I just acquired a couple Massey Harris grain binders. I’m not sure the year of either binder. The one I’m mostly wondering about has wood inside the chain driven wheel and the other wheel is a steel outside with wood spikes and rim. I want to know how old it would be.
The Massey used more wood in their binders than most others. I had a nice one that came from a local farm sale, the owners were there and told us it was bought new in the Depression era. Mine had a wooden beam for the main structure, but the drive wheel was all steel. I imagine they were trying to avoid patent issues with IHC. I would think the wood in the drive wheel would put one closer to the turn of the century. Much older and you get back to a reaper style, not sure if Massey had any wire tie units like McCormick and Deering did before the Advent of the twine tie units.
I guess the reason there are so many IHC units still left is that they built probably 100 times more than all the other builders put together! The one I had was the only Massey I ever saw around here, and Massey had a huge dealer presence here. I believe the one here ended up in the woods for the last 40 some years after it left. Really a shame as it was really nice before that with a lot of original paint and stenciling. They were cheap back then and no one felt it was worth the shed space.
Oh Yes, There were quite a few Massey around here . My Grandfather bought one new in 1905, It had the wood lined bullwheel, exposed drive gears. Reel that was unsupported on the left end, and a 6 foot cut. I remember Dad replacing the wooden main frame plank when I was young (1950's), with a NEW part. Now he may have stored that part for a bit before using it. Grandpa paid $75.00 for it in 1905 and they used it until 1980. A Dollar a year. He would cut about 30 acres of oats each year for the cattle with it. About 1980 he bought a later model at a sale for $5.00 it was likely mid 20's. It had metal main support, metal bullwheel and enclosed bevel drive. Still ground drive though. It had an 8 foot cut and an outboard reel support. It finished up the last few years that dad farmed. They used to pull the old one with 4 horses, then 3 horses if the day wasn't as long. When the 3rd horse died it went to tractor with 2 operators. There was a M-H company store in North Battleford in the early days which may explain their better numbers around here, although IH (McCormick) was likely the most popular.
I never used the Massey here, it needed new canvas. But other than that it was nice. I got it in the mid 70 at a local farm auction, it had been in the barn for years and well stored. It had the wood main plank, I think 6 ft cut. The old fellow that sold it had used it well into the late 50s and it was converted to tractor use. They had rigged up a drip oiler on the knotter drive as he said it got hot in use as the tractor went too fast. I was just starting to get serious about getting a complete threshing set up then and shortly after the Massey came I got a better 8 ft IHC that had only been used one year, so I let the Massey go. Now I wish I had kept it, considering what became of it. If I could recover it I could still rebuild it but not likely to get it from the present situation. I'll have to go look it over and see what type of drive wheel it has as now I can't recall if it was all steel or not, I haven't thought of it for quite a while.