Monday, 16 August 2010 12:07

25 Years Ago Late Summer/Early Autumn 1983

Written by  Maurice Telleen
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(From the general news sources of the day and the Autumn 1982 Draft Horse Journal.)

The political atmosphere was about as poisonous as a bottle of arsenic. The so-called Cold War was calling the shots–extremism spawns its own versions of hell on earth. For instance ... a man reviled in France as the alleged "Butcher of Lyons" turned out to be a man named Klaus Barbie who was also a spy for us–the U.S.A. At the end of the hot war, American officials rewarded him by helping him escape to Bolivia. Finally, years after the war had ended, he was extradited to France where he was accused of torturing resistance fighters and deporting thousands of Jews. Our government had made use of him after the war as an anti-communist spy. An apology was made to the French Embassy. Not a proud chapter to be celebrated here at home. Violence and treachery breeds more of the same ... every time and everywhere.

Just a couple weeks later the Soviets shot down a Korean civilian jetliner off the shores of the island of Sakhalin. The alleged culprit by the Soviets was that we had a spy plane in that same area a couple hours before the downing of the civilian jet liner. Two-hundred sixty-nine passengers disappeared into the Pacific. President Reagan called the act "barbarous" and the Soviets claimed it was on a spying mission. Both sides blamed the responsibility for the tragedy on the other party.

This stunning photo came to us via James E. McNeil, official draft horse photographer at the 1982 Royal Winter Fair. The majestic old building in the background is the Horse Palace, scene of many a dramatic tanbark confrontation between champions from the East and West of Canada and the United States. Nowhere on this continent is competition keener, quality higher, fellowship better and tradition richer than at the Royal.

If this cover didn't kindle many fond memories from Halifax to Vancouver, I don't know what it would take.
First prize team of mares (Percherons or Clydes) at the 1986 Iowa State Fair. Exhibited and shown by Maury & Jeannine Telleen, Waverly, Iowa.

The remainder of the so-called "world news" from that era remains so grim that I almost hate to review it.

On October 25 of that year, 216 marines were killed by a bombing of their headquarters in Beirut. One single-minded terrorist drove a Mercedes truck with at least 2,500 pounds of explosives past the sentries and through the barricades at the headquarters. High-rise buildings throughout the city shook from the blast.

A couple minutes later an attack on the headquarters of the French peacekeeping force resulted in 58 deaths for them. Taking credit for this was an outfit called the Free Islamic Revolution Movement. And so it went ... one brutal thing after another as the Cold War raged on.

It reached the point where a princess of the Dutch royal family broke tradition and ranks and joined a peaceful rally of some half-million people at the Hague in protest of NATO's deployment of intermediate missiles slated to soon begin in Britain and Europe the following month. Similar protests took place in other European cities.

Such was the political atmosphere as summer turned to autumn. It is little wonder that stockmen of all stripes were relieved to have the show season arrive. That included us as well.

On August 14 of that year, Jeannine and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary. The photo from an Iowa State Fair of about that vintage will serve to remind you (and us) what we once looked like. It is not strictly correct for 1983 because it was taken at the 1986 Iowa State Fair, but what is just three years among good friends. With this little discrepancy, I'll admit that I still weigh about 130 pounds and Jeannine is still as beautiful as the day we had married almost 30 years before that year and we were still silly about each other ... and remain so today.

And now to the Autumn 1983 issue of The Draft Horse Journal.

I loved our cover picture of the winning six-horse hitch at Canada's Royal Winter Fair with an old friend, Wayne Moore from MacGregor, Manitoba, having the lines in hand. For more on the background of that cover picture, just read the cutline.

The Clydesdale clan made out very well in that 1983 issue with both the cover and in the contents. In addition to the cover, the first feature was about the Moore family, father Bill and son, Wayne. Both great horsemen and farmers of considerable scale in Manitoba. I'd call 1,150 acres of crop ground, growing mostly wheat, barley and rape seed considerable. Even now. Three of the six in the cover photo were home-bred geldings. The lead team, however, was not. One was a 5-year-old raised by Parke Brown of Tangier, Indiana, and the mate by Bill Turner of Carrol, Manitoba. So it was mostly an all-Manitoba born and bred hitch, along with a cocky lead horse who was a Hoosier from back home in Indiana.

The main thrust, however, of that issue was called a "Welcome to The World Of New 1983 Horse Machinery!" What do you think of that–in 1983! We were supposed to surrender to the tractor forces ... remember?

James Conn and his father, Edmund, of Alden, Minnesota, were engaged in the manufacture of the old high wheel single-row cultivators. Included are three photographs of their enterprise that we used 25 years ago.

The Saint Joseph Implement Company of Neceda, Wisconsin, owned and operated by Mr. & Mrs. Michael Mangen was building new forecarts and rebuilding New Idea spreaders. The forecarts came in three models: one with hydraulic brakes, one without and a one-horse model. They had built about 50 of them and most had brakes.

Danny Kauffman of Arthur, Illinois, was in the business of custom metal fabrication and had turned out over 25 single and two-row cultivators at the time. The two-row was far more popular and could, at the time, be seen at work on many farms in the Arthur-Arcola, Illinois, area.

One of the notable features was the use of a dolly wheel or tongue trunk on the front end. The advantage to that was to take the tongue weight off the horses.

The gangs were arranged in such a way (with a parallel lift mechanism which lifts and lowers the shovels at the same time) as opposed to just one end at a time, common to the older type machines. The shovels were equipped with spring trip shanks that all but eliminated the bent shanks and twisted gangs whenever a solid obstacle was encountered. Owing to the parallel nature, the shovels tend to pull themselves into the ground, rather than by forcing them with arm and hand. And the lift levers had a spring assist that made withdrawal from the ground much easier.

And what, you might ask, were the big time farm equipment manufacturers doing for the horse and mule user? NOT ONE DARN THING, except heaping occasional ridicule on their animals. That figures!

Yes, Virginia ... there was a lot of new horse-drawn equipment on the market.

Oh, not so the major farm papers of the country were aware of it, but it was real and it wasn't going away. We are happy to share the photos and cutlines from those new horse machinery pages of 25 years ago with you so that you'll have the opportunity to compare them to the world of horse drawn equipment in our 2008 Horse Progress Days coverage in this issue ... and that will be it, folks. –MT
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