Looking back

100 years ago

Clyde Leonard, a mechanic at the Trail Garage, unveiled a rotary threshing machine this week in 1919 capable of harvesting 1,000 bushels of grain a day. “This machine will be all Hyatt roller bearing and gears. There will be no belts whatsoever connected with the machine,” the Idaho Register reported. The first demonstration unit was expected by harvest. “Should the new invention prove all that is expected of it there will be a stock company organized here and a factory built to manufacture the machines,” the report said. “The machine can be manufactured very cheap, and will be put on the market for about $600.”

75 years ago

“Potato whisky” distilled by Galsworthy Inc. of Idaho Falls was reported to be flying off the shelves of Gimbel’s liquor store in New York City, with the management indicating its stock of several thousand cases on track to be gone by the end of the week. The new product was a blend of 80 percent neutral spirits distilled from culled potatoes and 20 percent straight whisky four years old. Galsworthy’s operation had begun in early March in an experimental plant it had bought from University of Idaho. The culled spuds came from two neighboring government-operated potato dehydration plants. The blending and bottling were done in Perth Amboy, N.J., by the Parke Rogers Co.

50 years ago

Acting in accordance with a bill passed by the Idaho Legislature earlier in the year, the Bonneville County Commission — Chairman Jared Wirkus, Jean Tracy and Dean Huntsman — voted to increase their pay from $6,500 a year to $7,500. The increase was retroactive to Jan. 13, the date the new board assumed its duties. Prosecuting Attorney Seward “Skip” French’s salary was raised from $8,500 to $9,500. Huntsman and Tracy said no adjustment of the 1969 budget would be necessary. Although county employees’ salaries were set by the commission, commissioners’ and prosecutors’ salaries were set by the Legislature.

25 years ago

Ernst Home & Nursery on Northgate Mile announced this week in 1994 that it would be moving to the former Kmart store on West Broadway. The 84,000-square-foot property would be remodeled and occupied by Ernst in late June or early July, store manager Eric Calder told the Post Register. Calder said he did not know how much the Seattle-based chain was spending on the project.

Paul Menser is the author of “Legendary Locals of Idaho Falls.”

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