Aetna Push Type Windrower

The Manitoba Agricultural Museum’s collection includes an Aetna push type windrower mounted on a Massey Harris 30 tractor, donated by the Reilly family of the Neepawa, Manitoba area. The Aetna was purchased in 1948 by Oscar Reilly and operated by Alvin E. Reilly for 12 consecutive seasons. It cut between 400 to 900 acres a year on the Reilly farm plus it did custom work for other farmers in the area.

Not much is known about the Aetna Company other than that it had a manufacturing plant in Winnipeg. A number of Aetna push type windrowers were sold by Aetna in 1948; however, by 1949 Aetna was bankrupt and out of business. According to Alvin Reilly, the Reillys discovered that knives and guards from other manufacturers would fit the Aetna so the “wearable” items were not a huge problem. As the rest of the machine was simple, making repairs was fairly easy when necessary.

Basically, the machine is a swather table which is pushed ahead of a tractor. Two heavy c-channel irons run back from the table on either side of the tractor to the rear of the tractor. Across the back of the tractor is bolted a heavy piece of box-section iron. This box-section is connected to each c-channel though a simple hinge on either end of the box-section steel. These hinges allow the table to rise and fall independently of the rear of the tractor.

The swather has its own set of wheels mounted on the rear of the table so the tractor does not support the weight of the swather. These wheels are not fixed but can be pivoted. The swather wheels are connected to the tractors steering axle which allows the tractor driver to steer the tractor and the swather table.

The table is driven off the tractor’s PTO through a series of belts and a long shaft. The swather table can be manually raised and lowered from the tractor using a lift lever and quadrant. The lever works a long rod connected to the table. The table drops the cut grain out on the ground on the left side of the table so the tractor is not driving over the swath.

This page was prepared by Alex Campbell.
Page revised: 7 December 2022

Graham Bradley Model 104 Tractor (1938)

Graham Bradley Model
Graham Bradley Model

This unique tractor was donated by George and Lorna Webster of Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba. It is complete, including the often-misplaced side panels, and requires only a paint job to be a showpiece.

George tells about the tractor’s history:

“My dad George Webster Sr. bought the Graham Bradley from Consolidated Motors on Main Street in Winnipeg in partnership with my grandpa James Webster. The Bradley was purchased during the spring/summer of 1938. The dealership had a salesperson drive out from Winnipeg to the farm at Sperling, Manitoba. According to my father he arrived in a little over one hour. The Bradley had a very high-speed road gear, very unusual for the era. I believe the purchase price was $1,750. The Bradley was used through the Second World War to farm five quarter-sections of land in the immediate area of my grandpa and my father’s farms in the Sperling area. My dad and his two brothers would shift work on the Bradley. One would get off the tractor, the replacement would fuel it up, get on and go back to work. The Bradley would hardly cool off. They did the seeding and all farm work with the Bradley. It was the only tractor they had. It has worn out numerous sets of tires and at some point, the rear tires were up-sized for traction and I assume better ground speed. It has had a couple of valve jobs and possibly one re-ring. I do not believe the rod bearings have ever been changed in it. The rear differential has never been touched. Prior to going to the museum, it had not been started for 15 years. I put a battery in it and some gas and then tried to start it. It started up almost immediately. When the transport from the museum arrived, we put the ramps onto the trailer and I drove a 79-year-old tractor onto the trailer under its own power. My wife and I were very sad to see it go but we knew it was my dad’s wishes that it go to the Austin museum where it would remain as a functional unit. He knew there were almost no tractors like this in Canada and only a handful in the US. We were fully in agreement for it to go to the museum.”

In 1937 Sears-Roebuck decided to add tractors to their mail order catalogue and retail stores. Rather than simply re-badge a production tractor, they approached the Graham Paige automobile company to build a tractor for them. The Bradley garden tractor company assisted with the design, thus the tractor name. Rated at 25 drawbar horsepower, it used a six-cylinder 217 cubic-inch Graham Paige car engine, built by Continental. The remainder of the tractor was designed by Graham Paige and, for the time, was quite advanced. It came standard with starter and lights, cushioned seat, four-speed transmission, a 20-mph road gear and steering brakes. All gauges and controls were grouped on a styled dash panel.

