The 1914 8" Letz Feed Grinder pictured above is one of my favorite toys
because I have a complete history on it.
It is a Model 8 and I have learned that it has a cast iron hopper
because it originally came with a Letz #15 Chopper that attached to the
I had it at a show, in August 1998, with my other stuff, when an elderly
man came by and said it was much like one that was on the farm where he
grew up. After talking for a while I asked him where that farm was. When
he told me "It's right in the Northwest corner of Benzie County" I knew
that he was Clive Haswell, the brother of the man who gave the mill to me in 1985.
When I told him that it WAS the mill he grew up with he was excited. He told
me that his Uncle Frank had bought it new in 1914. It was bought in Frankfort, Michigan.
In 1914 there was still a lot of shipping done on the Great Lakes. Frankfort is right on Lake Michigan and a lot of stuff came through there.
His Uncle Frank died leaving a wife living not too far from where their farm
was. In 1931 Clive was with his father (John) at his aunt's place
doing some repair work on the farm for her. When they were finished John
asked his sister-in-law what she was going to do with the froze up mill
out behind the barn. She told him to take it if he wanted it. They
loaded it on the wagon and went home.
It took them four days to get it loosened up, then they bolted it down
on the barn floor with the six HP McCormick-Deering engine from their buzz rig.
They ground grain for their farm and he gave me the names of the six
neighbors that they also ground grain for.
After Clive left the farm his brother Dean took it over when their dad
died. Dean owned it until he gave it to me in 1985. We were tearing down the 104 year old family farm and it was froze up setting where??? Why out behind the barn of course. The 180 acre Haswell farm is now part of The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park.
It was froze up again when I got it. I put it behind my garage and
covered it up with a steel box I had laying around. When I took it to
the show in 1998 it was still froze up. I spent all day Thursday with a
mapp gas torch and finally got it all loosened up. Boy was I glad it was
in nice useable condition when Clive came by on Saturday morning.
I have seen many Letz mills at several different shows I've been to, but, I haven't seen
any other Model 8s. Wouldn't it be nice if we had info like this on all of
our engines and implement toys.
Since the Letz #15 Cutter was only made in the very early years, 1914-16, and it was mostly wood, I don't have a lot of hope that I will ever find one. If you have good info about one then please contact me. BTW Letz' first year of selling feed grinders was 1914.