Onoway Historical Guild's threshing
bee is coming up soon. Browsing through exhibits
in the Farm Room and in the archives at the Onoway
Museum makes one marvel at how mechanized
agriculture has become.
In Alberta's early days, the farmer
who could afford to purchase a threshing machine
had a gold mine! He (plus the threshing crew)
hauled the thresher from farm to farm to enable
less fortunate farmers to harvest their crops.
They could be on the road for weeks on end but of
course they were paid. Some threshermen even wrote
out formal invoices. Later, the business aspect
was formalized and proper invoice books were
issued with the support of the government. The
thresher was entitled to a "lien" against the
harvested crop in the event that he was not paid
Threshing Statement 1941
It cost Ted Looker $43.58 in
1941 to have his crops threshed.
The price per bushel harvested varied with
the type of grain.
Charlie Meyer charged Ted
Looker for his labour
but held a lien on the grain harvested in
case Looker did not pay him.
range of agricultural equipment increased and
local dealers promoted the different makes,
companies like International Harvester created
magazines which would be mailed to potential
customers. These magazines give intriguing
insights into all aspects of farm life and how
advances in the mechanics were changing
agriculture so rapidly. The 1941 edition of Canadian
Tractor Farming (see photo) mailed to Alex
Shabada at Gunn does not include information
about the local dealer. But John Lafleur had the
International Harvester dealership for the
Onoway area and the Shabadas were on his mailing
list. By 1958 the magazine had incorporated a
red panel on the back cover identifying the
dealer: "J. Lafleur, Phone 2, Onoway, Alta."
Another promotional giveaway was John
Pocket Notebook. John A. Mills was the
dealer in Onoway; in 1954 he could be contacted by
phone at #10 in Onoway.
Today, in the comfort of an
air-conditioned cab, with a computer guiding the
harvesting process, the modern farmer need only be
concerned about the weather, the price his crop
would garner and whether he could make payments on
his machinery. Some things never change.
Canadian Tractor Farming was devoted exclusively to
farming with tractors and included features
on all aspects of farming. This 1948 issue
noted that grain combines now harvest more
than 75% of the wheat acreage and about 40%
of oats. "Self-propelled combines have
caught on with farmers in a most surprising
Notebook was filled cover to
cover with every piece of information a
farmer might need to know ranging from
barbed wire fencing specifications to land
measure (an acre contains 4,840 square
yards), from interest rates to how far
apart to plant raspberry bushes.