One of the first tractors to be “streamlined,” its appearance was reminiscent of the sporty cars for which Graham Paige was known. An unusual feature is that the belt pulley is driven from the transmission output shaft, and the differential is disengaged for belt work; this provided four speeds and reverse for the pulley. Selecting the wrong gear may have produced some interesting results depending on the machine being driven. The tractors were advertised as “built by Graham, equipped by Bradley, guaranteed by Sears.”

Unfortunately, Sears decided to stop selling tractors after only about 2,000 were built. Of these, perhaps fewer than 100 were the wide-front Model 104. Without a dealer network, Graham Paige ceased production in 1939. The company suspended automobile production in 1942 to concentrate on war contracts. It was purchased by the Kaiser Corporation after the war and produced Kaiser and Frazer cars. Tractor production never resumed. Today, Graham Bradley tractors are somewhat rare, and this one is even less common, being the “Wheatland” Model 104 rather than the more common tricycle row crop. Fewer than 30 may be left in existence.

MacLeod’s Stationary Gas Engine (c1922)

macleod's stationary engine
macleod's stationary engine

The MacLeod’s hardware store was a staple in most Manitoba towns, until the company went bankrupt in 1992. Cotter & Company then acquired it and changed its name to TruServ in 1999. RONA purchased TruServ in 2010 and changed the name to Ace Hardware in 2015. Lowes Canada purchased RONA in 2015. Through the corporate changes, a little engine named Macleod sat in the Winnipeg distribution centre office of what had become Ace Hardware.

This engine was originally sold by the MacLeod’s store in Grunthal, Manitoba in about 1922, to a Mr. C. Falk. Fifty years later, Mr. Falk made the MacLeod’s Company an interesting proposal:

“I have a 5 hp stationary MacLeod’s engine. It’s about 50 years old and still in running order as I always use it for cutting wood. I could have sold it for a fair price. If you would like to have the engine for a souvenir I would trade, you for the same hp new air-cooled engine.”

The company took the offer, traded a five-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine to Mr. Falk, had the engine restored and put it on display in their main office in Winnipeg. There it sat for 45 years, looking as shiny and fresh as when it was new.

In 2017 Ace Hardware closed the Winnipeg distribution Centre. Management, wanting to see it preserved, contacted the Manitoba Agricultural Museum to inquire on making a donation, the only request being that the MacLeod’s plaque is never removed from the engine. Plans to display the engine are being made. To see the engine as it appears today, be sure to drop by Museum and visit its current home, our Gas Engine Shed.

Tilston MTS Building

Tilston MTS Building
Tilston MTS Building

The 50th anniversary of the Telephone Pioneers in Manitoba (now the MTS Volunteers) was celebrated on June 10, 1988. To commemorate this occasion, Raymond Mills of Stonewall suggested moving the Tilston Central Dial Office (CDO) to the museum. The building and its operating equipment were dedicated in the Homesteaders Village on June 9, 1988.

A CDO is a free-standing telephone building housing switching equipment provide dial service for a specific geographic area. This 23 foot by 23 foot single-storey wood frame building served the 190 Tilston telephone subscribers for over 37 years. It was replaced not because it was worn out but because technology had changed to digital service.

In 1951, the Tilston telephone service was cutover to dial service which eliminated the manual magneto service and the telephone operators. In 1951 the dial service required only three digits for the area but was changed in 1962 to seven digits ANC (All Numbering Calling) in preparation for DDD (Direct Distance Dialing). This allowed telephone customers to dial up any other number without going through an operator. Tilston numbers had the prefix of 697-xxxx.

Telephone service on the Agricultural Museum site, Austin MB – The Pole Line

On September 10, 1983, a telephone pole line was dedicated on the Agricultural Museum site at Austin Manitoba. This 12-span pole line would provide a means of communicating between buildings along Main Street in the Homesteaders Village.

This was no ordinary pole line. It had started its service life in the Rathwell area as part of the Trans Canada Telephone System (TCTS). TCTS was completed in 1932 by seven Canadian telephone companies. This revenue bearing facility allowed long distance telephone calls from sea to sea to be made entirely on Canadian soil. Previous to this, telephone calls across Canada would have to be routed into the United States then back into Canada to be completed.

The poles were high quality Group II Western red cedar 30’ high. The cross arms were 4” x 5” x 10’ long Douglas Fir. The pins supporting the insulators were of steel rather than oak. The insulators were Toll line #22 Pyrex and the open wire was #8 or bull 8 copper.

