Purdue University Press Releases Historical Work
The Harvest Story: Recollections of Old-Time Threshermen
The Harvest Story tells the tale of wheat threshing in
turn-of-the-century North America. This book gathers over 50
volumes of material published in the Iron Men Album
magazine from 1946 until the present. From this rich mine, the
author has distilled a story of hard but honest work, of heartfelt
cooperation, of triumph not unmarred by tragedy - a complex,
fascinating story about America's past.
Readers feel the excitement as threshing day dawns, participate
in the labor and practical jokes of the crew, and respect the power
of the reliable, but sometimes dangerous, steam engines. With the
author's skillful arrangement of the material, explanations,
and photographs from his private collection, we come to share the
'Iron Men's' solid values.
Robert T. Rhode was born on a farm near Pine Village in
northwestern Indiana. Every summer from the time he was I, he went
with his parents to the Central States Threshermen's Reunion at
Pontiac, III. There, he came to appreciate the North American
agricultural heritage. His great uncle ran steam traction engines,
his father grew up during the steam era and helped his uncle run
engines, and his mother remembered playing on steam engines parked
in the factory yard of the Keck-Gonnerman Co., manufacturers of
threshing equipment in her hometown of Mt. Vernon, Ind.
Rhode is a professor of English at Northern Kentucky University.
He has published 50 articles on agricultural literature and
history. He owns a 65 HP J. I. Case agricultural traction engine
(serial number 35654) built in 1923, which he regularly exhibits at
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