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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Albert City Thresherman's show offers a piece of the past

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Albert City Threshermen Show opens Friday, with thousands of visitors expected at the site.

This historical extravaganza is no museum - it offers visitors a chance to see a piece of Iowa's rural agrarian past not in a dusty display, but working in the fields.

Present farming has machines that plant seeds, harvest the product and anything else needed. But the machines had a starting point and the show site in Albert City allows people to have a peek into history.

Back during the early 1900s, horsepower was literally that - horses. Much of the work was done by skilled hands, or beautifully simple tools and machines.

The Threshermen Show reflects an era when farming was just starting to see changes from horses to steam and gas engines, but the technology was expensive.

"Back then farmers would belong to groups and they would rotate from farm to farm using the tractors and what equipment they had available," local farmer and Threshermen show volunteer Karl Lind said.

The machines that are running up and down the fields today are refinements on the pioneering products of yesteryear.

Threshing is the separation of seed from the harvest plant. Today's combines do the task of harvesting without that backbreaking effort.

Before the combines, the fields would be harvested and binded until it was ready for threshing. The earlier machines were hand fed the product for separation.

"We do things the old way to show people what it was like back then," Lind said. "This show is a window back into a older era."

The Threshermen show is put on by volunteers, who start out weeks before the show even starts. The fields are cut, using antique machinery, so that the wheat can have time to dry enough for the thresher.

Many of these volunteers return year after year, as do many exhibitors and regular attendees of the show.

"It's a reunion for a lot of the returning people," Threshermen volunteer Marlowe Feldman said. "People are returning year after year. We have a lot of common faces and it's great to see everyone again."

Even first time visitors are welcomed warmly to the permanent grounds outside of Albert City - perhaps with a welcome ride on a trolley.

"To new people coming, welcome, and we look forward to meeting you," Feldman said, inviting everyone to come out.

"We all take a lot of pride in the work that we do and we are all proud during the show," Dean Sundblad said, while working on creating new brooms for the show.

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