This was not the first change of service for this pole line. The advent of plastic insulated cable and microwave technology had replaced open wire for Toll networks in the 1950s and 1960s. This section of pole line was then repurposed for service to rural subscribers and now it would provide service for the Agricultural Museum.

The donation of the pole line was a project suggested and installed by Eastern Region employees. It coincided with the 75th anniversary of MTS and was to preserve a section of the old telephone facility in an historic location. Attending the ceremonies in addition to dignitaries was retired telephone lineman George Ardagh from Austin and Dan Bergson from Gladstone.

Best wishes were expressed by MTS in recognition of the importance of the pole line. United Nations Secretary – General  Javier Perez de Cuellar sent a letter in honour of World Communication Year. His comments read as follows: “The role which the Trans-Canada Telephone System has played in the advancement of your country bears witness to a critical link between communications and development.  May I take this opportunity to express the hope your exhibit will serve not only as witness to your important accomplishments but will help to focus attention on the steps which other countries of the world have yet to take.”

September 10, 2016 marks 33 years that the pole line has served the Homesteaders Village and 74 years of continuous telephone service.

Dedication ceremony officials: Terry Farley ( Museum), Ed Tinkler (MTS), Eugene Kostyra (MB Gov’t), George Ardagh (MTS), Gordon Holland (MTS), Unknown
Dedication ceremony officials: Terry Farley ( Museum), Ed Tinkler (MTS), Eugene Kostyra (MB Government), George Ardagh (MTS), Gordon Holland (MTS), Unknown
75th Anniversary plaque unveiling Eugene Kostyra and George Ardagh
75th Anniversary plaque unveiling Eugene Kostyra and George Ardagh

Union Masonic Lodge No. 108

Masonic Lodge No. 108
Masonic Lodge No. 108

This is a brief history of the formation of a Masonic Lodge later to be known as Union Lodge No.108.

In the Brookdale district prior to 1907, two members of the community: H. C. Smith, station agent, and R. B. C. Thomson MD, being Masons themselves and there being no lodges closer than Neepawa and Carberry, decided to canvass not only the Brookdale district but the surrounding districts, Moore Park, Justice, Oberon, and Wellwood, to find enough interested people to form a Masonic Lodge. This was done and the following persons besides the original two expressed a desire to join: Mr. Beeman, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Phil McRae, Mr. H. Leslie, Mr. T. Ballantyne, and Mr. H. Allen.

Their application to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba was approved and the D.D.G.M. of District Number 2, a Mr. McIntosh, was instructed by the Grand Master of Manitoba to institute a lodge on July 26, 1907, to be known as Union Lodge No.108. The word ‘Union’ recognized that several districts were represented in the membership.

At the first meeting July 26, 1907, a total of four petitions for initiations were received, besides the eight founding members. Before the end of the following year, 14 more petitions were accepted.

The first year was a very successful one with Grand lodge approving the work done and the progress made. Accordingly on June 10, 1908, a charter was granted and the lodge officially designated as Union Lodge No. 108 AF & AM.

The lodge, on the authority of the Grand Master Most Worshipful Brother H. J. Pugh, instructed the District Deputy, Right Worshipful Brother William Dickie of District No.2, to officiate at the constitution on the above date, of Union Lodge No. 108.

The lodge, not having a permanent building, held its meetings in the upper classroom in the school, from 1907 until 1916.

According to a Brookdale history book, this building was originally a bake shop, then a harness shop. In 1916, the building became available and was acquired by the Lodge for the sum of $470, which included some repairs. After extensive alterations, the upper part was used as a lodge room with an outside entrance, and the ground floor was rented out, providing a small source of income.

In 1928 the lower hall was taken over for a lunch room and recreational purposes. It was also made available to the community or groups such as the Red Cross and 4-H, free of charge. The “no charge” rule was imposed by the municipality, and in return the hall was not liable for property taxes. This policy ended several years ago.

The Order of The Eastern Star has had the facilities made available to its members since its founding in 1953.

From the years of its establishment in 1907, the lodge has had a steady growth in membership, due in part to the fact that it was the closest lodge available for several districts.

Membership has remained fairly constant over the years, with enough new members coming in to compensate for those moving away or passing away.

It should be mentioned here, that the lodge has appreciated the fact that the majority of the members who have moved away, have maintained their membership in their Mother Lodge.

