Aardvark Art Glass

Weekend of arcane information
September 2, 2008, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Bloggidy Blog | Tags: , , , ,

Moving right along with the parade of newly-learned facts…On Sunday we attended the Rock River Thresheree. As you can see from the site, the thresheree is this enormous gathering of people and really old-timey steam powered machinery that people collect and restore. The event affords steam enthusiasts the opportunity to show off and demo their machines by hooking them up to other old-timey farm equipment and letting em go. I know you people don’t care about this but I’m going to tell you about it anyway because I thought it was interesting.

Fun fact: Even though they look tractor-ish, the steam engines do not do the work of a tractor. Rather, they power other pieces of equipment using a giant belt hooked up to a fly wheel. How giant a belt, you are probably asking? Here’s a picture:

Things sure took up a lot of space back then. They were way more dangerous too. Hmmm…I sure hope that’s a thresher or I’m going to look like a real idiot. Don grew up on a farm in Nebraska and he tries to school me on various and sundry farm equipment but it doesn’t always stick. He has an unbridled enthusiasm for tractors which I support but don’t entirely understand. It was really nice for him to get to go to this show with his nephew who shares his interest in farm equipment generally and tractors in particular. Someone for him to talk to, finally.

So besides the enormous steam powered stuff they also had at the show some displays of little steam powered machines. Here is one that, at the time, was probably really innovative but now seems like the worst idea ever:

This is a little horse ride that goes up and down. That’s fine, but the belt and wheel which rotate pretty quick are dangerously close to where the kids foot would be dangling. It pre-dates the warning label for sure. Also, check out how large the apparatus is that makes the horse go:

 Horse ride technology sure has come a long way since then. So have warning labels. Speaking of which, I only saw one warning label in this whole show. Not that I was expecting to see any on the old timey stuff. That equipment was it’s own warning label-you could tell by looking at it that you should keep your hands away. But, anyway, here’s a label I found on some kind of container. I think it’s trying to warn you of a disembodied head that’s going to destroy your world with beams that come out of it’s eyes:

They didn’t have to worry about that happening back in the day. Those were simpler times.


4 Comments so far
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Hey, we are having our own Tractor and Steam Engine show here in SH! Its only about 2 miles down the road from us. Fun part is everyday at high noon they blow the whistles…its a grand noise. I’ve seen them cut wood planks before. Its amazing how back then the technology seemed so advanced. Life was much harder for sure, and they didn’t need warning signs to keep their hands off things, cause they knew they were likely to get fingers cut off. Great pictures, and I enjoy your blog so much.

Comment by Rosanne

My perspective on what is and isn’t dangerous is somewhat skewed by my living in the city with a university that has the highest rate of binge drinking of anywhere in the country. A ball point pen with the cap off is dangerous here. We wanted to build a low fence in the front yard out of rotary hoe blades but can’t because we’re afraid someone is going to fall on it and sue us. Having today’s people work around one of those flying belts sure would thin out the cast. People just aren’t used to having to watch where they’re going anymore.

They cut planks at this show too and the machine that picked up the logs and moved them near the saw was powered by burning wood. That was ironic, or something.
Thanks for commenting, Rosanne!

Comment by cathylybarger

You could put a fence around your fence.

I recall the binging in Madison — and the newspaper articles on starting the binge on Thursday. A bit ambitious, I thought.
Here, it’s more amusing. Best one was walking home my first St. Patrick’s Day here. A particularly celebratory coed was weaving towards me and burst out with “Big beard man! I LOVE you Big Beard man!”.
Renee’s still laughing.

Comment by phil

That’s funny! You are big beard man.
As a matter of fact, I guess we are going to build a fence around the fence–or a guard rail or something. It will probably ruin the design but at least it won’t impale anyone. Binge drinking is not exactly a foreign concept to myself or any of the multitude of people who come over to our house so we gotta be safe for them too.

Comment by cathylybarger

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