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Agriculture Today

‘Old iron’ club offers glimpse to past farm equipment, more

‘Old iron’ club offers glimpse to past farm equipment, more
1937 International Harvester hay press

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Wilson County News
October 16, 2013
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HOBSON -- Antique farm and woodworking equipment will again come to life during the “Antique Equipment Demonstration and Field Day” set for Saturday, Oct. 26.

South Texas Old Iron Club members will welcome guests to the Boening Farm as they demonstrate antique farm equipment, such as a 1929 No. 9 corn sheller, load corn cobs onto a 1946 grain truck, and bale hay with a 1937 International Harvester Hay Press. South Texas Old Iron Club President Larry Boening owns the equipment. More will be on display.

New this year is a wood planer dating back to the early 1900s, Boening said. Charlie Biesenbach, formerly of Bulverde, found the planer in weeds and restored it. Biesenbach and his family would take the woodworking machinery to tractor shows for exposition. A tractor is used to operate the 6-inch belt, similar to a hay baler. Tragically, while unloading the planer, the casting of the planer was broken when a chain broke.

Biesenbach’s widow, Elsie, sold the planer to Boening, and it was repaired and is being shared with other antique lovers. Boening said the 4,600-pound planer is used at a sawmill to cut boards. Instead of using hardwood, such as mesquite and oak, the group will use pecan and cypress wood, so attendees can see more chips fly in the air.

The 1929 No. 9 corn sheller, originally bought by J.C. Hierholzer’s father from the old Eschenburg Implement Co. in Floresville, will come out of retirement, Boening said. Its first time out of retirement since 1962 was at the first demonstration show in 2011.

Attendees can see the manual-labor side of corn harvesting. In the early days, farmers either handpicked the corn or used a pull-type corn picker to harvest the crop. The corn was then shelled using a stationary corn sheller, with the cobs falling into a grain truck.

Participants also can see how hay was baled back in the 1930s. While corn shucks were more popular to bale then, Boening said coastal grass will be used for the demonstration. Years ago, he said, farmers would save and bale everything, including corn shucks. In the wake of the recent drought, some farmers have returned to baling corn shucks.

Demonstrations are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., and children will have an opportunity to shell corn by hand, using a hand-cranked corn sheller.

Entertainment includes a “barrel roll” and a “slow race,” using antique tractors. As the name implies, the tractor driver must roll a barrel with a tractor to the finish line, while keeping in bounds. The slow race will involve two antique tractors in a race, with the slowest tractor being named the winner.

Boening said two other antique tractor clubs will be on hand, including the Crank Twisters Antique Tractor Club of Goliad and the Hill Country Antique Tractor & Engine Club.

For more information, contact Boening at 830-391-0227 or Mike Tessmann at 830-391-3433 or

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