In all jurisdictions, the smaller lodges, including ‘Union’, are having problems keeping their lodges going due to the high cost of taxes, heat and light. There are more demands too, on the members’ time and money in the community. Union Lodge, we hope, will be able to cope with these many problems.  We have survived our 50th, our 75th, and hopefully look forward to our 100th anniversary.

We are indebted to many members down through the years who have contributed to the lodges’ well being. (The foregoing was written by R.M. Mikkelson for the Brookdale Centennial Celebration book)

In 1986 Union Lodge decided to give up their charter as an active lodge on the Registry of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. R. W. Bro. Alvin G. Hewitt was the District Deputy Grand Master of District 2 at the time, he and several brethren of the District decided to have the lodge moved and placed as a working lodge on the street of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum. Negotiations got under way with the Board of the Agricultural Museum and with the Board of General Purposes of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. An agreement was reached and a small group started on the project of fund raising. The Masons of Manitoba were most generous in their support and in a very short time the building was moved from the Town of Brookdale to the grounds of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum.

It took many hours of work by a few dedicated Masons to strip the old siding from the building, place new siding, pour a new foundation and strip coats of paint from the interior surface.  The lodge room was repainted as near as possible to the original colour, the carpet on the floor of the lodge room was donated courtesy of Strathcona Lodge No. 117 at Belmont, Manitoba, which amalgamated with Glenboro Lodge No. 48 on 30 June 1988.

On July 25, 1992, Most Worshipful Brother Morley J. McKay and Grand Lodge officers formally dedicated the building and placed the bronze plaque on the outside wall near the front entrance door.

An Emergent Communication was held 13 July 1994 under the guidance of Most Worshipful Brother W. Bruce Porter, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, for the sole purpose of reconstituting the Lodge as “Union Historical Lodge No. 108” on the register of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. The original Charter of Union Lodge, properly endorsed, now hangs in this building.

On July 13, 1994, Union Historical Lodge No. 108 was opened in the Three degrees of Masonry by the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. Bruce Porter and his Grand Lodge officers for the purpose of re-instituting and re-constituting Union Historical Lodge # 108. This service was performed in a most capable manner by those officers.

Union Historical Lodge No. 108 meets in this building on the last Friday of May and the last Friday of September each year. Any Mason in good standing in any Lodge in the world, providing his jurisdiction is recognized by the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, may join this Lodge. The fee is a once in a lifetime fee of $50. The fees are used to help in maintaining the building. The fee is payable to: Union Historical Lodge No. 108  Attn.Secretary, 52 Tupper Street South, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, R1N 1W6.

I shall pass through this
but once,
If, therefore, there is any kindness
I can show,
or any good
I can do my fellow being
Let me do it Now!
Let me not deter
Or neglect it
For I shall not pass
This way again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the tassels hanging in each corner of the room?

They represent the four Cardinal Virtues, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. Temperance reminds one to keep excessive appetites within due limits. To be temperate in all your actions. In days past, in some lodges, it meant abstinence from alcohol. Fortitude suggests we should bear the ills of life with becoming resignation, do not let life wear you down. Prudence is the true guide to human understanding, be courteous with words and speak with propriety. Justice suggests we should keep our feet firmly planted on the ground in an upright manner. Treat all people equally and with respect.

What does the letter G represent?

The letter G represents God, the Grand Geometrician of The Universe and usually hangs over the Volume of The Sacred Law or Holy Bible. Each Mason must believe in a Greater Power, atheists are not accepted into the fraternity.

Why are the square and compasses on the walls?

They are indicative of the working tools of an operative mason and in the Lodge the square remind us to square our actions by the square of virtue and the compasses to remind us to practice brotherly love, relief and truth. In our world today many are concerned about the bitterness and hate that is so prevalent in human affairs. About the weakening of moral standards, disrespect for the laws of society and for the rights of others. Everywhere there are individuals and groups that are striving to maintain decent standards in society and to preserve those ways of life that are founded on justice and integrity. Freemasons are also concerned about these things, and hope to add their influence in protecting the honour and dignity of human life.

Freemasonry stands for kindness in the home; courtesy toward others; dependability in one’s work; compassion for the unfortunate; resistance to evil; help for the weak; support for education; and above all, a reverence for God and love of fellow man.

