From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Might Be a Threshing Machine?


I think this old piece of farm equipment might be a small threshing machine. If you know for sure what it is, please tell me!

One clue is the pulleys on the sides. I believe the long belts that powered the machine were attached there. Threshing machines always had very long belts between the machine and the engine. The engine was set up a safe distance away from the chaff and straw debris to reduce the danger of fire.

At first glance, it seems strange that the chute for feeding the sheaves of grain into the machine (at right) is so far from the ground. However, the grain was hauled to the machine on wagons and pitched into the threshing machine from the wagon bed -- not from the ground.

My theory is that the grain came out a spout on the opposite side of the machine (not visible in the photo) and the upward-pointing metal chute at the bottom is where the straw and chaff were blown out. I could be completely wrong!

The wheels on a threshing machine allowed it to be pulled between fields. Some threshing machines were on skids instead of wheels.

My mother had a threshing story from when she was a little girl on the farm at Gordon, Nebraska, in the 1920s. Her mother, my Grandma Violet, had to cook a big noon meal for a crew of 15 or 20 men. It was a hot day, and the house was extra hot from Grandma Violet's morning of cooking and baking.

Little Doris decided she'd be a lot cooler without her clothing. The men were due to come in for dinner at any moment, when Grandma Violet saw what my mom wasn't wearing. She was not amused. Encouraged by a swat on her backside, my mother put her clothes right back on again.

8 comments:

Alta said...

I don't think it is a threshing machine because of the two belt wheels. My dad owned the threshing machine and did all the threshing in our neighborhood and I use to sit on the tractor that run the belt to the machine. Just when he did small fields for himself. What I think it could be a corn sheller or a shuck remover sheller. Just a guess

We had one but we dropped the corn in a slot and it came out in basket.

Anonymous said...

Genevieve,
I wanted to stop in and say Hello. I hope that you don't mind but I have put your blog address in a post on my blog and wanted you to know. I just started it last night and so it doesn't have a lot going on but it's a start.

I'm still making that good cornbread. Mine just still crumbles though. Got a tip for that?

Here's my blog incase you want to stop in sometime.
http://5kidsmyhusbandandme.blogspot.com

Hugs,
Angie

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about a seed cleaning machine? I haven't seen one this old, but we used to have one that was built something like this.

Genevieve said...

Anonymous, you could be right. It seems a little small for a threshing machine, but I just couldn't imagine what else it might be.

Genevieve said...

Angie, I am not sure why the cornbread is turning out crumbly for you, but you might try adding an extra egg and see if that helps.

Angie said...

Thanks for the tip Genevieve. I'll try that and see if it works.

I saw that you had visited my blog. Thanks.

Hugs,
Angie

Collagemama said...

My grandmother also cooked for the farmhands when my mom was a little girl down by Marion, Nebraska. As far as I know, my mom kept her clothes on.

I always found it difficult to reconcile how the grandmother I knew with family stories of her feeding the farm hands. To me, she lived with my granddad in an un-airconditioned one-bedroom apartment in McCook, and never did more in the kitchen than set out a "Dutch lunch."

One summertime visit to McCook our family of five tried to sleep on the fold-out sofa and air mattresses in my grandparents' living room. The sweltering apartment was filled with the smell of overripe cantaloupe.

The next day, Grandmother set out the spread of pickled herring, pickled pigs feet, pickled corn, sweet pickles, bread & butter pickles, watermelon pickles, cucumbers and onions in sour cream, sardines, Club crackers, overripe cantaloupe, salami, cheddar, Fritos and chip dip, and 7-Up.

Anonymous said...

Could the machine be a fodder chopper. The corn stalks would be laid in the hopper to the right side of the machine, and fed into a rotating blade to chop the stalks into short lengths. Seems I have seen manual machines that looked something like this one.

Danthebluegrassman

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