When you take a walk to our new offices, aside from the breath taking landscape, you will also see some interesting and historic machines: a lister blackstone MG set and an animal driven PTO. After several questions from our lovely guest when they visit our offices, we decided to draft some information on these machines that have drawn so much interest. These machines are unique and precious to us because they have been part of the farm since the late 1800s. The machines tell an interesting story of the progression that has taken place on the farm. In compiling this historic information, we spoke with Mr Alex Anderson about the MG set and Mr Keith Moodie regarding the animal driven PTO.
With the Lister Blackstone MG set, everything dates back to the 24 January 1978 on a Tuesday when the famous Lister Blackstone MG set was delivered at Strawberry Hill Farm. This would mean that this year, the lister will be celebrating its 44th Birthday on the farm. Mr Anderson explained the reason why the Lister was purchased: “The farm purchased a Forrester horizontal band mill saw for the breaking down of Blackwood logs. The boards required edging and re-sawing. This required additional power for machines to do their work but Eskom supply was not yet possible”. Upon shortage of electricity supply, the decision was made to look for any available independent source of electricity, through generating equipment. After a lengthy search, it was discovered that Albertinia municipality had just discontinued the operation of their own power station. In December 1977, contact was made with the manager of the municipality, (Mr Meiring) responsible for power supply, as to the availability of their discontinued power generating diesel machines. After some negotiations and discussion, it was arranged that the farm would purchase and transport this MG unit in January 1978.
With the generator being so heavy in mass, a specially designed reinforced concrete foundation was of immense importance to support it. The unit was installed and eventually commissioned by the end of that same year. The work included the supply and connection of a control board together with an automatic regulator. With the additional power supply, the board edge and re-saw machines were able to operate. The set provided electricity to the sawmill for about eight years when it was discontinued when eskom power was secured to the property.
For many years the machine lay unused until the new office and shed were built and it was decided to integrate the machine into the structure for display purposes. The machine was given a revamp and painted to match its original colours of red, green, black, and silver and is now displayed in the office entrance and is a historic reminder of how much the farm has changed in the last 40 years.
The technical specifications of the machine are as follows:
Engine Number E65994
Specification Number 10950
Type Ev3 HP 135 RPM 600
Type FA 600\90B
3 PH Alternator number 532546
Year 1956; 400 V 162A; 112KVA at 600 rpm
Our next machine which has caught people’s attention is known as an animal driven PTO(Power take off). Agricultural activities, such as wheat farming have always been a tradition in the region. The tradition went on and extended to most parts of the Western Cape, this included the farm, known as Strawberry Hill Farm which was the most easterly extent of the original Moodie estate. According to Mr Keith Moodie, in the late 1800s, the animal driven PTO was imported from England to be used for grinding wheat.
Animal driven PTO’s are a horse-driven milling machine, using two horses or mules attached to it with a connected network to the PTO shaft. With two drums, constantly turning while the horses move around. This was a very efficient system back in the days and increased the speed in which wheat was harvested. “Growing up as a kid, I often saw my Great Grandfather, working on the fields with the PTO and horses. Looking back now with more understanding, it was truly a privilege to witness such events” reminisced Mr Moodie. We took some creative legacy in painting the PTO a lovely lime green and it now stands in front of the office door.
These two machines, have played a major role on the farm and represent a change in how the land has been used from farming to forestry and now more tourism focused activities. Both of these machines are displayed at our offices and one can enjoy a stroll down through the forest to the office to witness a piece of farm history.
Many thanks to Mr Alex Anderson and Mr Keith Moodie, who played a role, not only in keeping the machines on the farm, but also for sharing stories about these machines so that we can cherish their legacies.
Life in a forest in the mountains