John Deere Model D 15-27 SN 73293

Model D
Model D

SN 73293 was built in early 1929. While the Model D’s built between 1926 and 1930 look very similar to the the so called “spoker” Ds, they do differ in several ways. Most noticeable is the spoked flywheel which was replaced by a disc type flywheel as the spoked version was prone to cracking the spokes. Also the transmission top was changed to a plain steel stamping in place of the cast iron tops with the words “Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co. Waterloo Iowa, U.S.A” cast in to the top.  The large bowl brass Schebler Model D carburetor was replaced with a smaller carburetor in 1927. Actually there were two variations of the Model D used, the Schebler  298 D4 in 1923 and 1924 and the Schebler 304 D4 in 1925, 1926 and into 1927. After the Schebler D, John Deere used a succession of carburetor models. SN 73293 was equipped from the factory with a Schebler AD411 R

There are some changes not immediately noticeable. The 1926 production of Model Ds retained the keyed crankshaft when the pan flywheel was introduced however in 1927 the splined crankshaft and flywheel was introduced. At the same time the engine cylinder bore was increased to 6.75 inches from 6.5 inches.

Front wheels can change with some production coming with front wheels featuring spokes made out of flat iron rather than iron rod.   At some point between 1925 and 1929 the rear wheels changed to a design featuring 20 flat iron spokes rather than 12 flat iron spokes. It does appear that alternative designs were available as some Model Ds sport skeleton rear wheels or tip toe rear wheels. Some producers found their soil conditions warranted different wheels than the standard designs.

John Deere claimed that the two cylinder engine design made possible a short, properly heated manifold with both cylinders equidistant from the carburetor. The gasified fuel traveled only a few inches, each cylinder received the same charge, with combustion taking place immediately after the cylinder was charged. This meant there was no chance for the fuel to re-liquefy.  The Model “D” could burn low-cost fuels such as distillate, furnace oil, fuel oil, stove tops, Turner Valley naphtha, some grades of Diesel oil, and other money-saving fuels successfully, as well as gasoline or kerosene. When burning these fuels the tractor would be started on gasoline, allowed to warm up and then switched over to the low cost fuel. The gas tank featured two compartments, a small one for gas and a large compartment for kerosene or low cost fuel. A three way valve could switch between tanks as well as featuring an off position. Usually to shut the tractor down the operator just turned the selection valve to the off position and let the tractor run out of fuel, draining the carburetor in preparation for starting on gas.

John Deere further claimed, to help in the combustion of low -cost fuels, the relatively slow-speed, two-cylinder engine allowed more time for the complete combustion of these heavier, slower-burning fuels. The combination of short, hot manifold with the gasified fuel traveling the same distance to each cylinder, and slower engine speed also reduced harmful oil dilution in a John Deere Model “D” Tractor when burning low cost fuels, resulting in far longer life of all engine parts. 

Apparently some Ds in Southern Alberta and in Montana even burnt light sweet crude oil for fuel. When burning this fuel, often a different manifold was used with the exhaust coming out on the opposite side of the tractor. This manifold design was hotter and better vaporized the crude oil than the standard manifold.  However it was a common practice when burning crude oil to actually drain excess oil out of the crankcase at the end of the day. Not all the crude oil was burnt in the cylinder and the unburnt ”ends” were wiped off the cylinder walls and swept into the crankcase by the pistons.


Stewart Sheaf Loader

Stewart sheaf loader
Stewart sheaf loader

The Manitoba Agricultural Museum has three intact Stewart Sheaf Loaders in the collection. Given the machine was built with a steel frame made of square steel tubing and flat iron, materials which would have been very useful in other projects when the useful life of the machine had passed, the survival of three machines to be donated to the Museum indicates the Steward Sheaf Loader was sold in some numbers. 

Of the three Stewarts in the collection, two were built by the Stewart company and the third one was built by the Acme Manufacturing company which purchased the design in the late 1920s and continued production of the loader after the Stewart company ceased production. The Acme in the Museum’s collection was donated by the Jordan Family of Altamonte, Manitoba. 

The handling of sheaves in the field was a sufficiently large enough problem that a number of pieces of equipment were developed to address the problem. The Steward Sheaf Loader was one such machine and offered the ability to load sheaves on a wagon faster and with less physical labor.

Stewart sheaf loader

The Stewart Sheaf Loader is a simple machine consisting of a pickup which picked up stooks of sheaves and elevated the sheaves several feet in order to drop them onto a cross elevator equipped with a slatted chain which then took the sheaves higher up into the air and dropped them on to a sheaf wagon being driven along side the Sheaf Loader.  

The machine was originally ground driven however late model loaders had the option of being PTO driven as, by the late 1920s, many tractors had the option of being fitted with PTOs. As stated earlier, the Stewards were built with a frame made out of square steel tubing and flat iron. One of the Stewards in the collection has a wooden deck on the pickup which indicates it is a fairly early machine. The other two have galvanized steel decks on the pickup. The decks of the elevators on all three machines were made out of galvanized steel sheeting as were the sides of the pickup. The sides of the elevators on all three machines are wooden boards on a steel frame.

The machines were driven beside a row of stooks with the stooks then being picked up and elevated into sheaf wagons, taken to the thresher & threshed.  The loader cut in half the number of men and teams needed by the outfit which was a big saving to the farmer and more than likely a welcome relief to the farmer’s wife and daughters who had to prepare meals for a hungry threshing crew. 

The sheaf wagons could be any one of a variety of designs, a basket rack with built up sides, a barge type body or just a normal rack with ends. More than likely, a basket rack was preferred. The right side of the basket was higher than the left side in an effort to maximize capacity and reduce the chances of sheafs being thrown over the wagon. When pitching the sheaves into a thresher, the wagon was parked so the low side was beside the threshing machine’s feeder in order to reduce the labor involved in pitching.

Stewart sheaf loader working in field

It has been suggested to the Museum that many veteran sheaf pitchers who loaded sheaf wagons by hand did so in a pattern so that the pitcher knew where to stand when pitching sheafs into the thresher and not be attempting to pitch a sheaf that he was standing on. Obviously with a wagon loaded by a Steward, the sheafs were loaded helter skelter onto the wagon so the pitcher could have more work unloading the wagon.

There are ads showing other pieces of labor saving sheaf handling equipment such as end dump sheaf wagons. There were three companies advertising end dump wagons in the 1913 Canadian Thresherman and Farmer magazine; Perfection, Maytag and Hart. As well, there is an ad for a threshing machine feeder with an feeder apron that dropped onto the ground. If a farmer had a loader, end dump wagons and a dropped feeder apron then handling sheaves would have reduced significantly the physical labor of handling sheafs.

The Steward Sheaf Loader Company Ltd. owned an office and plant at 470 Martin Avenue in Winnipeg and appears to have operated between 1910 and sometime in the mid to late 1920s. Most of the company’s output was sold in Western Canada and it appears sheaf loaders were not used to any great extent in the US.

The Steward Sheaf Loader originated with the Stewart Family of Molesworth, Ontario where the family was involved in farming. The eldest brother, Peter “M” Stewart, moved west in 1879, a common story with Ontario farming families as land was cheaper to obtain in the West. He went farming in the Neepawa, Manitoba area.  Dave Albert, Robert C. and John F. Stewart , all of whom were very fond of “tinkering” with machinery, remained in Molesworth, Ontario.   According to Stewart Family history, Dave Albert and Robert C., were the inventive ones, while John F. did the farm-work and was an excellent blacksmith that brought the ideas to reality.  Jennie Stewart, a sister, should also get credit in the Steward Sheaf Loader story as she was very good with numbers and aided in the design calculations that helped produce the loader.  

The Stewart brothers remaining in Ontario came up with the idea of a sheaf loader from their experience in threshing grain and thinking about how the amount of hand work could be cut down. Patents on the machine were taken out in 1902 and 1905. A prototype sheaf loader was built in their workshop in Molesworth then crated and shipped by rail in 1905 to Neepawa, Manitoba for trial on the farm of their brother Peter “M”. The first trial, however, was not a success, owing to the heaviness of the oat crop.  Family history also indicates there were problems stemming from the fact the stooks of oat sheaves had stood in the field for a long time. Perhaps the oat plants had started growing from the root and a heavy growth of new oats was impeding the pickup?  But whatever the cause the Stewart brothers decided the loader was not heavy enough to do the job. So, the loader was re-crated and shipped back to Molesworth.  Here, the brothers set about rebuilding it, adding larger gears & a larger “bull wheel”.  This time, it did work.  The machine was then shown at the Winnipeg Exhibition in Winnipeg, about 1910.  The Stewart Sheaf Loader went into production at 470 Martin Avenue, Elmwood, a suburb of Winnipeg, where the Stewart Brothers had obtained a manufacturing facility.  

