in January a year ago and finished by April, investing about $2,000 and 2,000 hours in the project.
The scale model, made of 24 ga. galvanized tin, is 9 ft. long, 6 ft. high at the top of the elevator, and 20 in. wide. It's powered by a 17 hp, 4 cyl. Hercules motor fitted inside the cab. It has a top travel speed of 1 mph.
The North Dakotans salvaged gears and other parts from used equipment and made many of the parts by hand. They're proud of their unique self-propelled thresher and plan to demonstrate it this summer and fall at threshing reunions and other events throughout the Midwest.
For more information, contact Lorne Lund, Rt. 2, Box 158, Enderlin, N. Dak. 58027 (ph 701437-3406).


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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #1