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Case combine coincidence

Editor’s note: It seems nearly every farmer and machinery collector has an interesting story to tell about one machine or another. A few weeks ago Art Ammeter wrote to us about a remarkable coincidence that his brother, Laurence, experienced with a pair of combines. Here’s what Art had to say. — Scott Garvey

Some years ago, Laurence Ammeter, who farms near Petersfield, Manitoba, purchased a used J.I. Case 660 self-propelled combine at a farm auction near East Selkirk, Manitoba. Realizing that replacement parts might be difficult to find, he purchased a second 660 SP from Earl Ellis, a not-too-distant neighbour. An unremarkable occurrence, perhaps, until Ammeter compared dealer stickers and discovered that the initial purchase of both machines had been from Eagle Sales and Service in Selkirk, Manitoba, a dealership no longer in business.

Further examination showed that the two 660s bore consecutive serial numbers. The 660 purchased at auction had a seven-digit serial number ending in 8007 while the Ellis combine carried the same first three digits followed by 8006.

What are the odds against two combines of the same model, made by the same manufacturer, bearing consecutive serial numbers, and initially purchased from the same dealer, ending up on the same farm some forty years after rolling down the same assembly line at Racine, Wisconsin? Probably astronomical.

The combine Ammeter bought at auction, 007 (shades of James Bond here), was kept running as long as possible by parts salvaged from 006, the remains of which were subsequently sold as scrap to Mandak Metal Processors of Selkirk, Manitoba. Then 007, its days as a field combine finally over yet still in runnable condition, was donated to the Manitoba Threshermen’s Museum at Austin, Manitoba. Today, 007 can be seen as an exhibit — an efficient, clean-threshing, nimbly-maneuverable (though sadly underpowered) piece of harvesting history. †

If you’d like to tell us about a special piece of equipment in your farm fleet, show us your restoration efforts or tell us why you think one of your machines has been a steady workhorse, send an email to [email protected] Try to include a high-resolution photo. We may publish your story.

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