The Stewart Sheaf Loader was used all over the western prairies and cost about $400.00 to buy.  David Albert took out another patent on improvements to the sheaf loader in Winnipeg in 1912 and John F. took out a duplicate one in Ontario in 1912. These patients related to a change in how the elevator was driven. Originally, the elevator’s slatted chain was driven by sprockets at the bottom of the elevator on the right side of the machine (when you are standing at the back of the machine). The Stewards determined that it was better that the slatted chain be powered by sprockets at the top of the elevator as the slatted chain, sheaves and all,was then being pulled to the top of the elevator. The old arrangement saw the chain being pulled all the way around the elevator which required more power and also resulted in slats being broken on the chain for some reason. Testimonials from farmers who converted Steward Sheaf loaders to the new drive arrangement indicate one less horse was required with the remaining horses remaining in better shape and the problem with breaking slats disappearing.

The Stewart brothers probably got into the “inventing” business because they liked working with machines and were very good at it.  The Sheaf Loader was only one of many things they designed and patented over the years.  The rights to one of these (the straw cutter on the threshing machine) was later sold to the “George White Company”, that built threshers.  David Albert Stewart eventually returned to Molesworth and all 3 brothers are buried there.

The Stewart Sheaf Loaders was built commercially from 1910 to some time in the 1920s. It appears the Acme Manufacturing Company then purchased the Stewart Sheaf Loader design and built further machines. With combines coming into use on the Prairies by the mid 1920s, the market for sheaf loaders slowly dried up. Oddly enough, sheaf loaders seem to be mainly a Canadian development and few were sold into the US. It is not known when the Acme Company discontinued the production of sheaf loaders.

A fellow by the name of Nelson Jackson used a Stewart Sheaf Loader on a Neepawa area farm in 1913 and decided he could improve on the machine by combining the rack and sheaf loader into one machine. He moved to Brandon and began manufacturing his machine there. The Jackson Sheaf Loader featured an elevator that directly picked up the sheafs, elevated them and dumped them into a carrier at the back of the machine. When the carrier was full the machine was taken over to the thresher and the sheaf dumped beside the feeder. While these sheafs were being forked into the thresher, the Jackson loader returned to the field for another load of sheafs. The downfall of the Jackson appears to have been the weight of the machine, particularly when loaded with sheafs. Another problem would be breakdowns. With the Steward if the loader broke down, the farmer could revert to forking sheafs into the sheaf wagons and so limp along until repairs were made. If a Jackson broke down, then everything came to a halt until repairs were made. Sometime around the end of World War One, Jackson moved his company to Saskatoon and resumed manufacturing the loaders there. However business soon dried up and the company pursued other ideas.


A Cockshutt 1900 owned by Kevin Stanley of Carievale, SK parading on Friday.

From our 2015 Reunion parade:

A Cockshutt 540 driven by Gilbert Vust of Portage la Prairie parading on Friday. The tractor is pulling a Cockshutt Number 2 swather restored for the Manitoba Agricultural Museum by Mr. Vust.
A Cockshutt 540 driven by Gilbert Vust of Portage la Prairie parading on Friday. The tractor is pulling a Cockshutt Number 2 swather restored for the Manitoba Agricultural Museum by Mr. Vust.
 A Cockshutt 1900 owned by Kevin Stanley of Carievale, SK parading on Friday.
A Cockshutt 1900 owned by Kevin Stanley of Carievale, SK parading on Friday.
The Cockshutt 540 on the right hand side of this photo is owned by Wally Armstrong of Langruth, Manitoba. The daily machinery parade is marshaling in the background.
The Cockshutt 1850 is owned by Bert and Mark Drummond of Holland, Manitoba. The tractor to the right of the 1850 is a Cockshutt Oliver 90 which is in the Museum collection along with the Goold Shapely and Muir Beaver tractor to the left of the 1850.
The Cockshutt 1850 is owned by Bert and Mark Drummond of Holland, Manitoba. The tractor to the right of the 1850 is a Cockshutt Oliver 90 which is in the Museum collection along with the Goold Shapely and Muir Beaver tractor to the left of the 1850.

