2000 Threshermen's Reunion Case Expo
There are many, many aspects to the Reunion, of which the Case Expo is but one. But what a big one it is! Check out the pictures, and the pages describing specific aspects of the Case Expo. Most of these pictures were taken during the previous Museum Case Expo, held in 1988.
J.I. Case Co.
In western New York state, Caleb and Deborah Case had taken up homestead at Williamstown in 1811. Eight years later their fourth son was born on December 11, 1819, and was named Jerome Increase Case.
Caleb Case was not too fond of hard work involved in flailing out his grain, but this occupied him and his sons for the most of the winter, and only let up in the spring in time for them to start the field work. Small wonder then that Caleb Case was one of the first in the community to purchase one of the "Ground-hog" threshers. His son Jerome, took the greatest interest in the operation of this thresher and soon became the family thresherman. The efficiency of the Ground-hog thresher as compared to the flail also enabled the Cases to do a bit of threshing for their neighbours. Hence, Jerome I. Case was a custom thresherman at an early age.
At age 24, J.I. Case went west to Rochester WI, late in the fall of 1842. He brought with him six of the latest types of threshers, for he had heard they would have ready sale out on the frontier. These machines were bought on credit, and five were sold at a profit. This gave him a bit of capital with which to get started, and also marked him as a shrewd businessman.
With the remaining machine, he resumed his trade of custom threshing. When not occupied by this, he was busy keeping his machine in repair. Working as he did, with and on his thresher, he discovered many of its shortcomings. By discussing these with farmers, he found that there was a need for an improved machine.
It was with this need in mind that he moved to Racine WI where he rented a small shop and started to build what was his idea of a good thresher. Success was his, and three years later be built a shop of his own. Sweep and tread powers were added to the line of goods. Case, wishing to keep his threshers in the front rank, also added improvements of other prominent thresher builders such as: Pitts, Wemple, Farquhar, Russell and others.
The building of threshers, horse-powers and other machinery had finally reached the point where it required a considerable number of skilled men to manage the business, hence in 1863, a partnership was established under the title J.I. Case & Co., although the shops were still known as the Racine Threshing Machine Works. In this new firm, J.I. Case was president, his brother-in-law, Stephen Bull, vice-president, M.B. Erksine was factory superintendent and R.H. Baker was general agent and collector.
In 1869, the new Case Eclipse thresher was introduced. This year, the company also sold its first portable steam engine under the Case name. The sale of portable steam engines for use with threshers gradually increased until in 1876, when 75 were sold.
In 1884, an improved traction engine was brought out equipped with differential, hand steering, link reverse and a bar guide engine mounted on a direct flue boiler.
Jerome Case died on December 22, 1891.
The J.I. Case Co. made the following:
Today, the J.I. Case company is part of Tenneco Inc. The J.I. Case Co. was incorporated on February 21, 1880.
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