John Deere Model H Tractor (Eliason)

John Deere Model H Tractor

The August Eliason Estate donated this John Deere Model H tractor to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum.

John Deere Model H Tractor

August was born in 1904 to parents who had immigrated to North America from Iceland. They moved to a farm near Arnes, Manitoba. August farmed for a time and then moved to Gimli where he operated a blacksmith and welding shop. When he retired he moved back to the farm where he restored farm machinery. The collected machinery, which included this John Deere Model H, was later donated to the Museum. Magnus Eliason was August Eliason’s younger brother. Magnus was a founding member of the Commonwealth Cooperative Federation and a Winnipeg City Councilor for a number of years.  

John Deere introduced the Model H in 1939. John deere recognized that there were large numbers of farmers who still used horses to farm. A small utility tractor which could replace a horse had the potential to sell in large  numbers. So John Deere produced the Model H rated at 9.68 horsepower on the drawbar and 12.97 horsepower at the belt pulley. The Model H met a small farmers needs for power and it was also a useful tractor to larger farmers who had jobs where the power of a larger tractor was unneeded.  

All Model Hs were equipped with a three speed gear box. As the Model H began production in 1939, all Model Hs were styled. The H followed the outline established by the Model A and had a narrow, tapered hood which allowed for excellent visibility. A complete line of matched implements, including mounted 2 row cultivators was produced for the H.  

The Model H left production in 1947, being replaced in the line up by the John Deere Model M tractor.

Cockshutt Number 7 Pull Type Combine

cockshutt number 7

Before Cockshutt built its well known self propelled combines, Cockshutt built a couple of pull type combines models. The Number 6 was in production in 1939 and 1940 and the Number 7 replaced the 6 in 1941.  

The Number 7 featured a 38 inch cylinder with a 6 foot or 8 foot cutting table width. The machine was available either with power take off drive or an auxiliary engine drive. The auxiliary engine option featured a 4 cylinder Hercules IXB-3 gasoline engine. The grain tank held 35 bushels. A re-cleaner has been fitted to this machine.  

Oddly for a pull type combine the table is on the right side of the machine. Standard practice was for a left hand side table.  

The machine was put into production in 1941 to replace the Cockshutt Number 6 combine and may have remained in production until 1954 when the Cockshutt Model 422 pull type combine was introduced.  

cockshutt number 7

Canadian farm implement manufacturers continued to produce farm machinery and parts through the Second World World War but at a much reduced level of production. It was important for Canada to fill Britain’s need for food. To complicate matters, much farm labor had enlisted in Canada’s armed forces leading to farm labor shortages. So the Canadian government decided that steel, other materials and factory space had to be allocated to farm machinery production as this machinery was needed to replace the lost labor. The government allocated materials to specific types of machines on a complicated formula based on 1940 production, demand for farm products  and the amount of labor saved by a particular machine. Overall production was set at about 25% of 1940 production of complete machines with parts production at 150% of 1940 production. The Cockshutt annual report for 1942 listed the shipment of 500 Number 7 combines in the fall of 1942.  

The MAM collection includes a Cockshutt Number 7 pull type combine however this combine is painted in Co-op colors.  

Cockshutt wanted to increase sales in 1945 which meant it had to get into the US market. Cockshutt and the US based National Farm Machinery Co-operative (NFMC) came to an agreement where Cockshutt implements were sold through NFMC outlets across 11 states. Frost and Wood, a subsidiary of Cockshutt which made haying and harvesting equipment .was also included in this deal. The deal with NFMC allowed Cockshutt into 11 states where Cockshutt had no previous presence and all at a low cost.  

However to get the deal with NFMC, Cockshutt also had to agree to supply equipment to Canadian Co-operative Implements Limited (CCIL).  Cockshutt was not in favor of supplying equipment to CCIL as CCIL would be in competition for sales of equipment with Cockshutt operations in Western Canada. However the NFMC was adamant that CCIL was to be included. The deciding factor was that both Co-ops agreed to take a large amount of equipment and would pay for this equipment in advance. As Cockshutt at the time was in the process of developing its own tractor line and expanding its combine line, this money was needed by Cockshutt and so Cockshutt agreed to supply NFMC and CCIL. Cockshutt painted the equipment supplied to both co-ops in each of the co-ops color schemes. The orange used by CCIL was different in shade from the orange used by NFMC.